Teaching My Baby To Read

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SET, my new favorite card game!

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My sorority sister was visiting a few weekends ago, and she brought us the card game SET.  Having never played SET before, boy did she kick my butt!  But I’ve been practicing a lot since then, and I’m getting better.  This is one card game that’s challenging and addictive.

The goal of the game is to find three cards that are the same in their sameness, or the same in their differences.  There are four categories:

  1. Number
  2. Color
  3. Shape
  4. Pattern

Here are some examples of SETs:

All have different colors, different shapes, same number, and same pattern

All have different colors, different shapes, same number, and same pattern

All have different colors, different shapes, different patterns, and different number

All have different colors, different shapes, different patterns, and different numbers

All have same color, same pattern, same number, and different shape

All have same color, same pattern, same number, and different shapes

All have different number, different shape, different color and different pattern

All have different numbers, different shapes, different colors and different patterns

I brought SET into the 2nd grade classroom where I volunteer yesterday, and the kids went nuts. They had all played SET before with a previous volunteer. So, wow, it was pretty crazy.  I thought it was going to be a pretty tame card game, but we got so loud that I was worried a teacher would come shush us.  Suffice to say, the kids loved it just as much as I do!

Candy and Words

I’m not above resorting to bribery.

My daughter Jenna is almost three and a half years old.  We’ve been doing a lot of activities recently to support her burgeoning knowledge of sounding out words.  Here is one more.

The Candy Game

Before we start, I count out twenty five chocolate chips and mini marshmallows in the cup.  It’s really not that much candy, but enough to be super motivating.  Then I grab the deck of words we are currently working with.  I made this deck from our All About Reading level 1 activity book.

Then we just go for it. Old-school, flash card quizzing.  Every card Jenna sounds out earns her a a small piece of candy.  We play the game for no more six minutes.

My son Bruce was able to do this type of activity when he little too.  So now I’m completely jaded and this seems normal.  But the teacher in me remembers working with five, six, and even seven year olds to accomplish this same learning objective.

There is definitely a huge range for when a child will developmentally be able to sound out three letter words.  But I think that there are probably loads of children out there who could be reading before they entered Kindergarten, if parents had more guidance in how to help teach their children at home.  That’s the whole mission of my blog!

Jenna and Bruce have been working with letters, sounds, and words since they were each eighteen months old.  Almost all of this is documented on my Where to Start page.  Most of my ideas are free.  All of them are child-centered.

The bottom line is you can teach your child a tremendous amount before Kindergarten, especially if you know where to start!