Monday, October 28, 2013

How can I help my child learn to read


Reading books aloud is one of the best ways you can help your child learn to read. This can be fun for you, too. The more excitement you show when you read a book, the more your child will enjoy it. The most important thing to remember is to let your child set her own pace and have fun at whatever she is doing. Do the following when reading to your child:
·         Run your finger under the words as you read to show your child that the print carries the story.
·         Use funny voices and animal noises. Do not be afraid to ham it up! This will help your child get excited about the story.
·         Stop to look at the pictures; ask your child to name things she sees in the pictures. Talk about how the pictures relate to the story.
·         Invite your child to join in whenever there is a repeated phrase in the text.
·         Show your child how events in the book are similar to events in your child's life.
·         If your child asks a question, stop and answer it. The book may help your child express her thoughts and solve her own problems.
·         Keep reading to your child even after she learns to read. A child can listen and understand more difficult stories than she can read on her own.
Listening to your child read aloud
Once your child begins to read, have him read out loud. This can help build your child's confidence in his ability to read and help him enjoy learning new skills. Take turns reading with your child to model more advanced reading skills.
If your child asks for help with a word, give it right away so that he does not lose the meaning of the story. Do not force your child to sound out the word. On the other hand, if your child wants to sound out a word, do not stop him.
If your child substitutes one word for another while reading, see if it makes sense. If your child uses the word "dog" instead of "pup," for example, the meaning is the same. Do not stop the reading to correct him. If your child uses a word that makes no sense (such as "road" for "read"), ask him to read the sentence again because you are not sure you understand what has just been read. Recognize your child's energy limits. Stop each session at or before the earliest signs of fatigue or frustration.
Most of all, make sure you give your child lots of praise! You are your child's first, and most important, teacher. The praise and support you give your child as he learns to read will help him enjoy reading and learning even more.

Enjoy,
Ms. Nora Sierra


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mathematics in the Preschool Years


Pre-Number Concepts
Early development of number concepts is critical in developing positive attitudes about mathematics at an early age. Special methods and activities will assist children to develop early numeracy skills. These methods will need to include the use of motivating and engaging concrete materials that children can manipulate. Young children need to experience a lot of 'doing' and 'saying' before written numerals will make sense to them.
As early as 2 years of age, many children will parrot the words 'one', 'two', 'three', 'four', 'five' etc. However, rarely do they understand that the number refers to an item or a set of items. At this stage, children do not have 'number conservation' or 'number correspondence'.
What are these concepts and how can you help?
Engaging children with a variety of measurement concepts is a great beginning. For instance, children enjoy telling us that they are 'bigger' than their sister or brother or 'taller' than the lamp or that they are 'higher' than the dishwasher. Young children will also think that they have 'more' in their cup simply because their cup is taller. This type of language needs to be promoted and children need parental guidance to help with the misconceptions of these concepts through experimentation. The bathtub is a great starting point, using a variety of plastic cylinders/cups and containers. At this age, perception is the child's guide, they do not have any other strategies to guide them in determining which has more or less, is heavier or lighter etc. A parent or day care provider can provide great learning experiences to assist young children’s' misconceptions through play.
Classification is a pre-number concept that children need lots of experimentation and communication with. We classify on a regular basis without even considering what we're actually doing. We look in indexes that are alphabetized or numerically arranged, we purchase groceries in areas of food groups, we classify to sort laundry, we sort our silverware before putting it away. Children can benefit from a variety of classification activities which will also support early numeracy concepts.

Classification Activities
-Use blocks to engaged young children to repeat the patterns.....blue, green, orange etc. 
-Ask young children to sort the silverware or the laundry based on color. 
-Use shapes to encourage children to determine what comes next----triangle, square, circle, triangle, etc. 
-Ask children to think of everything they can write with, ride on, that swims, that flies etc. 
-Ask children how many items in the living room are square or round or heavy etc.
-Ask them to tell you how many things are made of wood, plastic, metal etc.
-Extend classification activities to include more than one attribute (heavy and small, or square and smooth etc.)
Before Children Count
Children need to 'match sets' before they will understand 'number conservation' and that counting is actually referring to sets of items. Children are guided by their perceptions and will think that there are more grapefruits than lemons in a pile due to the actual size of the piles. You will need to do one to one matching activities with young children to help them develop conservation of number. The child will move one lemon and you can move the grapefruit. Repeat the process so that the child can see the number of fruits is the same. These experiences will need to be repeated often in a concrete manner which enables the child to manipulate the items and become engaged in the process.
More Pre-Number Activities:
Draw a number of circles (faces) and put down a number of buttons for eyes. Ask the child if there are enough eyes for the faces and how they can find out. Repeat this activity for mouths, noses etc. Speak in terms of more than and less than or as many as and how can we find out.
Use stickers to make patterns on a page or classify them by attributes. Arrange a row of a set number of stickers, arrange a second row with more spaces between the stickers, ask the child if there are the same number of stickers or more or less. Ask how they can find out - DON'T COUNT! Match the stickers one to one.
Arrange items on a tray (toothbrush, comb, spoon etc.) ask the child to look away, rearrange the items to see if they realize the number of items is still the same or if they think it's different.
You will have given young children a great start to Mathematics if you perform the above activity suggestions before introducing them to numbers. It's often difficult to find commercial activities to support classification, one to one matching, number conservation, conservation, as many as/more than/the same as etc. and you will probably need to rely on typical toys and household items. These concepts underlie the important mathematical concepts that children will eventually become involved in when they begin school.
Enjoy,
Ms. Nora Sierra
Lower Elementary Coordinator


Sunday, October 6, 2013



THE IMPORTANCE OF READING TO YOUR CHILD

 

One of the best and least expensive gifts that a parent can bestow upon their child is the gift of reading. Reading to your preschool child not only helps lead to success in kindergarten but throughout your child's entire life. In fact, according to the Association of Ohio School, "The single most important thing that influences primary grade reading achievement is having someone read to a child on a regular basis."

Being a good parent requires consistency, support and the ability to set forth a good example for the child to follow (among many other things). Set an example for your child by reading everyday. From a 1998 study by the American Guidance Service, Inc.: "Children who see their parents reading tend to be better readers themselves."

Read to your child at least fifteen minutes each day. It doesn't matter what you read. Chances are good that if you are interested in something, your child will be too. Read the sports page, a gardening magazine, comic strips or even poetry. It is not important so much that your child comprehends what is being read as much as it is for your child to see that you are enjoying the act of reading. If your child observes you not only reading it, but enjoying it, they will likely begin to imitate the act themselves. You may catch them "reading" to their toys or friends. They may even pick up a book or magazine and make up a great story that they "read" to you out loud. Encourage this type of activity in your child. Your child is learning to read in this way, even if they do not yet recognize the words.

Here are some tips to make reading enjoyable for your child:

* Create a quiet, comfortable space with pillows, a favorite blanket and soft lighting.

*Make reading a special time to cuddle and connect with your child.

*Occasionally substitute your child's name for the lead character's name.

*Use funny voices for each character.

*Take trips to the library to pick out books that you'll read together.

*Write a story together and read it often.

*Read advertisements, billboards, license plates, street signs, etc. These activities provide opportunities to share reading skills with your child.

*Act out stories as if they were a play.

*Read a favorite story into a tape recorder so that your child may listen to it often.

*Send letters to your child through the mail or let him/her "read" the junk mail.

As parents, it is our duty to help our children develop a love for reading that will lead to a strong foundation for later success in life. It is so simple, so important and such a wonderful gift to share.
Thanks,

Ms. Nora

Lower Elementary Coordinator

 

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