Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be —
I had a mother who read to me.
Since I started the website, Teaching Heart, I have received many emails from parents asking me for tips on how to prepare their child for grade K. If your child is in or has gone to preschool it is very likely that he/she has been exposed to the beginning Kindergarten Curriculum; although, it is still very important for you to help your child learn the basic readiness skills whether or not your child has gone to preschool. Your child will be at a disadvantage if he/she comes to school not knowing any letters, shapes, colors, and has never used a pencil or cut with scissors. Kindergarten standards have risen beyond playtime!! Students leaving Kindergarten are now expected to be able to read predictable and patterned texts, write, and problem-solve!! To get to this end result children must come to school with the basics so teachers can help your child meet the ever rising standards. To help you get your child on the right track I have complied a list of activities that I have and will use with my own children. I hope you have fun starting the learning at home.
If you only choose one choose to READ to your child every day and let him choose books he likes. Recorded books are also fun. Read to your bunny!
Reading often helps your child enjoy and look forward to this important skill.
Fill your house with reading material such as books, magazines, newspapers, etc.. Put reading material at your child’s eye level to inspire curiosity. If you cannot buy books visit the local library. Resales also sell books at cheap prices. Also, try Ebay!
Put cheap magnetic letters on your refrigerator or with a magnetic cookie sheet so he/she can use them to explore learning letters and making names. Leap Frog makes a magnetic letter reader called the Word Whammer. This reads the letters and tells the sound made by each letter.
Be sure to teach letter sounds as well as letter names. I even suggest you leave the letter names out until your child knows the sounds and then introduce what we call the letter.
Write your child’s name on a special paper so it can be used as a reference when writing her/his name.
Set aside a special drawer, basket, or tub to keep paper, pencils, markers, crayons, safety scissors, glue, and any other materials that will generate an interest in writing and creativity.
Use everyday situations as a learning experience for example “There is only one piece of paper left how can you and your brother both get a chance to draw a picture?”
When walking down the street or in the car talk about the things you see: colors, shapes, street signs, weather and nature are just a few! When they point to the McDonald’s sign and say McDonald’s, that is reading!!! In my daughters case… she points to the Target sign and says, “Target, Mommy’s favorite!”
Again!!!!! Point out common street and store signs (Stop, K-Mart, McDonalds). The first words that children “read” are these common signs.
Make a scrap book of your child’s art work and papers and with your child put papers in it. This helps build organizational skills.
make a scrapbook of things you want you kiddo to learn. If you want them to know their friends names, put pictures of their friends in it. My daughter’s book has numbers, colors, her favorite shows, favorite food, places she likes to go, her phone number, and her street number in it.
Make up stories together or talk about the sequence of his/her day.
In the grocery store talk about colors, letters, numbers of the isles and the shapes of food or packages. Let them put three cucumbers in the baggie.
Let your child find numbers or letters in old magazines or newspapers. A yellow marker can be used to highlight or circle! For example, “Find all the m’s and circle them, now count how many you found.”
Count Cheerios, crackers, goldfish, or anything like this you serve as you place them in a bowl or plate. When serving a snack ask your child to pick a quantity. “Do you want one cookie or two cookies?”
Sort M&M’s, Fruitloops, colored Gold Fish or Skittles by colors. Muffin tins are great for sorting counting bears into by color.
Talk about the letters in friends and relatives names. Ask questions like: What does Aunt Sue’s name start with? or What sound does the C make in your sister Caitlin’s name?
Help your child learn concept words like before, next, top, under, middle, forward. first, last, middle, etc. Experience these words with your child so that she understand their physical meanings (crawl under tables, over chairs, and so forth). Emphasize these words when talking (“First put the napkins on the table. Next put the fork on the napkins. Third put the plates in the middle of the placement.”)This builds important math skills and will help your child be better able to follow classroom directions.
Five Finger Rule for Finding Just the Right Book – For Independent Readers
1. Open the book to the middle.
Select a full page of text.
2. Read the page (aloud if possible).
3. Put one finger up for every word you cannot pronounce or do not know.
4. If you get 5 fingers up on one page, the book is too difficult to read independently.
5. If you do not get any fingers up, but are reading very slowly and decoding almost every word, you will not enjoy the book.