Are you on the search for pre-k workbooks that are the right fit for your child? Well, I have found an amazing one, and I’m excited to tell you about it. Mostly because I don’t even like workbooks.
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Why I Don’t Like Workbooks
As a kindergarten teacher for eight years, I shied away from worksheets, and I’ll tell you why.
They tend to be an inauthentic means of learning. Meaning, a child can gain way more knowledge from actually experiencing something, rather than completing a worksheet on the topic.
For example, if I want a child to learn the sound that the letter ‘T’ makes, I would share objects that make that beginning sound. Maybe a stuffed turtle, tiger and a tie. We’d read books and poems that focus on /t/, the ‘T’ sound. We’d keep an eye out for the letter ‘T’ and how it is used when we see it in the real world.
These kinds of things generally bring back better results than just circling pictures of ‘T’ words on a paper.
However, I also believe there should be balance to everything. Saying absolutely no to any worksheets ever could also be a mistake.
I sincerely believe that worksheets can be a learning tool, when used properly and not overused.
Cue this pre-k workbook.
Why I Like this Pre-K Workbook
Like I said, I don’t believe in the overuse of worksheets. (And to be clear, a workbook is a giant pile of worksheets.)
The worksheets in this book have a lot of great features. Aside from the bright, inviting pictures, my favorite feature is that they are all simple, and fairly quick to complete.
This works for me in my home preschool. I only want to do one a day, if even that.
I’m looking for a quick three to five minutes spent on it.
I don’t want my child spending thirty minutes a day on worksheets. At all.
Again, everything in moderation, right?
I’d rather her time being spent doing more authentic learning and playing.
But there is room for some workbook time.
There is a huge emphasis on handwriting throughout the entire book.
Now, I certainly don’t believe that all three year olds are ready for handwriting practice.
Years of teaching kindergarten and working with occupational therapists has taught me that young children should be spending their time allowing their hand muscles to develop through play.
Doing things like Play-Doh, digging dirt, allowing unstructured time with crayons and paper and just everyday play are optimal.
And not to run my own child as an experiment, but I have done these things that I have learned are best practice. And I’m still surprised that my 3.5 year old actually has a proper three-fingered grip (most of the time) when it comes to using crayons and pencils. It’s been fascinating to watch.
Anyhow. With the strong focus on handwriting, personal opinion, I would not overly push your child, if he or she is not ready.
On the other hand, the book does a great job of using large, simple pictures to trace. There are a series of mazes, as well. These all provide a foundation to begin tracing letters and numbers, which also is included in the book.
The Contents of this Pre-K Workbook
This large, 240 page colored pre-k workbook from Scholastic, designed for three year olds (and up) has a wide range of topics it covers.
There are twelve categories within the book. I love that the pages are perforated, so I can skip around and pull out the subject I wish to work on at the time.
Each page in this section has pictures that can be traced. This is the beginning of the handwriting focus.
The tracing starts out with simple lines, and then it gets more complex.
This is a great spatial activity, while enhancing fine motor and handwriting skills.
The “First Concepts” section covers colors and shapes. There’s opportunities for coloring as well as matching and tracing.
This part of the book has a heavy emphasis on handwriting practice with letters.
I haven’t done this part yet, and will probably do it toward the end of using this book.
When it comes to handwriting, I prefer to do the maze work and the tracing throughout the book before doing any handwriting with actual letters.
First Letter Sounds
As the name suggests, this section focuses on the first sounds in words.
Children can practice words that start with the same sounds, and find matches to letters that make a particular sound.
Rhyming is such an important skill that often gets looked over! The ability to rhyme is crucial as children begin to read later on.
I’m really glad this book dedicated a section to rhyming.
Saying words aloud, and letting your child hear which ones “match at the end” and which ones don’t is a great way to practice rhyming!
This section is similar to the “ABC” section. It exclusively focuses on writing upper and lower case letters.
Again, this will probably be the last section that we complete.
The counting section goes in sequential order.
It typically involves coloring in the numeral, tracing the number of objects, and tracing the numeral itself. T
here’s items to count and usually a coloring piece for each number, as well.
Again, I believe a workbook should be review and used lightly. I think if used that way, this is a great book to review numbers.
If you are looking for a math “curriculum” for your home preschool, or even just to do more number work, I’m loving Preschool at Home by Kate Snow.
She designed very simple games and activities that can usually be accomplished in about five minutes. These activities are the building blocks for all of math.
They are highly engaging, and again very simple! There’s usually no set up.
So far, we’re about two chapters in and we’re loving it!
Sorting is an important skill for our little ones to learn! I sincerely do not think a child can learn the skill by doing a few workbook pages.
I think giving some toys to sort is a much more authentic experience. For example, you can give your child some toy animals and have them sort by color, the number of legs, or if they have a tail.
That said, because sorting is so important, I am glad that it is included in the book.
These are very quick pages where the child has to pick out the picture that is different, or the shortest of a group, or something along those lines.
Very First Science
Like I keep saying, I really believe that real world experiences are best.
But I do like how science is incorporated into the book. It touches on topics like plants that we eat, flowers, animals, seasons, weather among other things.
It provides an opportunity to talk about something that we may have not talked about before!
“My World” is basically social studies. It includes topics like community helpers, transportation and “about me” pages. Love the colorful pictures that are used!
All About Preschool
If you are sending your child to preschool, this is a great section to teach your child about what they will experience.
Things like cubbies, what a teacher is, and parts of the school day are all touched on.
If you are not sending your child to preschool, there are parts you may skip, or just kind of reword to make sense within your home.
How I Use the Book
I do home preschool with my three year old three to four times a week. We end our school session at the table with a workbook page before reading books together on the couch.
I like using this book for consistency. Doing a page each day does make it feel like school, if you know what I mean.
Two of our preschool days are more focused on math while the other two are more focused on letters and literacy.
For our math days, I will sometimes match it up with a math worksheet and literacy days matched up with rhyming or beginning letters worksheet.
Sometimes I just pick something that looks fun.
Other times I just pick something that will be really fast because a little brother is in need of some attention!
How I Teach Tracing
When it comes to all of the tracing, mazework and handwriting, I do follow a very consistent approach.
Each time we come to it, I model it by tracing with my pointer finger. This way she can see how it is supposed to go. She can see that I’m going slowly and taking my time.
Then, she traces with her finger on her dominant hand. I’m always encouraging her to go slowly.
Last, she traces with a crayon. I point out and praise whenever she goes slowly and stays on the dots.
Doing it this way has definitely led to very good focus and staying on the lines.
When it comes to handwriting, I am of the belief that if you are going to do it, it should be done correctly (within reason).
This is why I don’t introduce things, like lower case letters, too soon. I want to set my child up for success.
Just tracing willy-nilly (I swear I’m not 100 years old!) is basically pointless and can start bad habits that are difficult to correct later.
When I feel my child is ready, we’ll do the Kindergarten Jumbo Workbook, as well.
I completely plan on repurchasing this workbook for each of my kids as they grow ready to use it!
There’s other tools from the Scholastic Early Learners Series that look really helpful, too!
As we grow, I’m sure we’ll be checking more of them out!
There are a number of features that really make this pre-k workbook excellent.
I love that the pages are perforated. Writing on the back of the left hand page can be such a pain! I just pull out a page ahead of time, as we are good to go!
There are stickers for every single page! I like to show my child the number on the bottom of our worksheet and how we can find the corresponding stickers in the back. This is a great reference skill!
As far as pre-k workbooks go, the whole look of the book is bright, large, and very inviting!
This is certainly not the workbook I did the summer of ‘94 before starting third grade. (Remember those?!)
Lastly, the price is right! The MSRP on the back of the book is US $12.99/CAN $16.99. And I think it’s worth every penny. But I have seen it as low as half of that! How do you even beat that?!
I honestly didn’t know I had so much to say about Pre-K Workbooks, but apparently I do!
If you think your child is starting out on pre-k workbooks, or just loves to do them, I can’t recommend Get Ready for Pre-K enough!