Re: Preschoolers - July Update
posted at 7/5/2013 8:02 PM EDT
His vocabulary is incredible and his comprehension is fabulous. But the only letters he really recognizes are his initials. He's got another year before kindergarten, so I have a year to obsess about hold him out an extra year or send him in young
PLEASE don't worry that he doesn't know all his letters at 4 yrs old! Really, he will either learn them in this preK year, and you have 12 months, or he will learn them in Kindergarten. If he really doesn't have interest in letters (NOT in reading, just in letters) in the spring 2014, then you can get letter magnets and play on the fridge, and letter playdough cutters and use them with playdough, or use them in paint to stamp letters. And they also sell letter stamps - stamps are so much fun for preschoolers! Get the upper case ones - while his school should have everything labeled in correct lower case letters, and only capitalize the first letter in a name or correctly, children will see upper and lower case letters in books, on the wall, on labels, etc but still only use upper case letters when they first write. Also, don't worry if they write letters backwards - takes a long time to get some of those letters going the right way. Some children even mirror write - start at the right of the paper and then exactly and precisely (seriously? we couldn't do it!) write all the letters backwards in their name. I always encourage those kids to "start in this corner" (upper left hand of paper) and then they write them perfectly!
Just read, read, read, read and also stop and let him finish the sentence when he knows the story well. Also make sure you're reading predictable books - brown bear, brown bear is one - so there is always a chant that can be predicted "brown bear brown bear what do you see? I see a.... and he can "help" you read. Find books your kid loves - some kids (especiallly boys) really prefer non fiction - all those books about trucks, dinosaurs, dragons, ad nauseum - there are some good ones at all different levels from Usborne and DK in England.
Also you can play language games as you drive to school, or home, or whatever - at the beginning, I'm thinking of a word that starts with the b-b-b- sound - banana! And ball! Can you think of a word that starts with a B-b-b sound? (bike? great!). At the beginning you don't need to identify it's a b, just start with the concept that the words all sound the same at the beginning. And don't correct the c-c-c sound like carrot when he says kangaroo - they are both the same freakin' sound, our language not withstanding. so that's a right! kangaroo starts with the k-k-k sound!
eventually, like when he's incredibly good, you can do endings - but that might be 6 months after doing beginnings. what word ENDS with the T sound (and choose consonants, as those make more of an impression on your mouth and teeth when you say them out loud - elephant starts with e is very esoteric). That's for memorization when he's 7! cat ends with t, so does bat, what else?
these kind of games are great, and can be done during long commutes and oh, so good for their phonics knowledge and the beginning of reading and writing.
letter stamps are sold at my favorite online store like these:
and WASHABLE stamp pads like these:
you can also get stamps in all different shapes, it's not all about letters, lol! probably you can find some at a dollar store, too. stamps are just fun - just put a layer of newspaper or wax paper on your table under their paper because kids can get a bit excited about stamping and miss the paper, LOL.
also, if your child likes to cook then you can write out very clearly on a large piece of paper
the ingredients, and you can your child can "read' them together - this is real reading, and they start to see the importance of reading and want to do it with you.
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
this is also science, math and measuring - what's 1/2 a cup vs. a whole cup? what happens when you pour the milk in, and then you stir? and then what happens? The chocolate dump it cake is perfect for this, as who cares what order, just dump it in, mix, bake and devour! there are plenty of recipes that aren't finicky, like cookies.
KAM, your son is just going to be an early reader, early at lots of stuff school-related, and you're probably going to need to find a classroom, a teacher and a school that gets excited by challenging kids like him so he isn't bored. It's challenging for a teacher, but it can be done, and it will make a difference that he's with age-mates from a social perspective. OR, in 2nd grade if it's obvious he should skip a grade, you can do it then. Or choose a Montessori school where he's mixed age-grouped for grades 1 to 3, then 3 to 6.
I was the youngest in class (birthday late December, cut off date in 1970 was Dec 31) so I was 4 when I went to school, and while I did incredibly well at school, I had a harder time making friends, understanding teasing and humor, and was picked on horribly and had an incredibly HARD time as a freshman in college - I was really ready to relax and be a college senior that year. I only say this in retrospect - I did incredibly well in school, was smart, etc. but I would have done just as well, been just as smart, and could have perhaps also had an easier time socially. or not, who knows? But i say that as an educator who knows what those early years can do to your emotional psyche from teasing by kids.