I gather that most children are Back to School by now for the 2018-2019 school year? Olivia had her first day of Kindergarten and Ayla, first day of Prekindergarten just yesterday. I’m happy to report there were no tears (except for me– almost!). I felt ABC Ready for School by Celeste Delaney contributed a great deal easing their first day of school tensions and prepped them very well! Join in and Play by Cheri Meiners pair perfectly with this book.

We gifted their teachers Join in and Play, (along with our favorite Grady’s cold brew to help them jumpstart their school- happy to say one of the teachers already raved about the cold brew) because I truly feel it should be a required read for every classroom (please excuse my messy handwriting- I wrote the note right before running off to drop them off). You can read more about my review of Meiner’s book here and Delaney’s here.

Without further a-due, the letter by letter guide of ABC Ready for School below! Feel free to reach out to me if you would like a PDF of it emailed to you.


I recently reviewed ABC Ready for School by Celeste C. Delaney on my blog Hopscotch Mom, sharing “TIdbits of all things parent and child-related” and found the book to be packed with great information in preparing a child for school. This book contains such BIG and important ideas.

There are some pretty awesome notes, tips and ideas at the end of the book on how to further use the book. As I read through it with my 3 kids, I was inspired to do an extension of the book review to help parents and others work on the book in a different way, reading just a few letters (rather than the whole book in one sitting) at a time and providing prompts that can be shared to encourage discussion and help children reflect on these important ideas.

I created this based on how I would discuss the topic with my kids at home; and how I would address each page, for if I were still teaching in the classroom. I hope this brief guideline can help kids find ways to connect the text to themselves, or with what they are already familiar with from their days spent at home or in the park.


Discuss and practice questions you might have at school:

For the teacher:

-May I use the bathroom?

-Where is the bathroom?

– Can you help me?

For Friends:

-May I have a turn?

-Can I play?

-What are you doing?

-Can you help me?


How can we be ourselves at school?

-Draw a self portrait.


-Name 3 things about you (What do you like to play? What are some of your favorite things?)

What does it mean to be honest?

-What are some things you can do if you spilled juice by accident and the teacher asks the class who did It? (Raise your hand, say sorry and tell her it was an accident)


What does it mean to cooperate?

-getting along/ making things work (teachers and classmates)

How can you work as a team with your peers?

-play and take turns with a toy, book, art supplies

-work together to create a meal in the dramatic play area

How can you cooperate with/listen to your teachers?

-when the teacher says it’s clean up time, stop what you’re doing and clean up right away

-if your teacher says be quiet, she may be trying to tell you something important (like when you are crossing the street, it’s important to be quiet because the teacher is trying to get you across safely and quickly or in the hallway because maybe you are walking by other classrooms and the teacher is trying to teach)

Do your best.

Do you ever try to color a picture, but you go out of the lines by mistake? It’s okay! You can find a way to make it better; or try to improve next time. Practice! Your best effort is enough.

Encourage others.

How do you feel when you meet someone new? Do you feel excited? Sometimes shy or bashful? Wouldn’t you like it if someone said “hi” or welcomed you and invited you to “Come play with us!”? How can you encourage others who may be new to school? Would you invite them to play with you? If someone misses their family, how can you encourage them to feel better? What is something nice you can say to someone who seems sad?

Follow the rules.

Why do schools have rules? Do you have rules at home or for when you are at the park?

Rules keep us safe.

Teachers can say, “No running in the classroom” because there isn’t that much space to run in the classroom and they dont want you to run and fall or bump into a friend or a table.

Teachers can say, “keep your hands to yourself” because your teacher wants you to take care of yourself and wants others to take care of themselves too.


How can school help us grow?

When children play during recess or during gym, they are running, jumping and stretching and making their muscles stronger because you use them when they are playing. We try to eat healthy at school to grow. How does our mind grow at school? Do you learn new things at home or at the park ?

Help everyone stay healthy.

How does covering your mouth with your elbow help prevent germs from spreading?

Why is covering with your elbow, better than with your hands?

What kind of things do we do with our hands? Play and touch toys , eat, write, hold a book, color.

When we sneeze into our elbows, we are trying our best not to let the germs spread into the air that you, your friends and teachers breathe in. Breathe in…. breathe out. If you didn’t cover your mouth when you sneezed, you could breathe in the germs from the sneeze or the cough and others can get sick from the germs.if others don’t cover their mouths when the sneeze or cough, you could get germs too.

Include others.

If I am sitting by myself in the lunchroom, how can you be kind or show you care?

If you are playing during recess and a friend is by himself or herself, how do you think they may feel? How can you include them?


What are some things you can do at school that are fun? Jumping, skipping, running, throwing. Do you suppose those things can be done in the classroom? Why or why not?

Keep Learning

What are some things you want to learn in school? How about at home?


Why do you think it is important for you to be quiet when someone else is talking? What can be the problem if two people are talking at the same time?

Move past mistakes.

If you are playing with your friend and accidentally knock over the tower they made with blocks, what do you suppose you should do? (Perhaps you can say sorry or help them fix it?) If I waved my arms and spilled my cup of water, how can I learn from it? Can you think of a time you made a mistake at home? How did you move past that?

New things happen every day. Be brave!

What kind of new things will happen at school that are different from home? At home, we eat at our table with our family. At school, you will be eating with your friends either in the classroom or in a lunchroom.

At home, you can go to the bathroom whenever you please, at school, you may need to ask the teacher.

At home you can speak and play whenever you want, but at school, there may be schedule and you might need to raise your hand to speak.


What does it mean to overcome or learn to do something that is hard? When you were a baby, do you think you always just knew how to walk? It took practice to walk and now, you can even run! What is something that you overcame? How did you overcome it? Is there anything that is hard for you that you would like to overcome?


What do you like to play at home or at the park? What do you hope to play at school?


When your teacher asks a question, do you need to know all the answers? Be honest and use your words to tell your teacher how you feel or whether or not you are sure of something. Answer proudly, if you do.

Respect Others.

What does respect mean?

Source: https://talkingtreebooks.com/definition/what-is-respect.html

“Showing respect to someone means you act in a way that shows you care about their feelings and well-being. Showing respect for others include things like not calling people mean names, treating people with courtesy, caring enough about yourself that you don’t do things you know can hurt you.”

How do we show respect to others at home? How do we show them kindness? How can we respect others in the classroom?

Skip, step, sing…do your thing!

What do you love to do? What’s something you shine at?

Take turns and share.

How can we share at school? How do we take turns in the park?


How are people different? Do everyone you meet look or like the same things like you? Does everyone eat the same kind of foods like you? Why is it important to understand others? So if you hear someone say, “I don’t like sushi”, it could be because they are different and like different things and that’s ok. If someone says “I like pizza too”, you are learning that sometimes, friends can also like the same things as you,


What does it mean to volunteer? As the book says, it means to offer to help even when you don’t have to. When someone spills the whole bin of books or toys over, do you watch them clean it up all by themselves? How can you volunteer to help that friend? Do you ever volunteer to help at home? Do you ever help your family put the groceries away or take them out of the bag, throw away garbage or out dirty dishes in the sink?

Work hard.

What does it mean to work hard? If something is hard for you to do, do you just give up and say, “I can’t do it and never try again?” No, you can work hard by practicing. What’s something you can work hard on?

EXpress Yourself.

If you are trying to join in and play with a friend sometimes, friends will say, “Let’s play together.” There May be other times when friends might be grumpy or forget to be kind and say, “Go away or don’t play with me.” Well, how would that make you feel? What can you do? (Refer to Join in an Play book by Cheri J. Meiners). You can find someone else to play with, play by yourself that day or tell a teacher to help you join in their play. It’s okay to feel sad or disappointed, but it’s important to use your words and ask for help and share your feelings, whether you are feeling happy or sad.


Tell me anything you like about yourself:

What do you like to do?

Do you have a favorite color?

Do you have a favorite book or show you like to watch?

How do you look?

Do you have dark or light hair? Is your hair short or long?

Do you wear glasses?

Be who YOU ARE! You do not have to like what other friends like. It’s okay to like different things; and it’s also okay to like the same things.

Zip up your jacket.

What are some things you do in the morning before going to school? How do you plan on getting to school? Do you walk, take a bus, train or bus?


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