Preschool & Kindergarten Literacy

This week I did a Facebook class for preschool and kindergarten. It’s amazing how much the expectations for this age group have changed over the last decade with the changes in education. It’s quite clear after looking at the Common Core Standards for kindergarten that preschool is extremely important for children at this time.

This post is for parents and early childhood educators. Below you will find a bunch of information and book suggestions for children around 4-5 years old for math and reading.

Learning Math1001-things-to-spot-collection

Preschool

  • Counting (count on hands, objects)
  • Understands written expression means number of objects for #s 1-5
  • Can do basic addition and subtraction
  • Can put numbers in order

Kindergarten (from the Common Core State Standards)

  • wipe-clean-number-cardsCount to 100 by ones and tens
  • Write numbers 0-20
  • Solve addition and subtraction word problems using objects or drawings to represent the problem
  • Fluently add and subtract within 5
  • Identify and compare shapes

 

 

At Home Strategies

thats-not-my-height-bookMath

  • Make activities into games. Some suggestions include:
    • Number sense- count items, use a calendar to countdown to events, play simple board games
    • Geometry- name 3D objects, create simple patterns
    • Measurement- record height monthly

Learning to Read

Preschool

  • Make simple predictions and comments about story being read
  • Hold and look thats-not-myat words right side up, turning the pages one at a time front to back
  • Name the letter in first name and can recognize name in print
  • Say and point to at least 10 letters of the alphabet
  • Match a letter with beginning sound of word
  • Recognize words see often (sight words)

 

 

Kindergarten (from the Common Core State Standards)

  • Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print
  • Understand spoken words, syllables and sounds
  • Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words
  • Use a combination of drawing, dictating and writing to compose original pieces

At Home Strategies

Reading

  • Point out letters and numbers. “What word on this page starts with ‘s’ “
  • Make up stories about the pictures together
  • Ask comprehension questions. “Why is he mad?” “Where is hted-friends-with-cde going?”
  • Relate stories to child’s experiences (festive, doctors, et.).
  • Encourage writing and drawing. Have a constant supply of paper and crayons. Standing kid easels work really well.
  • Point out letters in your child’s name.
  • Make everything into a game so they don’t get frustrated.
  • Listen to books on tape.

 

Learning to Read Collections

As a parent and educator, I love to have everything given to me in a neat and organized pack. Usborne offers three different reading packages for parents that are really great.

Option 1: Phonics Reader Collection. 

Usborne has a fantastic Phonics Readers collection that is phonics-based, includes a guide for parents, and is leveled using Fountas and Pinnell. The books are sold individually, but can also be purchased as a box set with 20 titles.

phonics-reader-collection

 

Option 2: The Usborne Starting to Read Pack. This is the perfect set to help a child read. The pack includes an activity book, an alphabet chart and books. Here is a great video from a fellow consultant that shows specific details about this pack.

starting-to-read-pack

 

Option 3: Reading Box Sets. Usborne Very First Reading has 15 books that are meant to be read with an adult. As time goes on, the child takes on more of the reading.

Usborne My First Reading Library includes 50 books (the first are from the Very First Reading set) and the rest are leveled. The goal is to have the child read these independently, only getting help from an adult when needed.

Both sets come with a parent guide and links to “online help” at http://www.veryfirstreading.com.

very-first-reading-set

There is so much information to cover for this age group, it is truly unbelievable. For more information on the products featured, head over to my Usborne site here. To be a participant in my Facebook classes, follow me here .

 

Toddler Literacy

Last week I discussed literacy in the first year, so today I want to share some information for toddler literacy. In preparing for this class, a lot of my research for toddlers overlapped my baby research information. Many of the same materials we use with babies can also be used with toddlers.

This post is for parents and early childhood educators on literacy in toddler years (from my Facebook class). It includes toddler development information, stages of learning and book suggestions.

get-dressed-max-and-millieYoung Toddlers (12-24 months)

  • Books with children doing familiar things
  • Books about daily routines/customs

Toddlers (2-3 years old)

  • Simple rhyming books that can be memorized
    • Kids this age can say 150-300 words so they can recobig-book-of-colorsgnize those used in rhymes
    • It helps them learn sentence structure and expressing a complete thought
  • Books about counting, shapes, colors, and size

    • Kids this age can distinguish the difference between sizes and colors
    • Foundational skills are developing at this age (numbers and letters)

 

Motor Skillsvery-first-fingertrail-playbook-garden

  • Gross Motor Skills– larger movements
    • Crawling, running, etc.
  • Fine Motor Skills– small movements
    • Using fingers, toes, lips, and tongue
    • These are skills that can be practiced with books

Potty Training

  • Many parents say this is the most stressful part about having a toddler. It’s important to talk to talk to your toddler about going to the bathroom and use books to help him or her get familiar with going potty. potty-training-books

New Siblings

  • Some children have a rough adjustment to welcoming a new sibling. You can help ease the transition by including your toddler in discussing the new baby and by reading books about family.

Special Interests

  • By two years old many children have a special interest. This can be animals, trains, trucks, ballet, etc. Make sure to have plenty of texts to reflect your child’s interests. little-ballerina-dancing-book

Strategies

  • Talk or sing about pictures. This helps with comprehension skills. Some examples include:
    • Who or what is in the picture?
    • What are it/they doing?
    • What color are they? Etc.
  • Show children the words.
    • Point while reading
    • Books with labels
    • Feel free to spell the words out as well
  • Ask Questions.
    • While reading ask comprehension questions that include why, how, and what. Focus on feelings and actions from the story.
    • Encourage your child to ask questions while reading.
  • Let child tell the story.
    • By around 2 ½ or 3, children can memorize a text. Use this to their advantage by letting them “read” stories they memorized so they can embellish and make it their own.
      • This helps with creativity and processing skills.

For more information on toddler books, feel free to follow my Facebook page or check out Usborne Books and More.

 

Touchy-Feely and Sight Words in One Book

Having a child can be expensive, so when I see a product that can grow with my daughter I get excited. I’m very picky with choosing books for Molly because I want texts that she can use for years instead of a month or two.

As a new mom, I do a lot of research on how to give my baby a strong start and the most popular suggestion is reading to your child (see previous post for more ideas on this). However, I’ve noticed that as Molly gets older she sometimes needs a little more stimulation, so we have introduced touchy-feely books in our house.

Molly is constantly drawn to bright colors and lights, so I want to read books that are visually appealithats-not-myng to her. She is also starting to grab things more, and we are working on introducing her to new textures. Usborne’s That’s Not My collection is perfect for Miss Molly because of the bright colors, cute themes, and touchy-feely pages. These books are perfect for me because they can be used now and also when she is in preschool and kindergarten.

This post is for parents on how to use the That’s Not My collection at home to engage your young reader.

When I purchased my mini consultant kit in January it came with the That’s Not My Dinosaur book, which is adorable for a little boy. As a girly girl myself, I had to get Molly one of these books that was geared towards a baby girl. I was debating between the Princess and Dolly and decided to go with Dolly this time around (I’m planning to get the Princess and Mermaid soon).

The physical construction of these books is incredible. As with many baby books this one is a board book, but it’s extremely lightweight with thicker pages than other baby books. Molly has seen me hold a book and turn pages for a few months now, but this was the first book she wanted/was able to grab by herself. She was able to lift the book on her own and hold the pages with her four-month-old hands. molly-reading-thats-not-my

The pictures are large and use contrasting colors for little eyes to see everything clearly. Each page has different color schemes, which helps keep Molly engaged longer. The touchy-feely components match the main idea of the page. For instance, the page Molly is on says, “That’s not my dolly. Her hat is too soft.” The touch and feel aspect on this page is the doll’s hat.

One of my favorite things about this collection is how they can also be used with early readers. These books are perfect for helping little ones with sight words and learning to read. Each page has a handful of sight words (to see the Dolch list click here) and is made up of simple, concise sentences that are manageable for young readers.

Some suggestions for using That’s Not My with preschool/kindergarten kids:

*Use them frequently. They are small and light enough to throw in a bag to use while you’re out and about, or read one a day as an activity. They are definitely a quick read, which is all you need sometimes.

*Show off! Kids love to show friends and family when they can do something new. Have your child readthats-not-my-monkey the book (or have them help you) to people the child feels comfortable with. This will not only boost their confidence, but also give them the additional practice.

*Relate the theme to daily life. If you’re taking a trip to the zoo, get your child excited by reading books like That’s Not My Monkey or That’s Not My Lion. There are so many different options so this is quite easy to do, especially if you use them seasonally.

These little books are portable, durable, and adorable. I love how they can be used from infancy all the way through kindergarten. For more information visit my store.

Picking the Right Book

Yesterday was a normal “home” day until I got a call from the bank that they needed my signature for my daughter’s account. I love my bank! It’s like going to see a bunch of friends whenever I go there, especially with Molly in tow. traveling-molly

While I was there, I told one of the ladies about being an Usborne consultant because I know she has two children. She mentioned how her son, a fifth grader, doesn’t like to read, and her daughter, a four year old, knows some sight words, but always makes up her own story while they read together. I offered to email her some suggestions from the fall catalog (the spring one isn’t digital yet).

So that brings me to my first post (yay!) and one of the most important parts of making a kid a reader…finding the right book. So many parents have told me that their child “hates” reading and I always say that’s because they haven’t found what works for them.

This post is for teachers and parents of all grade levels.

Teachers:

  1. What is the student’s reading level? This is HUGE! You can’t give a student reading on a third grade level Romeo and Juliet because they can get frustrated with their lack of comprehension. When this happens, students won’t read the text, which is why you see students daydream, act out, etc. On the flip side, you don’t want a text that’s too easy for them either. Students are still growing as readers, even in middle school, and sometimes high school, and therefore need to be challenged to further their growth. So, it’s really a balancing act.
  2. What are the student’s interests? colorful-question-markSometimes you may know the student and this part is easy, but other times you need to spend some time talking to the student to discover this. The key is to ask questions. What do you like to do in your free time? What kind of movies do you like? What is your favorite book? What hobbies do you have? Etc. Some kids can talk your ear off while others just stare at you.  Change up the types of questions that you ask to get more information.
  3. How is my knowledge of children’s literature? I am one of those teachers who reads what my kids read. I tell my students I speak many different languages. I’m fluent in Divergent, Harry Potter, The Shadow Children, etc. and they love that. Kids love to talk about what they read, and as a teacher it’s important that you know how to engage in the conversation. Students look to you to suggest books for them, so you need to be ready with a couple different options. If you struggle with this, talk to your school media specialist, other teachers, and friends. It’s important to keep up with the current trends in children’s literature and young adult.

Parents:

  1. Find what your kids like. My husband loves to watch American Pickers on A&E, and while it’s interesting, I truly can’t watch it all night. When it’s on, I hop on Netflix or Hulu on my iPad and tune it out. The same concept goes for kids. If they aren’t interested in the material they want nothing to do with it. Also, just because you like Nancy Drew doesn’t mean that your child will. I have had many parents spend hundreds of dolmysterieslars on books that they liked as a child expecting their kids to love it. Keep in mind that this isn’t always the case.
  2. Ask the teacher. It’s as simple as that. I’ve had parent teacher conferences that revolve around book
    suggestions. There is nothing wrong with sending your child’s teacher a quick email asking for ideas (these are the emails teachers get excited about).
  3. Reach out to an Usborne consultant. Usborne features over 1,800 books at all levels and topics. Consultants can help make book suggestions for pleasure, reference, and learning. If you’re interested in speaking
    to a consultant feel free to email me at littlereadingcoach@gmail.com, or if you would like to make a purchase visit my online page.

Below were my suggestions for the lady at the bank. Again, the page numbers correlate to the Fall 2016 catalog:

Four Year Old Girl (likes princesses)

  • Wipe Clean- Alphabet, Capital Letter, Lower-case Letter, Words (pg. 62). These are really cool mini workbooks to help practice basic writing skills that can be used over and over again. wipe-clean-lower-case-letters
  • Phonics Workbook 4 (pg. 64)
  • Fairy Tales and Princess Stories (pg. 65). These two books are known as dual readers, which mean there are two levels of text on each page. This is great for reading together and preparing children for more complex reading passages.
  • Phonics Books (pg. 66). Any of these books would be great to help with phonics.
  • Illustrated Stories Princes and Princesses (pg. 73). This is meant for older kids, but it would be a good one to read aloud.

Fifth Grade Boy

  • Mystical 9th Division Series (pg. 161). This is a sci-fi series (boys this age really like sci-fi) and it’s similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid with the format. Each chapter starts out with a comic and there are pictures to help with reading comprehension. mythical-9th-division-series
  • I Am Jack (pg. 164). This series has similar content to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. 

The page numbers are from the Fall 2016 catalog. Feel free to take a look at the suggestions. If you’re interested in purchasing from Usborne, check them out!

If you have any questions about Usborne or the ideas mentioned in this post, please feel free to email me at littlereadingcoach@gmail.com