Play with letters, words, and sounds! Having fun with language helps your child learn to crack the code of reading. The tips below offer some fun ways you can help your child become a happy and confident reader. Try a new tip each week. See what works best for your child.
■ Talk to your child. Ask your child to talk about his day at school. Encourage him to explain something they did, or a game he played during recess.
■ Say silly tongue twisters. Sing songs, read rhyming books, and say silly tongue twisters. These help kids become sensitive to the sounds in words.
■ Read it and experience it. Connect what your child reads with what happens in life. If reading a book about animals, relate it to your last trip to the zoo.
■ Use your child’s name. Point out the link between letters and sounds. Say, “John, the word jump begins with the same sound as your name. John, jump. And they both begin with the same letter, J.”
■ Play with puppets. Play language games with puppets. Have the puppet say, “My name is Mark. I like words that rhyme with my name. Does park rhyme with Mark? Does ball rhyme with Mark?”
■ Trace and say letters. Have your child use a finger to trace a letter while saying the letter's sound. Do this on paper, in sand, or on a plate of sugar.
■ Write it down. Have paper and pencils available for your child to use for writing. Working together, write a sentence or two about something special. Encourage your child to use the letters and sounds he or she is learning about in school.
■ Play sound games. Practice blending sounds into words. Ask “Can you guess what this word is? m - o - p.” Hold each sound longer than normal.
■ Read it again and again. Go ahead and read your child’s favorite book for the 100th time! As you read, pause and ask your child about what is going on in the book.
■ Talk about letters and sounds. Help your child learn the names of the letters and the sounds the letters make. Turn it into a game! “I’m thinking of a letter and it makes the sound mmmmmm.”
Visit www.ReadingRockets.org for more information on how you can launch a child into a bright future through reading. for parents of Kindergartners Reading Rockets is a project of public television station WETA, and is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.
Pre-kindergarten and kindergartners are avid math learners! They may easily compare sets of objects to know which is more, but may have difficulty figuring out how many they actually have. When they count they know how many? but may not know that the last number counted means the total quantity. At this age, kids are learning which set is more and may be able to sequence quantities from smallest to largest. But the question how much more? can be difficult. Many children are also fascinated with collecting and sorting objects.
Give your child plenty of opportunities to count
- Play number games during everyday activities, such as counting the number of steps, the number of trucks you see while driving, or counting the number of items going in the laundry.
- Read the calendar, and determine the number of days until an upcoming event.
- Young children can count the number of items that you bought at the store. If you buy multiples of 1 item (such as 10 cans of cat food), practice counting by 2’s, 3’s, or higher numbers
- Have your child count the change needed to pay for an item.
- Watch your child play to understand her mathematical knowledge. When your child counts, does she touch each object once? Is his voice in sync with his tag?
- Have your child distribute cookies or toys to family members, with each person getting an equal number
Help your child recognize shapes and size relationships
- At the grocery store, ask your child to find items that are triangles, circles, rectangles, and other shapes.
- Ask your child to recognize or stack the groceries you bought by container shape or organize by size.
- Organize a scavenger hunt where your child has to find objects of different shapes
- Make snowflakes using symmetry. Fold a square piece of paper in half diagonally to make a triangle, then fold in half 2 more times. Cut out small diamond or circular shapes from the edges, and then unfold it. Experiment with different numbers of folds and shapes.
Find ways to collect and organize information
- Look around the house to find groups of 2 objects, like pairs of gloves or socks. Look for groups of 3’s, 4’s, and on up to 10’s.
- Have your child help sort the laundry by various categories — by color, or by whom an item belongs to.
- Take measurements for a project around the house.
- Using paper of different colors, make a paper chain with paper strips and tape. Encourage your child to create patterns by repeating colors and numbers of rings in a regular order. This can be done in connection with reading the calendar and counting down days to a special event.
- Collect objects in nature— leaves, rocks, shells and the like. When you get home, sort them by color, size, or type. How many different categories can you find? How many objects are in more than 1 category?
Help your child develop reasoning skills
- Help your child think about the permanence of a set. Put 6 pennies in a row, and then change the arrangement. Ask “did the quantity change?”
- Kindergartners love repetition and patterning, which fosters mathematical thinking. Clapping patterns help your child discover sequences and predict what comes next.
Some family games that use kindergarten math skills:
- Many card games require counting and score keeping.
- Dice games and dominos help kids learn to quickly recognize groups of dots from 2 to 12.
- Play board games that involve counting squares, such as Chutes and Ladders.
- Tic Tac Toe and Connect Four build recognition of rows of 3 and 4 counters.
"In teaching others we teach ourselves" - Proverb