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3 Skills Critical to Common Core Success

As a mentor for new teachers, I spend a lot of time discussing the three important skills young students need to learn before starting with Common Core phonics and early math. I call this my “Triangle Base.” These three core skills serve as a solid foundation for children to advance their Common Core studies.

The core skills in the Triangle Base are:

  • Rhyming
  • One-to-one correspondence
  • Patterns


Rhyming is so important because it promotes phonemic awareness, the ability to hear sounds in spoken language.

Knowing one-to-one correspondence is fundamental for both reading and math. In math, it means seeing the number 8, for example, and accurately pointing to and counting out eight objects. In reading, it means pointing to and saying what you’re seeing.

Recognizing and understanding both visual and auditory patterns are key indicators of reading and math fluency. An example of a visual pattern could be tile placement on a wall or floor. An auditory pattern could be the “e, i, e, i, o” in the song “Old MacDonald.”

The Triangle Base makes an excellent foundation because the skills also incorporate multiple intelligence styles. In other words, they encompass visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (hands-on) learners. So however your child learns best, he’ll be able to enhance and expand learning.

To practice these skills at home, parents should start by reading lots of nursery rhymes. Play “pattern” games by looking and listening for patterns inside and outside. Help your child practice counting objects in a row, pointing to the object as she says the number. When reading together, both you and your child should point to words you are saying. This subtle practice will help your child construct a solid Triangle Base, which is so important for success in Common Core classrooms.

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