When you are home schooling your young children, you can use this list to identify things that you need to work on. However, I would like to add a small note about reading. Teaching reading in the early years is a moderately recent concept. It is quite normal for children to not be able to read until 8 or even 9 years old. The recent push for children to pick up reading early is two fold.
First of all, there are more and more children who have several of the risk factors that are correlated to poor performance in school:
*Only one parent at home.
*English is not the primary language of the mother.
*The mother was unmarried at the birth of the child.
*The family income is below national poverty standards.
*The mother did not graduate high school.
Secondly, research has shown that early intervention can help counter balance several of these risk factors and ensure success in school. Therefore, we now have a national push towards early reading. Many children do pick up reading as early as 3 years of age! But some don’t. If you happen to be a parent of one of those kids who doesn’t pick it up early–don’t worry! It is likely to come along in due time. In the meantime, you can continue to work on readiness skills while you’re playing together and reading out loud.
Here is a compilation of academic readiness skills for children ages 3-5:
Can describe an event or retell a story in great detail.
Understands that print is: a) written from top to bottom, b) written from left to right and c) there is a one to one correspondance between the words that are written and the words that are said.
Can recognize favorite books by cover.
Pretends to read books.
Will name objects in books.
In preschool: uses some letter like forms and your child’s writing has some semblance of English characteristics.
In kindergarten: can print their own name, knows the sounds each letter makes and is able to recognize both lower and upper case letters.
Identify signs in their environment.
Uses new vocabulary and grammatical structure in his her own words.
Understands and follows oral directions.
Connects information in stories to actual events in life.
Is able to put events in a sequence to make a story that makes sense.
Can say the alphabet.
Recognize own name & know the letters in his/her own name.
Recognize numbers 1-10.
Is able to count items.
Is able to name basic colors: red, blue, yellow, green, brown, black, white, etc.
Can use scissors, glue stick, pencils and crayons.
Basic comprehension of measurement and ability to measure using non-standard units. (For example, this is bigger than that, or this room is 10 paces.)
Comprehension of numerical order. (10 is more than 3, etc.)
Is able to rhyme words or tell if words are rhyming.
Notices when simple sentences don’t make sense.
Is able to identify similar sounds in words. (For example, cat and mat both have the same sound.)
Uses phonemic awareness to spell words. (Spellings of course, may be invented but the intended word should match phonetically.)
Writes and/or recognizes own name.
Is able to color within the lines. (Although it’s important at this age to allow for lots of creative expression. Just because they’re able to do it. . .doesn’t mean they should always have to.)