How to Help Your Kindergartner at Home
Parents often ask me what they can do at home to help reinforce their child's learning. I think this is wonderful, and I applaud your effort. Just believe me when I say your support at home shows in the classroom! So the following are suggestions to aid you in continuing and reinforcing your child's learning at home... remember you're a teacher too!
READ, READ, READ to your child!
Read lots of books everyday with your child! Children love to hear their favorite stories over and over again. Nothing is more beneficial than scheduling a nightly ritual of sharing bedtime stories together. This sweet time will foster a love of reading and literacy that is shared between you. Before long, you will no longer be doing the reading! What a wonderful break to experience together with your child!
Ideas for Reinforcing Reading at Home
- Take a "picture walk" with your child. This is a time where you and your child simply look at only the illustrations of a book. This will help your child to make meaning before even reading. Encourage your child to verbalize what they see to further their predictions and assumptions prior to reading the book.
- Give your child time to enjoy books on his or her own. Allow time to explore the books, even if your child is only looking at the pictures.
When you are Reading to Your Child:
- Make sure your child can see the pictures clearly.
- Use plenty of expression when reading. Children love voice changes. This truly brings the story to life!
- As the story is developing, encourage your child to predict what will happen next.
- As you read, point to each word, sliding your finger under the text. This will help to promote one-to-one text recognition. You will help your child to understand that text has meaning. In addition, this also shows a child how print works, from top to bottom and from left to right.
- Have your child identify words that he or she is familiar with.
When you are Reading With Your Child:
- Begin reading the story to your child in a speed that is comfortable to your child.
- Encourage your child to point to each word while reading, sliding a finger from word to word.
When Your Child Comes to a Difficult Word:
- Encourage your child to look at the picture and ask what word would "make sense."
- Ask your child to look at the first letter of the word and to say its sound. Then ask what word would "make sense" that begins with that sound.
- Ask your child to look for familiar "word families" (-at, -an, ig...) that would help to "chunk" the word into parts.
- Ask your child to reread the entire sentence again and think of a word that would make sense in the sentence.
Questions to Ask After Reading:
- Can you retell the story in your own words?
- Were there any surprises?
- Who were the main characters?
- What was the setting (where the story took place) of the story?
- What was the plot (problem) of the story?
- What did you like best about the main character? What did you not like?
- What did you like about the ending of the story?
- Did the story remind you of anything that has happened to you?
Ideas for Reinforcing Math at HomeCount EVERYTHING!
- When your child is counting, if possible, ask them to physically touch each item that they count.
- Find items in your home shaped like a square, circle, rectangle, triangle and hexagon. Later in the year, find items shaped like a sphere, cylinder, cube, and cone.
- Sort shoes by different attributes (color, sized, laces vs. no laces...)
- Count the number of stairs (or other items) in your home by 1's, then 2's, then 5's, and if possible, by 10's. Then "count on" the remaining stairs or objects by 1's. This will help your child to count groups of objects and then add the remaining items by 1's.
- Sort and fold socks. How many socks make a pair? Is a pair an even or an odd number?
- Find how many books are on your bookshelf. Sort your books by hard cover and soft cover, color, size, and type of book.
- How many of your own feet does it take to cross your bedroom (heel to toe)?
- Sort the silverware drawer.
- Sort interesting objects like buttons, candy, and coins. Try "skip-counting" these objects in groups of 2s, 5s, and 10s.
- Identify pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters by their names and values.
- When taking a walk, read the numbers on the houses you pass. What is your house number?
- Practice your address and phone number.
- Read price tags while grocery shopping. Which item costs more? Which item costs less?