• Ways to Support Your Child's

    Learning at Home

    1.  Count! Count anything! Some things that you can have your child count are:  spoons, forks in the drawer, number of flowers in the garden, number of kids at the party, number of cars in line, etc.


    2.  Have your child count out groups of objects into little piles.  (pennies, buttons, paper clips)  "Can you put 15 fish crackers in your snack container for tomorrow?"


    3.  Play with scrabble letters or magnetic fridge letters.  Think of a name, animal, plant, etc. that starts with that letter.


    4.  Play Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, Checkers, etc.

    5.  Play simple cards games such as Crazy Eights, Old Maid, etc.

    6.  Provide hands on experiences related to basic facts to 10.  For example, "If you have two crayons and I give you two more, then how many will you have?"

    7.  Teach your child to dial the phone.  Make a phone book of Grandma and Grandpa and Cousin Fred's phone number.

    8.  Teach your child to set the timer on the microwave.

    9.  Discuss the numbers on a clock and start teaching time on the hour.

    10.  Teach your child to do simple dot to dots.  Look in coloring books for easy dot to dots.

    11.  Have your child memorize his/her phone number.  Any phone number can be sung to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

    12.  Continue to provide experiences related to drawing, coloring, cutting and gluing in order to develop fine motor skills.  Also, continue to provide activities to strengthen hand muscles using Legos or Playdough.  (see Small Motor Exercise and Fun Things to Do Page in Parent Information)

    13.  Have your child do the switching of the TV channels.   Use the remote control to point out the numerals and name.

    14.  Find numbers and letters to discuss wherever you go!  Room numbers, elevator buttons, street numbers, road signs, price tags, business signs.

    15.  Start teaching your child to write his last name and names of other family members.

     ·  Information taken from "America Reads!"



    ·  The Alphabet Song

    Knowing the alphabet is a key to successful reading in later years. When you sing the alphabet song, your voice draws your child's attention to the letters of the alphabet.

    What you'll need:

    • You and your child.

    What to do:

    • Make eye contact with your child and begin singing the alphabet song:

    "A-B-C-D (pause) E-F-G (pause) H-I-J-K (pause) L-M-N-O-P (pause) Q-R-S (pause) T-U-V (pause) W-X (pause) Y and Z. Now I've sung my ABC's, next time won't you sing with me?"

    • You can sing this song very slowly or you can sing it fast.
      You can also change your voice and sing it with a high, peeping voice (like a bird) or with a deep, dark voice (like a bear.)


    The Name Game

    Knowing the names of things is important to learning about the world. Children learn the names of things mostly from their parents and teachers. One of the first things children can learn is their own name.

    What you'll need:

    • You and your child.

    What to do:

    • Ask your child, "What's your name?" If your child answers correctly, say, "Yes, that's your name. Your name is Calvin." If your child doesn't know his or her name, say, "Your name is Calvin. What's your name?" and repeat it until your child says it correctly.
    • Once your child knows his or her name, you can have fun with it. Look at your child. "What did you say your name? Calvin? I thought your name was Snicklefritz." You can also say, "My name is Mother Goose. Is that my name?"

    Your Story Ending

    An important part of reading and listening to stories is learning that they have endings. Sometimes the end of a story is a surprise, and sometimes it is not. Once children become familiar with stories, they can help create their own ending to a story.

    What you'll need:

    • A story your child does not already know. A pencil and paper.

    What to do:

    • Read the story to your child. When you are close to the end of the story, stop reading. Ask your child how he or she would complete the story. Let your child say the words to you as you write the ending. Then finish reading the story. Talk about how the story's ending and your child's ending for it are different or the same.

    Sounds Around

    The sounds of words are very important to reading. One way to help children learn the sounds of words is to introduce them to real sounds in the world around them.

    What you'll need:

    • Knowledge of the sounds of animals, objects, and the letters of the alphabet. A picture book of animals, objects, and letters.

    What to do:

    • Find a picture of a dog. Point to the picture and say, "The dog says, Woof, woof, woof." Find a picture of a cow. Say, "The cow says, Moo, moo, moo." Repeat this with pictures of other animals or birds. Then point to an object that makes noise, such as a car or a motorcycle.
    • Once your child knows some sounds that animals and objects make, show your child the sounds for individual letters. For example, write the letter m on a piece of paper, and say, "This is the letter m. When we see this letter, we make the sound, mmmmmmmm. What sound do we say for this letter? Yes. Mmmmmmmmm."
    • As your child learns the sounds associated with some objects and animals, you can introduce more letters.
    Rhyme Time

    Children love words that rhyme. Rhyming words are important to reading because they call children's attention to the sounds inside words.

    What you'll need:

    • Some words that rhyme.

    What to do:

    • Think of words that rhyme. Say two words that rhyme, such as cat and hat. Then say, "Listen to these two words that rhyme, cat (pause) hat." Then say, "Now I'm going to say other words that rhyme with cat and hat. Here's another one, rat. Now you tell me another word that rhymes with cat, hat, and rat (such as fat)."
    • Repeat this game with other words that rhyme, such as:

    pot, tot, lot, hot

    pin, tin, fin, in

    tag, rag, sag, bag

    Now About Books

    Children first learn to read from books. It is important for children to know how books "work."

    What you'll need:

    • A storybook.

    What to do:

    • Show the book to your child and talk about what a book is. "I'm going to read this book to you. As you can see, it has words and pictures in it. Some books have make-believe stories in them. Other books tell us about real life."
    • Then show your child that books are made up of words. "I can read this book to you because the words (point to them) tell me what to say. When you read, you say these words out loud or to yourself."
    • Then show how books are read. "When we read a book, we start at the front of the book (point to the front) and we read through to the end of the book (thumb through all the pages until you are finished with the book)."
    Stories Come to Life

    Reading stories is important, but creating and acting out a story makes it come to life. This activity will keep children interested as they listen to stories.

    What you'll need:

    • A book or story that is familiar to your child, and room to move about.

    What to do:

    • Select a story that your child knows. Tell your child that you will read the story out loud. As you read, find one word such as HOPPED, and say it in a loud voice. Ask your child to act out the "loud" word when he hears it (by hopping).
    • You may then choose words to say loudly that show emotions ("John was SAD"), or words that are nouns ("Bart saw a DOG" or "The LEAF fell to the ground"), or words that show action ("The leaf FELL to the ground").
    Funny Sounds and Words

    Reading to your child is important for many reasons. It gives you time together. It tells your child that reading is very important. It also lets you share your knowledge and ideas with your child.

    What you'll need:

    • A favorite book of stories.

    What to do:

    • Choose a story to read to your child. As you read the story, use your voice to draw attention to a special, new word. You can say the word in a funny way, sing it, say it loud or soft, and even make funny faces when you say it.
    • Show your child how to use the word throughout the day. The next time you read together, choose a new word.