Monthly Archives: February 2010

Authors and Illustrators

Kindergarten children are old enough to understand about what authors and illustrators are.  They are learning that the author writes all of the text in a book and that an illustrator creates the pictures to go along with the text. Kindergarten teachers talk about the author and the illustrator every time they read a story to your child.  Kindergartners are listening and what a joy it is to see these young children ask for help finding a particular author or illustrator when checking out books from the school library.  They know what they like and want more of it. When you read a book to your child please be certain to tell your child who the author and illustrator are. When you have completed reading the story ask your child what he/she thought of that particular author or illustrator and have a dialogue with your child.  Then the next time you go to the library together, help your child choose more books from authors and illustrators that he/she has expressed an interest in.



Filed under Kindergarten, Language Arts, Reading

Fine Motor Skills

We finally celebrated our 100th day of school yesterday and one of our activities was to string 100 beads to make a necklace.  This should have been an easy task for a Kindergartner but some of my children were lacking the fine motor skills and hand strength to endure this project.  This was a surprise to me and what made it even more of a surprise was that some of the children who were struggling with the bead activity are reading chapter books at home.  Many of these readers are reading at home and not being allowed to explore other venues of learning that are appropriate for their age. Many parents think that the ability to read is the most important skill for a Kindergartner and yes although it is important it is only one area of development needed to be a success at school. Young children should be allowed to string beads, paint with finger paints, create crafts, use scissors, do puzzles, zip and unzip, tie shoes, and most importantly write legibly without muscle fatigue. Please encourage your child to develop better fine motor skills by offering experiences with any of the items just mentioned.


Filed under Fine Motor Skills, Kindergarten

Reading Skills Pyramid

At least one time during the course of the Kindergarten year, parents will ask me if I think that their child’s reading readiness skills or reading skills are on track for being ready for 1st grade.  I found this chart that lists the reading skills that children should acquire between the ages of preschool and 3rd grade. Keep in mind that learning to read is developmental and just because it is a recommended skill to learn at a particular age it doesn’t always happen that way.  Please print out this Reading Skills Pyramid and post it where you can always refer to it to see how your child is developing.

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Reading

Kindergarten Writers and Upper Case Letters

Kindergarten children are quite proud of their writing skills and we are just as proud of them.  These 5 and 6 year olds have been ‘writing’ since the first day of school but the writing is definitely making more sense these days.  The writing has improved so much that it is time to bring in one bit of fine tuning.  I am seeing more and more upper case (capital letters) showing up all over when the children are writing and one little boy explained it perfectly today. “The upper case letters are just easier to write so I like writing better when I can write with them.”  Well out of the mouths of babes…however, before the writing gets out of control, when the children are writing with me one on one, I encourage them to use upper case letters only where they are needed, not in the middle of words.  Please take note of your developing writer when he/she is writing at home and if you notice that there are upper case letters popping up where they don’t belong, it is OK to teach your child where upper case letters do and don’t belong.  We are teaching the same skills at school but undoing this quirk of Kindergarten writers takes some time and patience because the children don’t want to change.

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Filed under Kindergarten, Writing

Pattern Practice

Last fall I wrote about the importance of patterns in the development of your child’s mathematical skills.  ( It is to be expected that the patterns will become more difficult as the Kindergarten year progresses and that your child will be asked to copy and create much more challenging patterns. Many children are keeping up the pace with me as I teach and they learn higher level patterns such as ABC, ABCD and ABCDE patterns but some children are still struggling with the whole concept of patterns. Kindergarten teachers cannot emphasize enough the importance of your child being able to identify, extend and create a pattern in his/her environment.  Parents you should continue to reinforce this early algebraic skill in your home by pointing out patterns at every opportunity.  You could also make some simple and not so simple patterns for your child and ask him/her to extend the pattern and then create his/her own pattern that is not an ABAB pattern.

Here is the site for the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives…lots to look at but for patterns, click on Algebra K-2

Here is a PBS site with a pattern matcher game:

Check them out and then let your child explore and further develop his/her knowledge of patterns.

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Filed under Kindergarten, Math

Right Hands and Left Hands Both Have a Purpose in the Writing Process

The writing process in Kindergarten is developing more and more with each passing minute.  It never ceases to amaze me the writing skills that these young children seem to acquire overnight.  It also never ceases to amaze me how many children try to write with one hand on their lap and the other hand on their pencil.  Kindergartners are learning to write but have not developed the knowledge to use one hand to stabilize the paper so that it won’t move while they are writing.  Please take a good look at your child when he/she is writing and ensure that one hand is on the upper corner of the paper and one hand on the pencil.  A right handed child should stabilize his/her writing paper using the left hand on the upper left corner of the paper and a left handed child should stabilize the paper using the right hand on the upper right hand corner of the paper. Your child will have more success with his/her writing when both hands serve a specific purpose while writing.

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Writing

Themed Booklists For You and Your Child

Finding books to read to your child can be a challenge for many parents.  Sometimes the books that we think will be ‘just right’ for our child’s interests, do not interest him/her at all.  What to do? Maria Salvadore, a PBS children’s literature expert has put together several themed booklists where you are certain to find books that offer high interest for your child. The books on these lists are for children 0-9 years of age and emphasize quality.

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Filed under Beginning Readers, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Reading