Many parents often talk about the fact that their child/children are not avid readers. There are ways to address this issue. Keep in mind that YOU set the example. Regardless of the child's age, if the parents show a love for reading the children do as well.
Open their eyes to the world with activities that encourage reading. Make them top priority, and make them readily available for reading in multiple areas of your home. Having the ability to read (decode) and comprehend are key components to success in school.
Here are a few activities you can implement to develop your children into lifetime readers.
Non & Emerging Readers
Check your local library or retail bookstore for picture books with very few or no words. As you read these to your children, they will experience success once they start to learn the story that is told with pictures. Then they can "read" the story to your and /or other family members.
1. Negotiate an agreement For every hour of "screen time" (e.g watching television, playing video games or on the computer), one-half hour of reading must be completed. You might soon observe your child showing preference to reading. One can glean significantly more from 30 minutes of reading than in an hour of screen time.
2. Read after dinner Select an appropriate book for the age(s) of your children. After dinner read a chapter or two (depending on the length) of the book. Make this a ritual (you can decide how often per week, but every night is great if possible). One or two chapters will keep them curious about what will happen next. If it applies to you situation, as they develop into proficient readers, have them share the reading responsibilities with you.
What do you do to create a genuine love for reading in your home?
Mathjong is a very entertaining game that tests math skills while the player attempts to clear the tiles from the playing board. It requires skills in multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction. Any child who has a basic knowledge of math can play the game. The concept is to do the math mentally, rather than to use paper and pencil.
Game play is very similar to the popular game of Mahjong. At the start of the game, a board is shown with light and dark tiles. Only the light tiles can be used to make a math equation in the empty boxes below the playing board. Points are scored based on how difficult the math equation is, and it must be correct or the system will not accept it.
Some tiles are stacked as high as four deep, and the tiles beneath cannot be viewed until the ones above are removed. A dark tile will turn light when the tile directly adjacent to it is selected to go into the equation.
The trick is to keep the operation symbols where they can be chosen as needed. The equal sign is very important to have because no equation can be completed without it. There are also a limited number of all operation symbols.
There are only nine spaces for tiles to be placed below the game board. As numbers and symbols are chosen, they start on the left side in the first box and go across to the right. Here is a sample equation:
8 X 8 / 4 - 8 = 8 (the / denotes division)
This is a correct equation because 8 multiplied by 8 equals 64, which is divided by 4 to equal 16. When 8 is subtracted from 16, the answer is 8.
It is important to note that the equation calculates based on order of operations, meaning multiplication and division precede addition and subtraction.
As all the top tiles are cleared away, wild card tiles are exposed underneath. These are either a wild number or wild symbol to be used as the player sees fit.
The object of the game is to clear the board of all tiles and to score as many points as possible while doing so. Making equations that are a full 9 tiles long on each play provides a better opportunity to complete the game and achieve a higher score.
Another condition to be mindful of is to use as many numbers in equations as possible. Nearing the end of the game it will be impossible to finish without an operator and an equal sign to make an equation.
Two buttons on the left side of the nine-digit equation box are "Undo" and "New Game." If you start an equation wish to change it, click the undo box and the tiles will go back to where they were moved from. Selecting "New Game" clears your score and starts another game.
On the right side of the equation box is the red "Submit" button you click when you have completed your equation, and the "Clear" button beneath does the same thing as the "Undo" on the left side.
The running score is shown on the top left, and the highest score achieved on the computer is displayed in the top center. Are you ready to play Mathjong? Let's get started!
This is a simple and fun activity for young learners to engage in outside of the classroom to reinforce identifying letters and numbers. During a drive in the car or walking at the mall, have your child look for and identify the letters of the alphabet starting with A. Once he/she has located and properly identified the letter, go to B. Repeat this process until you have gone through the entire alphabet.
When finished, do the same with numbers numbers zero through nine. If you are in the car, a great place to find numbers is on license plates and billboards.
This activity can take place at home as well using alphabet and number magnets that can be purchased at Walmart, Target, Toy R Us, or Amazon.com. Mix them up on the refrigerator or a large magnetic board and ask your child to identify the letters and numbers.
Parents: You can take this a step further, and create your own magnets to use. Here is how it can be accomplished:
1. You will need white card stock paper, scissors, felt tip pen and magnets with adhesive backing.
2. Cut 36 3.5 in by 2 in squares (26 for letters, 10 for the digits 0-9) .
3. After cutting the squares, write A on one square, B on another square and so on until you get through Z. Do the same for the digits 0-9. Feel free to add color or decorate the square, but make sure each letter is clearly visible.
4. If you have access to a laminating machine, laminate each square, and add the magnets with adhesive backing to the blank side of each square. If not, the card stock paper itself will suffice.
Despite what some people think, learning can (and should) take place outside of the classroom. It is necessary in order to strengthen what is being learned in school. Learning should never stop, and can easily take place inside the home in a casual atmosphere. Avoid replicating what your child is doing in school, and enrich their learning by providing alternative, practical means for learning.
An essential skill young students need to acquire is Visual Perception. Visual Perception is defined as “the ability to interpret the surrounding environment by processing information that is contained in visible light.” You can help your young child to develop this skill by implementing the following activities at home.
1. Allow he/she to help with laundry by matching socks after a load of clothing has been dried.
2. Identifying different color articles of clothing in his/her closet and dresser drawers.
3. Provide a strip of yarn and have he/she find things that are longer and shorter than the yarn.
4. When baking, have he/she measure ingredients.
5. Spread toys on the floor, and let he/she put them in order based upon size.
6. Spread a bag of M&M’s or jelly beans on a table and instruct he/she to group them according to color.
This is not a comprehensive list but one to get you started. What ideas can you add to the above list?
Automobile travel continues to be a major part of life for American families (especially with the rising cost of airfare combined with the reduced number of flights). However, children are not looking out of the window like they used to. During my childhood, I recall trips to Disneyworld and Silver Dollar City, as well as Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio, and New York. Other than sleeping or playing with a magnetic Travel Bingo game, I spent the majority of the travel time looking out the window and taking in the sights (or lack thereof). That doesn't happen so much these days. With in-car dvd players, smartphones, tablets, Kindles and other handheld devices, it is difficult to get kids to observe. However, there are ways to keep young passengers in the back seat (back rows if the vehicle is a mini-van) entertained without the use of electronics! Here are a few activities to use this summer or anytime you will travel 30 minutes or more.
In The Car
Travel Bingo Create and print a Travel Bingo card. It should be a 4 by 4 array of squares (16 total) with each square containing one picture. Examples of pictures are a bird, tree, rabbit, squirrel, stop sign, person jogging/biking, dragon fly, etc. A child can fill in a row horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Or perhaps they can play "coverall" or "blackout" bingo. Since you are in a moving vehicle you will not be able to use bingo chips. A perfect alternative is to laminate the bingo cards and use a wet erase marker to mark objects with an x or o when they are seen. A moist paper towel or rag will sufficiently clear the markings from the board when the game is over. The objects are easy to see from a car, but this can be played almost anywhere.
At The Grocery Store
Shopping at the grocery store, Target, Walmart, etc is the perfect opportunity for practical application of math skills and concepts. Parents can take advantage of this time to explore shapes, estimation, sales tax
(for upper elementary and middle school), addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, making change, and debit. Retail stores make for the perfect "math playground". Here is an activity to use that only requires a pencil and a note pad.
Add Them Up Have your child take a small notepad (e.g. Steno Pad) to the store. As you select items from the shelves, have your child write down the cost of each item. They can either add as they go along (calculate a subtotal after every 4 items) or they can add them all at the end to obtain an approximate cost of the entire purchase. If you child knows how, they can calculate the total cost of all items including sales tax or you can show them how to do it when you return home.
How Much Change Have your child observe as the items are being scanned and the total cost for your purchase is increasing. If you are paying with cash, tell your child how much money you are handing to the cashier (try not to use exact change), and have them quickly figure out how much change you should receive.
What games have you used?