Going to the toilet, tying your shoelaces, brushing your teeth and speaking correctly are all tasks that children should have mastered before starting school, however it transpires that many little ones are lacking these crucial skills, and are even arriving at school without basic hygiene awareness.   

According to a recent study, an increasing number of children are starting school without being able to communicate or carry out key tasks for example using the toilet. BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, wants to help time poor parents and urges them to start reading basic life skill stories to little ones now, ahead of their life changing move to primary school in September. Having these skills before they start school, so they won’t fall behind, hold classmates back and to also help ease the burden on teachers.

BookTrust has put together a booklist to encourage parents and carers start talking to small children about starting school and the skills they will need – for example going to the toilet, brushing their teeth, tying their laces, speaking properly etc. These books are brilliant for helping toddler and pre-schoolers (ages 2-4) develop everyday life skills.

  I Want My Potty!
 Author: Tony Ross Publisher: Andersen Press
 The Little Princess hates nappies and thinks there must be something better. This is classic picture book entertainment, which will be especially appreciated by any children who are learning to love their potty!



 Zeki Gets a Checkup
 Author: Anna McQuinn Illustrator: Ruth Hearson Publisher: Alanna Books
 Zeki is a big boy now – he loves hiding toys, playing ball, singing and dancing. Today, he’s going for a checkup at the doctors’ with Daddy and his toy Mister Seahorse. A lovely book to share with toddlers, which marks their developmental milestones.


 My Big Shouting Day
Author: Rebecca Patterson Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Bella is having a Big Shouting Day: from morning until bedtime, she shouts and complains about everything from biscuits to baths. But eventually, Bella says 'sorry' for her big shouting day...



 My New Shoes
 Author: Leilani Sparrow Illustrator: Dan Taylor Publisher: Boxer Books
 Young bear’s feet are growing, so it is time for him to get some new shoes. Vibrant illustrations and rhyming  text capture the excitement of this familiar experience, making this an ideal tale for toddlers who are embarking on their own visit to the shoe shop.


To see the full booklist, click here.

Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust says: “We know there are an increasing number of demands placed on parents and that they’re busy all of the time but using books and stories as an opportunity to start discussions with young ones to prepare them for school can go a long way to help get them ready to start in the new term. If cost is a concern, then why not visit your local library or hold a book swap. There are so many great books out there to help get the conversation started so why not add these to your summer reading list.”

According to Amanda Spielman, head of Ofsted (as published in the Daily Telegraph) “Children arrive at school without the words they need to communicate properly. Just imagine the disadvantage they face, right from the start. Unable to follow what’s going on. Unable to keep up with their classmates. Unable to reach their full potential.” In the piece, she also reported 70% of schools are finding an increasing number of children starting school without being toilet trained compared to five years ago.