Reading Gets You Ready: City Living

There are so many ways  to practice school readiness skills. Children ask a lot of questions about what's around them, so it's fun and easy to focus on city living if you live in Chicago. Chicago is city surrounded by so many things to see and hear.

Let’s explore city life with books and activities. 


Have you ever taken stroll through downtown Chicago? Notice all the City Shapes, from the squares and rectangles in the skyscrapers to the the triangles from kites. What shapes will you discover in this book that you’ve also seen in your city?  

Francesca has been invited to attend Olive’s birthday party on the 10th floor in her apartment building. Francesca and her dad are so excited! They are joined by their fellow neighbors in the elevator as they're Going Up! floor by floor. What will await them when the doors finally open on the 10th floor? 

CJ joins his nana on their weekly trip to the Last Stop on Market StreetThey jump on the bus and are surrounded by very diverse bus riders. Grandma shows CJ that everything that surrounds us has beauty.  At that final stop, a rainbow shines behind the soup kitchen as familiar faces welcome him.  

Based on a true story from the illustrator, Maybe Something Beautiful shows us the power of community. Mira wishes her gray neighborhood was filled with color, like her room. Little by little with help from a muralist and neighbors, she changes her surroundings into something beautiful.  

In Zoom! Zoom! you’ll find all the sounds that are a part of our city life. From the rumbling of the garbage trucks to the zoom of cars to the rattling of the train. What city sounds do you notice around you? 

Find more books about city living on our city living booklist or find over a hundred great books to prepare your preschooler for kindergarten with our Reading Gets You Ready booklists. 


  • Use recycled materials you have around your house like cereal boxes and paper tubes to create your very own box city, opens a new window. By doing this activity, kids get to practice cutting which strengthens their hands for writing. 
  • Try this construction truck sensory bin, opens a new window with your child. Construction is always a part of city living. Sensory bins are a great way to develop fine motor skills using play. You can recreate this activity with a plastic storage bin, some black beans and cardboard. 
  • Turn your preschooler into a city planner, opens a new window with this fun paper craft project that involves shape identification. Long strips of black paper are and easy way to incorporate roads into the design. You’ll be amazed at what you can create using simple shapes. 
  • A big part of our city are the vehiclesYou can build a truck, a school bus, a backhoe, or a fire truck with paper shapesFor more of a challenge and fine motor skill practice, you can also create a drinking straw truck.

Looking for more ways to explore school readiness? Learn about simple concepts in Reading Gets You Ready: Colors.