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The Horror Aisle at Barnes and Noble

by Susan Ohanian

I just got home from Barnes and Noble. It's only 11 a.m., and I want three glasses of wine. Big glasses.

They've expanded the school "skills" section. Now there is a big long row of PreK and K skills books:

I'm going to READ! Sight Words (for the 4-year-old) by Harriet Zeifert, Sterling Publishing. The parent is instructed, "Once your child has completed all of the pages (more than 200 sight words), present him or her with the certificate of achievement found on the last page of this book.

7 color words
orange. . .

one through twenty

16 body parts
hand, finger, toe. . . head

9 Foods

fruit, milk. . . dessert

Days of the week



sunny, snowy. . . windy

11 Shapes:

circle. . . octagon. . . cylinder

11 People

mother. . . police officer. . . teacher

6 Signs

stop, yield. . . hospital. . .

5 At the Office things

computer, keyboard. . .

8 At Home Things

television. . . couch. . .

11 Things That Go

truck, train. . . jeep. . .

10 Where? words

over, under, near. . . front. . .

9 Our World Things

earth. . . ocean, mountain. . .

38 More Sight Words to Trace

That, This, have, word, what, all, were, can. . .

This is just one book. There is a whole long shelf filled with this offal. They also publish so-called reading skills flashcards.

Workman has a line of Star Wars skill drill books:

Star Wars Workbook: Preschool ABC Fun

The Force is strong with this series! Introducing a line of workbooks that marries the iconic popularity of Star Wars with the unique mix of editorial quality, fun presentation, and rigorous educational standards that Workman applied to the BRAIN QUEST Workbooks. . . dig deep into core subjects, including numbers, ABCs, phonics, and reading readiness.

Kindergartners are instructed: "Circle the group that has less."

Kumon has a line of Pre-K & K Basic Skills Workbooks:

My Book of Coloring

This is no ordinary coloring book. In this workbook, children learn in a step-by-step fashion how to choose the correct colors and color within the lines. After providing children with the practice to master coloring, the final section of the book allows for creativity, as well.

My Book of Numbers 1-120

When working through the lessons in this book, students will learn to recognize numbers and write them in numerical order. The concept of decimal position is introduced.

My Book of Rhyming Words: Learning About Long Vowels

Kumon also has sets of flashcards for ages 2 and up:

  • Numbers 1-30 Write & Wipe!

  • ABCs Write & Wipe Uppercase Letters

  • ABCs Write & Wipe Lowercase Letters

  • Easy Telling Time Write & Wipe!

  • They hold off on Short Vowels Write & Wipe! until age 4 and Multiplication Write & Wipe! until age 5.

    If you want more, look at this Amazon page.

    Ask Me! Shape Match Games for Kids with Skills Free: The Best Pre-K and Kindergarten Common Core Early Learning Shapes and Colors Identification and Matching Activity Games for Boys and Girls is Available instantly on your connected Android device.

    Remember: In Finland they don't start teaching reading skills until Grade 3. They encourage younger children to play.

    Take a look at these cartoons:

    Kindergarten readiness

    Kindergartner answers an important question

    Kids Need Toughening Up

    Touch me again

    — Susan Ohanian




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