• Tips To Help Your Child At Home

    Concepts About Print

    • Look on the orange card inside your child’s Ziploc book bag located in their Sharing Book. On one side there are lots of 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.


    • 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).


    • 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)
    • 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.

    Letter Identification

    • 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 5 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.

    Letter Sounds

    • 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.

                I see my like a to and go is here for have said the play she are he in you it me do on can

    Reading Level

    • Look on the orange card inside your child’s Ziploc book bag located in their Sharing Book. On one side there are lots of suggestions to assist 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 sound it out (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.

    Labels Categories

    • Show your children a group of objects or pictures and tell you what they have in common. It is helpful to start with the phrase “They are all____” (animals, people, things you eat)
    • Have your child make a group of objects or pictures and see if you can guess their rule. “They are all red.”

    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.
    • Retell the story in your own words. If you have trouble, look back through the book and then try again.

    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?

    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?

    Number Sense

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 number story and have them write the matching equation.


    • Give your child a set of objects and have them practice sorting by shape, size, and color.
    • Give your child a mixed set of objects and have them make a group that follows a rule. “They are all cars.” “Which don’t belong? Why?” “The doll and the book don’t belong because they don’t have wheels.”
    • Practice making patterns using objects like M&Ms or coins. Start by giving your child 2 groups of objects. Can they make a simple AB pattern (penny, nickel, penny, nickel), can they read the pattern by name (penny, nickel, penny, nickel) and by label (AB AB AB). Go onto more complex patterns (ABC-red, blue, green, AABB-grape, grape, cherry cherry, ABB- button, penny, penny, AAB-raisin, raisin, M&M). 
    • You make a pattern and have your child read it to you by name or label. Can they add onto the pattern to make it longer?


    • Have your child make a graph on the floor or table by using real objects. For example sort the cars by color and then create a graph by making a column for each color. Stack the cars of the same color like you stack blocks. Which column has the most?  Which column the fewest or least?
    • Have your child take a survey of their friends or family. “Which animal is your favorite?” Write or draw your choices at the bottom of the page. Put an X above each person’s choice.


    • We practice both flat (square, circle, rectangle, triangle) 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).


    • Practice saying or singing the days and the months in order. Get your child a calendar. Fill in important events like soccer practice. What day is it on? What day comes before, after? Flip through the calendar while you practice saying the names of the month. Mark special events like holidays and birthdays. What month are they in? What month is before, after?


    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

Last Modified on November 30, 2011