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Preparing son for kindergarten

Question:

My 5-year-old son, whose birthday is in November, will be starting kindergarten this fall. He is very excited about it. He attended daycare for a time, and while there he was taught some numbers and letters. He did not attend preschool, and now I am concerned that he will be behind his classmates academically. 

He is a bright boy with a working vocabulary of an older child and a keen interest in and knowledge of science. However, he has no interest in his ABCs, and he does not care about reading or writing. While he can name 30 dinosaurs and state if they are meat- or plant-eaters, he cannot say his ABCs or count past five without help. He shows no interest in trying to learn. 

He is the youngest of three, but his siblings are substantially older and thus, he is more like an only child. I stay home with him, and am willing to work with him so he will be successful in kindergarten and beyond. What can I do?

Answer:

Children’s minds are wonderful things. It is amazing regarding the facts your son has stored in his brain. You can use his extensive interest in dinosaurs to improve his counting and letter recognition. Think of activities that involve dinosaurs and counting, whether it is flash cards or counting how many dinosaurs are on a page. You can also put his plastic dinosaur toys into a container to see how many he owns. 

You can make flash cards with different dinosaur stickers on one side and the name of the dinosaur on the back. After he identifies the dinosaur by name, you can then spell the name together to reinforce his letters and reading skills.

Many schools have a letter of the week. When “A” is the letter, help him identify everything he can see that begins with the letter “A.” Eat foods that begin with “A.” Wear clothes that begin with the letter of the week or are the colors that begin with that letter. 

Practice writing that letter in upper and lowercase.  Make it fun. Sprinkle flour on a rimmed cookie sheet and ask your son to “write” with his finger letters that he has been taught in school. Or have him create letters with cooked spaghetti. Make learning more like play than work. Involve his father if he is in the picture. 

The more importance and focus that is placed on letters and numbers, the more your son will be motivated to participate in the learning process.

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