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Let's Get Ready For First Grade! Review by Dena Wood

By Linda Desimowich and Stacey Kannenberg
Cedar Valley Publishing
N6854 Cedar Valley Road
Fredonia, WI 53021

Let's Get Ready For First Grade! is the second book in the Core Curriculum series by Cedar Valley Publishing. Each book is intended to prepare children for the upcoming school year but can be used remedially as well. This book is geared for ages 5-8 and covers the following skills:

  • Vowels and consonants
  • Long and short vowel sounds
  • Word families
  • Prefixes and suffixes
  • Contractions
  • Compound words
  • Capitalization, punctuation, and plurals
  • Measuring
  • Geometric shapes and solids
  • Counting; evens and odds, skip counting, ordinals
  • Addition, subtraction, fractions, and graphing
  • Food groups and internal organs
  • Money
  • The solar system
  • Sight words
  • Telling time
  • Calendars
  • Colors (primary and secondary)
  • Branches of government

While this list of concepts may seem overwhelming, each is presented in a fun and friendly manner on one or two pages. In most cases only the basics of the concept are introduced. First-grade teacher, Ms. Best, introduces each topic as your child learns along with a group of six Cedar Valley Kids, representing a range of ethnicities. Yodie the Coyote appears on each page, often doing something a bit silly to add a bit of fun. The bright, colorful pages are a delight to explore.

This book is intended to be read with a parent in short increments and used over a long period of time. You can easily skip from section to section as your child is ready or expresses interest. No need to work through it in order. It's likely that certain sections will spark interest, allowing you to follow up with additional library books. The book is laminated and is perfect for use with dry erase markers, as suggested on several of the pages.

The fact that the books are child-sized (approx 8.5" x 8.5") and laminated makes them ideal for your child to carry with them. They are quite sturdy and created to be "well-loved." My youngest received the Kindergarten book, and my next oldest was delighted to receive this new First Grade book. They take the books with them to Grandma's house, on car trips, and just around in general.

I love these books and can't think of a "down side." I would caution parents against trying to cover too much material or expecting their child to absorb the information too quickly. Take your time, bit by bit, and these books will do the job!

Product review by Dena Wood, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2006