Preparing Your Child For Kindergarten

Getting Your Child Ready For Kindergarten - From TeacherHelpForParents.com


Guest Post By Tami Phay

Fall is fast approaching and it is that time of year again . . . school is about to start! This time, it’s extra special for you as you prepare for your “baby” to head off to kindergarten! Every parent wonders if their child is prepared for life as a kindergartner, but how do you really know if they are? As a kindergarten teacher, I can offer some helpful tips on getting your child ready to launch into the world of learning. Many parents focus on the academics often forgetting the social and fine motor aspects of school. Of course it is great if your child comes into kindergarten knowing every letter and sound, can count to 100, and knows all their colors, but do they need to? Well if they did, I would be out of a job. Helping your child learn some of their letters, sounds, numbers, and colors is a great start, but as I mentioned before there is more to kindergarten then just the academics. Here are a few tips to help ensure your child is completely ready for kindergarten:

  • Make sure your child can put on and zip their coat. When winter arrives and the kids are scrambling to get out to recess and the teacher cannot put on and zip 24 coats!
  • Put your child in pants that they can zip and unzip themselves. I can’t tell you how many students come out of the bathroom with their pants half on because they can’t zip, button, or buckle themselves.
  • If your child is still learning to tie their shoes then make life easier for them and get them shoes with Velcro. When your child’s shoe comes untied, it not only becomes a safety issue but remember that it might only take you one minute to tie your child’s shoe but multiply that by 24 students…and the teacher could easily spend the whole day retying shoes.
  • Have a plan for how your child will normally get home from school and go over it with your child several times. If your child rides the bus, put a tag on their backpack with their bus number and what street they get off on. Unfortunately, I have seen kindergartners get off on the wrong stop and panic sets in! Little kiddos also get very anxious when they are not sure they know the plan for how they are getting home.
  • If your child will be eating lunch at school, don’t over pack a lunch! Parents will often give their child way too many options in their lunch box thinking their child can just pick and chose what they want to eat, but many kids get worried about what to eat and if they can finish it all during lunch time. Make it simple.
  • Talk to your child once they start school. Encourage them to talk about their new friends, what they are learning, and what they are doing. This helps you to get a glimpse into their school life and get a feel for anything that might concern you that you want to discuss with the teacher.

Enjoy this new chapter of your life and happy learning!

Tami is currently a kindergarten teacher. She has also been a first and fourth grade teacher.

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FREE PRINTABLE Long I Word List

FREE PRINTABLE Long I Word List - From TeacherHelpForParents.com

Word Sort
Read over the list of long I words together. On the top of a sheet of paper, make four columns with the four different ways to spell long I shown here. Let your child know there are other ways to spell long I as well that will be discussed at another time. Sort the words and write them under the correct heading.

Example:

I ie i_e igh
hi pie five high
spied tide sight

To extend this activity, have your child come up with three more words that are not on the list that would work in each column.

Begin by writing the words on index cards. Continue practicing with your child until he or she can say the words accurately. Mix the cards up each time to further help with reading practice.

Once your child can read the words on the index cards, print out this list of words. Start by reading the list to him or her. Then, have your child read with you. Finally, have your child read independently. The goal is for your child to be able to read each list in under one minute.

Long I Practice

hi diet final bike write
mice mile bride mine crime
nice die night dime slime
hide smile kite tide life
time like wide pie drive
dine pine dive pride ride
fight right filed side five

More Long I Practice

high die untie thigh
flies light cries mighty
flight lie brighter tied
moonlight midnight sunlight sight
overnight outright replied
fright spied tries

Printable Long I Word List

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FREE Summer Reading Programs For Kids 2014

Free Summer Reading Programs For Kids

Free 2014 Summer Reading Programs

School is out and summer fun has begun. It’s important to remember during these summer months to spend at least a little time in academics. Most students loose a bit of what was learned during the past year in the summer months. One way to help your child retain what was learned and be better prepared for the upcoming school year is to participate in a summer reading program. Some free summer reading programs are listed below.

City Libraries: Fizz! Boom! Read!  – Read books and complete activities to receive free books, coloring stickers, and more. Most libraries are participating in this event centered around science.  Check your local library for details.

American Girl Read-A-Palooza – American Girl stores are hosting this free reading event until August 26th.  The American Girl site has the schedule of store events as well as free printables.

Barnes and Noble – Your child can earn a free book when they read any eight books, record them on the provided reading journal, and bring it into Barnes and Noble.

Pottery Barn Summer Reading Challenge – Children who complete one of Pottery Barn’s reading lists will receive a free book. Visit your local Pottery Barn Kids to pick up the reading list or click on the link above for more details.  This program goes until July 31st.  Pottery Barn will also be hosting a weekly story time.

Chuck E. Cheese – Print off their reading calendar. Once your child reads for two weeks, they earn 10 free tokens. They also have other reward calendars such as homework, good behavior, and practicing a musical instrument. All of the calendars are for two weeks and are for 10 free tokens.

Showcase Cinemas Bookworm Wednesdays – From July 9th to August 13th, children can bring in a book report to the Bookworm Wednesdays 10:00 a.m. movie and watch it for free. Download the Book Report

TD Bank – Children in kindergarten – 5th grade can read and record 10 books on the summer reading form, take the form to TD Bank, and receive a $10 deposit into a new or existing Young Saver Account.  This program is through August 31st.

Pizza Hut’s Book It 2014 Summer Reading Challenge – Once children read 5 books, they can enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a prize.  This program runs through August 15th.

Find FREE Digital Books For Your Children

Did you know many libraries now offer digital collections of electronic and audio books for your computer, MP3 player, iPod, Smartphone, or tablet?*

You can find hundreds of free online children’s books by visiting your library’s website and clicking on TumbleBooks (TM). If you have a preschooler or beginning reader, be sure to visit DayByDayID.org every day this summer to read books and do fun activities.*  Make sure you access TumbleBooks through your library’s site so you can read them for free.

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*Information from the public library summer reading pamphlet.

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Father’s Day Activity For Kids: My Dad News – FREE PRINTABLE

Father's Day Writing Activity-My Dad News

Writing can be used at all times of life including Father’s Day. Why not have your children write about their dad for Father’s Day? Use this “My Dad News” printable. You can also create memorable handmade Father’s Day cards with ideas found here. Have fun!

Father's Day Writing Activity - My Dad News Printable

My Dad News Printable

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FREE PRINTABLE Long E Word List

FREE PRINTABLE Long E Word List - From TeacherHelpForParents.com

Word Sort
Read over the list of long e words together. On the top of a sheet of paper, make six columns with the six different ways to spell long e shown here. Let your child know there are other ways to spell long e as well that will be discussed at another time. Sort the words and write them under the correct heading.

Example:

e ee ey ie ea y
Be Feed Key Movie Team Happy
He Seem Brief Leaf

To extend this activity, have your child come up with three more words that are not on the list that would work in each column.

Last week, I posted a list of long a words for you to practice with your child. This week, I am posting long e words. Begin by writing the words on index cards. Continue practicing with your child until he or she can say the words accurately. Mix the cards up each time to further help with reading practice.

Once your child can read the words on the index cards, print out this list of words. Start by reading the list to him or her. Then, have your child read with you. Finally, have your child read independently. The goal is for your child to be able to read each list in under one minute.

Long E Practice

Be She He We Me
Because React Bead Beast Knee
Leaf Beat Least Bee Me
Beet Mean Brief Meat Cease
Neat Chief Need Creep Please
Deep Read East Seat Eat
See Either Sleep Feed Tea
Feet Team Greet These Happy
Key wheat tree Seem Leap
Steam Eel Bleak Leaf Heal
Movie Field Week Thief Piece
Parties Leeks Each Yield Cavities
Ponies Rubies Freak Breeder Jeans

Printable Long E Word List

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Improving Your Children’s Relationship With Their Teacher (FREE Personality Assessment For Your Child)

Improving Your Children's Relationship With Their Teacher - FREE Personality Assessment For Your Child - From TeacherHelpForParents.com

Does your child have a teacher that he feels doesn’t quite understand him?  Does your child have a hard time adjusting to how the teacher interacts with her?  There is hope.  The reason may be a difference in personalities and understanding how to interact with those personalities.

There are many different types of personality assessments that you can find online.  One of these was developed by Gary Smalley.  He divides personalities into four types: lion, otter, golden retriever, and beaver.

The Lion Personality

Lions are people who like to take charge and are competitive.  Their communication style is blunt and direct.  They enjoy recognition and problem solving.

The Otter Personality

Otters are people who are optimistic and motivating.  Their communication style is encouraging and motivating.  They enjoy approval and social recognition.

The Golden Retriever Personality

Golden Retrievers are people who are peace-makers and sensitive.  Their communication style is indirect and they are great listeners.  They enjoy emotional security and an agreeable environment.

The Beaver Personality

Beavers are people who are accurate, precise, and analytical.  Their communication style is factual and they are great listeners concerning tasks.  They enjoy quality and exact expectations.

Looking at the descriptions above, you may be able to guess which personality type is your child and which personality type is your child’s teacher.  To find out for sure, here is a free simple personality assessment for your child from Gary Smalley: Smalley Institute Personality Assessment.

After reviewing the assessment, look at the matrix that comes after the assessment that will further describe the personalities.  You will find useful information about what your child needs.  You can also explain to your child the personality type that you think may belong to his teacher.  Show your child how his teacher sees the world and how it may come across to him.  It can make for a great teachable moment of understanding how people are different in how they think and relate.

Here is a great resource that you can find on Amazon, other retailers, or maybe even your public library.  It is a kid-friendly book that explains the four personalities in a way that is simple for children to understand: The Treasure Tree: Helping Kids Understand Their Personality.


Click the picture above to be taken to Amazon.com to view this book.
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FREE PRINTABLE Long A Word List

FREE PRINTABLE Long A Word List - From TeacherHelpForParents.com

Before beginning long vowel sound word lists, let’s review what makes a long vowel sound. One way to describe this spelling is to present the letter “e” as “bossy e.” Explain to your child that, in a root word, when there is a vowel-consonant-e, the letter “e” is bossy and makes the vowel say its name. The letter “e” is then silent when you read the word

Another way that long a is spelled is “ai.” Teach your child the famous saying, “When two vowels go a walking, the first one does the talking.”

Long a can also be spelled “ay.”

Finally, long a is also spelled “eigh.”

Explain to your child there are other ways to spell long a as well that will be discussed at a later time.

Word Sort
Read over the list of long a words together. On the top of a sheet of paper, make four columns with the four different ways to spell long a mentioned here. Sort the words and write them under the correct heading.

Example:

A consonant E Ai Eigh Ay
Rate Drain Eight Say
Blade Rain Weigh Day

Begin by writing the words on index cards. Continue practicing with your child until he or she can say the words accurately. Mix the cards up each time to further help with reading practice.

Once your child can read the words on the index cards, print out this list of words. Start by reading the list to him or her. Then, have your child read with you. Finally, have your child read independently. The goal is for your child to be able to read each list in under one minute.

Razor haven Bake same Lake
Place Cake Fame name Lane
Plate rake Came Game page
Invade parade Ape Brave Date
Flake Haste Pain Say Ate
Day Flame Hate Pave Shape
Bake Cane Eight Frame Lake
Pay Base Cape Face Lame
Rain Take blade cave blaze
fake grade make rate Crane
Fame Grape May Brake Dame
Fate Nape Same Way Gain
Aid Drain Rain Tail Wail

Printable Long A Word List

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FREE PRINTABLE Short Vowel Word Lists

FREE Printable Short Vowel Word Lists - From TeacherHelpForParents.com

You can find all of my short vowel sound lists here in one easy place. The left column shares ideas for how to use the lists. The right column contains pdf files of the lists for easy printing and saving.

Ideas
For Use

Pdf
Files For Easy Saving And Printing

Short A Ideas Short A List
Short E Ideas Short E List
Short I Ideas Short I List
Short O Ideas Short O List
Short U Ideas Short U List

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How To Learn With Placemats: Using Placemats For No Pressure Learning

Using Placemats For No Pressure Learning - Great For All Ages - From TeacherHelpForParents.com

Mealtime is an opportune time for no pressure learning.  This can be done simply with the use of strategically picked placemats.  Awhile back, I saw a young boy on a talk show who had memorized all of the presidents, the order they were president, and an interesting fact about each one.  When the parents were asked how this young boy could know all of this information, their answer was simple: a placemat.  They had found an inexpensive placemat with presidents on it for their son.  They were surprised when, at meal time, he would ask questions about each president.  The parents would answer his questions, and his learning grew.

I thought to myself, what a great idea!  Kids are sitting at the table eating and conversing.  Why not try an alphabet, number, or geography placemat as conversation starters?  I’ve heard of kids not only asking for the names of the letters on an alphabet placemat, but the sound the letter makes and a word that starts with that letter as well.  It then turns into a game with the kids as they want their parents to ask them questions such as: “What letter makes the ‘ssssss’ sound?” or “What letter does cow start with?”  It adds to mealtime conversation with the whole family, and is no pressure learning guided by the children’s questions about what they want to know.

Give it a try.  You’ll be surprised how much your children learn all while having fun.

You can find placemats many places such as the grocery store, dollar store, or online.  I really like the Melissa and Doug placemats that can be found on Amazon or other stores.

Here are some examples:

       

According to the reviews, people really like these placemats.  They do; however, caution about not using the crayons on them.
These placemats are my affiliate links.

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THFP Archive: How Do I Help My Child With Reading Comprehension? (Free Comprehension Printables)

How Do I Help My Child With Reading Comprehension?  FREE COMPREHENSION PRINTABLES - From TeacherHelpForParents.com


Over the years, parents have asked me what they can do at home to help their children become better at reading comprehension. Here are four ideas you can do at home that can help your children do better in reading comprehension.

Background
It is important for children to be familiar with the topic they are reading. If they are reading fiction, an understanding of where or when the story takes place (especially if it is in the past or future), familiarity with the characters, and a general understanding of the topic will help them make sense of what they are reading. Just think if you were asked to read a book about a setting you knew nothing about, and characters that confused you, and they were all wound up together in a plot that was confusing to you. Would there be much comprehension and understanding happening as you read it? There would be very little. Now imagine if you understood these things first. You would have a much easier time understanding what you were reading. Every experience your children have – field trips, vacations, museums, meeting new people – help with building their background knowledge and eventually their reading comprehension.

Vocabulary
Knowing the vocabulary that is used in the book is closely tied to background knowledge. If you read a paragraph and don’t understand three or four of the words you just read – you’re out of luck! If your children do not understand what a word means, encourage them to show you so you can explain it to them. Or, if you rather, they can tried to figure out what the word means through context clues. This means they look at the sentences before or after, and then try to figure out what would make sense for the meaning of the word. Vocabulary can be increased starting in babyhood and going all the way through childhood by continually naming and explaining what your children see.

Make Connections (Text to Self, Text to Text, and Text to World)
Reading comprehension is not only recalling facts and details about what was read, but understanding what was read as well. One of my favorite reading comprehension books is Mosaic of Thoughtby Susan Zimmermann. In this book, the author defines three ways your children can make connections to what they are reading that will help them understand and remember what they are reading.

The first is text to self. The idea here is to help children relate the books they are reading to themselves. It could be something that happened in the books that also happened to them, or it could even be how the main character’s qualities remind them of themselves. For example, “Lucy was very honest when she told her mother she accidentally broke the lamp. That reminds me of the time I was honest when I told our neighbor I accidentally threw a ball threw their window.

The second is text to text. This means it’s important for your children to find similarities in the books they are reading to other books they have already read or heard. For example, “Junie B. Jones reminds me of Ramona Quimby because both of them are precocious and mean well, but usually end up getting themselves in a pickle”. Children will probably start off simple like there are kids and animals in both books, but help them move farther.

The third is text to world. The children find something that is happening in the book and relate it to what is happening (or has happened) in the world. For example, “Little House on the Prairie reminds me of what I learned about the pioneers on the Oregon trail.”

I use to make “Text To” journals for the students to write down the connections they were making while reading. These journals would be great for reading while at home as well. I’ve included a free text to journal printable that you can use. I would photocopy the paper, cut it in half, fold a piece of construction paper or the journal cover below over it, and then staple it together on top. You could also use a three ring binder and follow the same concept.

Text To Journal Cover

Text To Journal Cover

Text To Journal

Text to Journal Free Printable

I also have added big posters made from butcher paper in my classroom. I have one that says, “Text To Self,” another that says “Text To Text,” and a third that says, “Text To World.” As students would find connections in their reading, they would go to the appropriate posters and add the connections that they found along with their names.

Building these connections will help them personalize what they are reading and make it purposeful. Personalizing helps children understand what they are reading better and will help them to remember what they read as well.

Story Elements and Higher Order Questions

It is good to encourage your children to think broader and deeper while reading. Not only will this help them understand what they are reading, but it will also help to prepare them for state tests such as Common Core (now in the majority of states). I have included a free printable download below with questions for each part of the story elements. These questions are great because they can be used with just about any fiction book. Help your children to think beyond a question such as, “What color was the boy’s shirt?” and up to a question such as, “If you were in the same position as the boy, would you have done the same thing? Why or why not?” The questions I provided below provide higher order questions like these. There is one for preschool through first grade children and another for second grade through sixth grade children. They will help your children to start seeing reading as understanding what they are reading as opposed to just memorizing and recalling details of what they are reading. Understanding is key in reading comprehension.

Use this story elements questions free printable for second through sixth grade children. Story Elements Questions

 

Use this story elements questions free printable for preschool through first grade children. These questions can be used for many of the books your children read including simple picture books. Starting reading comprehension elements early will help your children as they grow older.

Story Element Questions For Preschool Through First Grade

 

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