Tips To Help Your Child At Home
Remember that the fluency and speed that your child develops by working on these skills will help them master these important standards. Your child will benefit from the time that you spend helping them develop their abilities, but you want this time to be enjoyable. Engage your child by making this academic practice seem more like a game than a punishment.
Thank you for your help and support making your child’s Kindergarten year successful. Mrs. Schwartz
- Divide a set of alphabet cards into 2 piles (I generally focus on lowercase letters for children having difficulty because that is what they see when they read and write). Start with letters your child knows and 5 that they need to learn. Mix them up and go through them like flashcards. Count how many they got right and review the ones missed. Gradually add more new letters as old letters are mastered.
- Spread all of the letters around your room and send your child on a letter hunt. “Go find the letter “m”.
- Put the letters in a bag and have your pick out a card. If they tell you the name of the letter, they get to keep it. If they don’t know the name, tell them and then put it back in the bag.
- Tell your child a letter and have them write it on a white board, in a pan of salt, with a marker, with sidewalk chalk, etc.
- You write a letter and have your child tell you the name. Then your child writes a letter and you tell them the name.
- Put out all of the letter cards in a mixed up order (or use a random order letter chart). Use a stopwatch to see how many letters they can name in a time period (like 10 seconds). Count how many are correct. If they do it again, can they get even more? See how long it takes to name all of the letters. Keep track of your time and see if you can do it faster next time.
- The same activities done for letter identification can be done to practice letter sounds by having your child tell you both the letter name and the sound.
- Practice the hand motions for each Alpha Friend as this physical representation really helps children make a connection to the sound
High Frequency Words
- Do the same activities as in Letter Identification except use cards with the high frequency words on them.
- Practice both reading and writing high frequency words.
- Tell your child the sounds in a 3 or 4 letter word (cat, jet, log, cup, fin, soft, crab, plan, etc), leaving a short space between each sound. T-u-b (You can also have your child repeat the sounds as you say them). See if your child can tell you the word.
- Write the letters in a 3 or 4 letter word, one letter at a time. Have your child say each sound as you write it and then tell you the whole word.
- Have your child write the letters as you say the sounds in a 3 or 4 letter word and then tell you the word. Have them repeat the sounds if needed.
- Tell your child a word with 3 or 4 sounds (similar to the type used in blending). Have them say each sound in the word, putting up a finger for every sound. “Cab” is “c-a-b” so your child should be holding up 3 fingers when they are done). “Ship” is sh-i-p-3 sounds even though there are 4 letters. “Crab” is c-r-a-b.-4 sounds.
- Have a row of 4 pennies. Tell your child a word with 3 or 4 sounds. Have them slide a penny up as they say each sound in a word. How many sounds are there?
- Tell your child a word with 3 or 4 sounds. Have them write the letter for each sound as they say it. Count how many letters they heard.
- Read books with a rhyming pattern. Don’t say the final rhyming word and see if your child can fill it in. “Did you ever see a whale with a polka dot ____?”
- Tell your child 2 words and ask if they rhyme. If it rhymes, they say “Yes, cat and bat rhyme”. If it is a trick (doesn’t rhyme like cat and fish), your child makes an X with their arms.
- Tell your child a word such as “dog” and have them think of one real word that rhymes (log) and one make believe word that rhymes (wog).
- Think about which strategy would best help your child when they get stuck on a word such as what sound is at the beginning, get your mouth ready for the first sound, can you blend the sounds (g-e-t), is there a chunk you know (sh like in sheep), what would make sense, skip the word and read to the end- what would make sense, does the picture give you a clue. Remember that not every word can be sounded out.
Reading Comprehension and Analysis
- Make predictions about the story before you read. After you read, were you right?
- Was the story real or make believe. How do you know?
- Answer questions about the characters and events. Try to ask question where the answers are clearly stated in the book as well as beyond the text questions like “How do you know…” “Why did…” “How did the character feel? How do you know?” Describe a connection between characters or events.
- Retell the story in your own words. If you have trouble, look back through the book and then try again.
Concepts About Print
- Look on the book report pages in their Sharing Book. These are skills that will help your child build their awareness of print such as show me a letter, show me a word, what is the first or last letter in a word, show me a word that starts with the sound __, point to the capital, point to the period, touch each word under it as you read the page, how many words are on the page, show me the word “____”, how do you know if this word is bucket or pail (it starts with a p so it must be pail.
Listening and Speaking
- When you ask your child a question and they give you a one or two word response, ask them to put their answer in a complete sentence. “What would you like to eat?” “I would like to eat ice cream” instead of “ice cream”.
- Play games like Simon Says using one and two actions ( hop one time and then sit down, clap and then snap)
- Have your child tell you the sentence orally before they start to write. That way they are committed to an idea and you know what their message is when you assist with spelling.
- Remind them to start with a capital, put a finger space between each word, and put a period at the end so your reader knows the sentence is done.
- Use the lines on your paper to make your letters neatly. Erase a backwards or misformed letter for your child. Trace the letter correctly on the back of your child’s hand before they rewrite the letter on their paper.
- Make your child responsible for saying the word to help them write. What is the first sound? Say the word slowly, what sounds are in the middle? Say the word all the way to the end, what sound is at the end? Is there a chunk in the word? Is it a high frequency word you know?
- Can you add another detail or make your sentence complex (longer by adding a clause)?
Behavior and Work Habits
- Use a calendar or make a chart recording each “Sunny” or “Rainbow” day. Make a reward once a goal is achieved.
- Discuss behavior goals with your child so they know it is important to you and their teacher. Ask them what their behavior goal is in the morning to start them with the right mindset.
- Practice giving sets of directions for your child to follow. Continue to add more steps as they get successful. “I want you to put your backpack in your room, wash your hands, and eat a snack.”
- Give your child a time limit to complete a task. Use a stop watch or timer. “I want you to do your homework paper in less than 5 minutes.” “I want you to take a bath in less than 10 minutes.” “I want you to write 10 letters in 10 seconds.” Try giving them a task and then walk away; did they complete it before you returned?
- Practice writing numbers in a variety of formats such as on a white board, in a pan of salt, with a marker, with sidewalk chalk, etc.
- Have your child count during a transition time such as driving home from school. How long does it take to walk down the sidewalk- let’s count. Transition numbers are where most errors are made (39 to 40, 69 to 70 etc). Many kids skip one of the numbers between 13, 14, 15 so listen carefully. Some kids don’t say the numbers clearly or are confused (14 is not the same number as 40)
- Put out a group of objects for your child to count. Make sure they are using one to one correspondence (I like to have them physically move the objects across the table or into a bowl). Have them tell you the number and write it down.
- Use the same activities as Letter Identification only use number cards.
- Have your child practice sequencing the numbers 0-10. When they get good at that, practice 11-20 and 21-31. Then use all of the numbers together until they can successfully sequence from 0-31.
- Tell your child 2 numbers and ask them which is more or less. If they are incorrect, have them count out sets of objects to match the numbers (for example 5 and 8). Match an item from each group until one group runs out- that number is less and the one that still has objects left is more. Find the 2 numbers on a number chart, the one that comes first is less.
Operations and Algebraic Thinking
- Add and subtract by using objects. Tell your child a story that they can act out with the objects. “I had 2 books and then I got 3 more. How many do I have now?” “I had 5 grapes and then I ate 2. How many are left?” Tell your child a story and have them write the matching equation. Have them tell you addition and subtraction stories as well.
- Have your child tell or write the answer to an equation you write for them.
- Have your child write equations so they can practice using the correct symbols. Remember we can compose numbers by adding 2 groups (4+6=10) and decompose by putting the total at the beginning (9=5+4).
- Have your child look for multiple ways to make a number (8=7+1, 8=6+2, 8=5+3)
- Use strategies to solve problems +1 problems is like counting up 4+1=5 and -1 problems are like counting down 7-1=6. + or – 0 does not change your answer. Is it a doubles fact? Can you put the big number in your head and count on (
Number Sense and Base Ten
- Practice recognizing and writing numbers above 10. Remember teen numbers always start with a 1 (14 is 1 and 4). Most numbers are written or read in the order you say them (73 is a 7 and 3). The order of the numbers is important 42 is not the same as 24.
- Have your child count a group of objects with 10 objects in each cup and lay the extras separate. Count by 10s and then count on for the extras (10, 20, 30 - 31, 32, 33, 34, 35)
Measurement and Data
- Have your child compare objects. Which is longer, shorter, heavier, etc.
- Use irregular measurement like how many paper clips long is the pencil.
- Introduce them to an inch ruler. Make sure the object is at the end of the ruler by the number 1.
- Sort objects by an attribute (color, shape, size). Can you think of a different way to sort the same objects? Which group has the most? The least?
- We practice both flat (square, circle, rectangle, triangle, hexagon) and 3 dimensional shapes (sphere, cube, pyramid, cone, cylinder). Tell your child a flat shape and have them practice drawing it. You draw a shape and have them tell you the name. Find objects around the house that are each 3 dimensional shape. Have your child tell you the name (A can of soup is like a cylinder. A ball is like a sphere). How many sides or edges are on the shape? Corners? Faces (flat surfaces)?