Parents want to give their Kindergarten or First Grade child a "jump start" for reading and math success, but are often overwhelmed on how to do it!
Experience has taught me that there are three main skills to master. This skill set forms a solid foundation upon which most learning can be built and sharpened. These three main skills are what I call the "Triangle Base."
These skills are:
Why does mastering these skills form such a solid educational foundation?
Rhyming promotes Phonemic Awareness. Simply put, this is the ability to hear sounds in spoken language. Hearing sounds is a crucial pre-reading skill.
One-to-One Correspondence applies to both reading and math. In math it means that a child sees the numeral 8, for example, and can correctly count out 8 objects. In reading it means that the child is saying what he or she is seeing.
Patterns can be both visual (Example, tile placement on a floor) and auditory (Example, the refrain "EIEIO" in the song "Old MacDonald")
My best advice:
Rhyme all the time (no pun intended!)
Count out small objects often. (Pennies, shells, or small snacks like Goldfish crackers, raisins, etc.)
When reading to your child always use your index finger in a left-to-right sweep, under the words. This helps your child focus on the print.
Go on a visual "pattern hunt" in your house or yard! Listen for, and identify sound patterns in songs and stories.
Whenever possible turn these simple guidelines into a game. Children love learning when it’s fun and engaging!
Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.