A-B-C It’s Easy As 1-2-3, Helping Your Child Build Math And Reading Skills For Life

A parent should take advantage of the time outside of school to teach their child basic math and reading skills. CBR offers some useful tips to try at home.

Children need constant positive reinforcement to retain the skills they are learning in the classroom. Whether reading or math skills come easily or are a challenge to your child, extra encouragement from you can go a long way. You can do this by incorporating daily activities at home that assist with these subjects, as well as make sure they understand their homework and are prepared for their next lesson. You can also take advantage of educational sites; ask your child’s educators which ones they recommend. In addition, ask your child which activities they like the best and assess whether they are a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner to help narrow down the most effective and beneficial lessons.

For math activities, try some of these:

Use Your Brain. Put down the calculator (we know this is a tough one!) and make sure they can function in the world without having to rely on any devices. Start by basic repetition and memorization to help your child.

Counting. A simple task around the house. When you are cleaning or sorting objects, ask your child how many of each item there are. For example, when you are putting your clean flatware in the drawer from the dishwasher, ask your child how many knives, forks and spoons there are in the tray. Sorting laundry and color coordinating while taking an inventory is another way to help organize and count.

Estimate Weight, Size, Distance and Time. Take objects and estimate weight and size by first showing your child how to measure using a scale, ruler and measuring tape. Use these concepts outside and in the car by incorporating larger objects you pass by, the distances you travel and the amount of time it takes. Teach them distance by showing your child a map and a globe; teach them how to use a compass and directions. Explain to your child the importance of time. Have your child wear an analog watch with actual hour and second hand features. Teach them how long activities take and how to budget and prioritize time.

Cooking and Baking. Teach your child recipes and to help out in the kitchen using fractions, measuring cups and spoons, and scales. When they are young have them count ingredients and hand you the correct amount. When they are older have them use their multiplication and division skills to scale recipes and feed the appropriate amount of people. Teach them about temperature, baking and cooking times.

Money. Ask your child to sum up cash and coins or make sure to have them get the right amount of change from a store. Put a price tag on things around the house and give them a play cash box and have them pay you the difference. Show them how to balance a checkbook, write checks and budget for the week, month, and year. Ask them to estimate costs at the store when shopping and out at a restaurant when ordering from a menu. Teach them about percentages and how to add tip to a bill.

Name That Shape. Shape search around the house; point out objects and ask your child to identify the shape. Give them a pen and paper and ask them to draw the shape you name. Play with building blocks and puzzles.

Games and Sports. Teach your child to keep score during outside games and when watching sports on TV. Play games with cards, dice or dominoes. Teach them strategies for checkers, chess and backgammon.

Communicate With Your Child’s Teacher. Make sure as your child gets older, you know what specific skills they need to have perfected for their grade and what you should be practicing with them at home. Understand the expectations and curriculum, so they can meet their goals and be prepared for the next grade. If your child is struggling with the concepts, consider getting them an after school tutor.

For reading activities, we think these will help:

Read What They Like. Find books with subjects your child would be interested in (keeping their age and expected reading level in mind). Take a trip with your little one to your local library for story time and local bookstores to shop for their books. Ask friends, family and teachers for their favorite titles. Are they struggling with a lesson like sharing or making friends? Choose books with good messages and valuable lessons.

Demonstrate Your Own Love For Reading. Show them reading is fun by designating reading time at home. Cuddle up together on the sofa or read your own book quietly side by side, if they are at an age where they no longer need help reading. If they are still young and need assistance, keep a dictionary on hand to define new words and help pronounce them. Read alongside with your child and have a ruler in hand to highlight each line as you read through each passage while discussing what it meant. Make sure they understand what is happening in the story. When you finish the book, ask them their favorite parts.

Keep a Blank Notebook on Hand. Write down a wish list of books your child wants to read. Record each book they’ve read and reward them when they finish reading ten. Write down new words they find and their definition, so they can review and use them in daily conversation. For a digital option, try this.

Work on Grammar When Reading. Take breaks to deconstruct a sentence and ask your child to point out the structure. Identify the parts of speech such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. Make sure your child understands who, what, where, how and when, as it pertains to the story. Try some grammar games in workbooks or online.

Eliminate Distractions. Turn off music, TV, cell phones and all devices when reading. Choose a relaxing quiet part of the house to read or a quiet place under a tree in the yard or park.

Encourage Your Child to Read Aloud. The more confident your child becomes reading in front of you and others, the more likely they will enjoy being in the classroom and reading in general. Listen carefully and help them with problem areas as you go. Make sure they know how to properly pronounce words and understand the concepts and message of the story. You will want them to use inflection and know how to tell a story, as this will help them throughout their scholastic career and in the workplace someday. [1] The Screen Actor’s Guild offers a website http://www.storylineonline.net/ where professional actors read children’s stories to engage your children in story time. This is also a good source for learning how to engage an audience themselves. Designate a time each day for family story time maybe at the dinner table or afterwards. Ask questions about your child’s day and their experiences. Have fun sharing and reliving experiences and things you learn together.

Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. Please consult your child’s healthcare provider directly for medical advice, diagnoses, and treatments. If you have specific questions or concerns about the health or development of your child, consult your child’s physician.


[1] SAG/AFTRA/EIF http://www.storylineonline.net/


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Johnelle is a freelance writer and editor. She enjoys all things good for the soul: fitness, painting, traveling, taking photographs of her dog, yoga, dancing, and singing in her Southern California band.

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