How to prepare your child for Kindergarten.
What are the 4 skills a child needs for kindergarten?
Reading aloud will have the most beneficial effect on the child’s ability to assimilate into kindergarten and excel. Your child will never be a nonreading child if you read out loud to them every night.
There are four thresholds of vocabulary in the child’s mind. Before the child enters kindergarten these four vocabularies must be enhanced.
Listening Vocabulary. The listening vocabulary starts prior to birth. This vocabulary starts in an elementary stage and can be refined to perfection with correct practice. The art of listening is added to every day. The listening vocabulary is similar to a lake when it overflows, the excess drains to the next threshold which is the speaking vocabulary.
Speaking Vocabulary. The listening vocabulary overflow will increase the child’s ability to start speaking the words that they have heard. A word that is never heard is the word never spoken. With over a billion people who speak Chinese, why don’t we speak Chinese as a child in the USA? The reason is simple, because our listening vocabulary doesn’t have any Chinese words in it. The best reason for that is as a child we haven’t heard enough Chinese words. So the child speaks no Chinese.
Reading Vocabulary. It is impossible to understand a word in print if you have never spoke the word. Picture books makes the correlation between words and pictures for easier understanding. Reading aloud programs the brain to hear all the sounds, blendings, syllables, and endings, that will make up the words the child will someday be asked to understand and read.
Writing Vocabulary. If a child has never said the word or read the word, how would they possibly be able to write it? All the language arts are generated from the Listening Vocabulary. Using a word in spoken dialog is the responsibility of adults.
The child goes to school to learn new words. The words the child already knows determines how much of what the teacher says will be understood The one skill prior to kindergarten that matters the most, is the child’s vocabulary upon entering school. This prime predictor of school determines success or failure. Because the first years of school instructions will be given orally, the child with the largest vocabulary will understand the most, achieve more, and excel more.
The basic instincts of good parenting are there for everyone, rich or poor. However, because of out loud family reading habits, from years 1-4 the child of a professional family will have heard 45 million words, the working-class child 26 million words, and the welfare child only 13 million words.
Having heard 32 million less words, one of the children will show up on day one of kindergarten, and the school administrators will expect the teacher to get this child caught up. At 10 words a second it will take her only 900 hours to say the words.
The vocabularies of these children range from the most read to children with an 1100 word vocabulary to the least read to children with just an 80 word vocabulary. Brain differences have nothing to do with how much vocabulary a child has. It is directly proportionate to the amount of reading out loud the child has heard.
It’s not the electronic devices or toys in the house that make the difference in children’s lives; it’s the words retained in their heads. Words read aloud are second only to hugs as the most valuable things you can give a child for free.
Wilbur Schramm, the founder of mass communication as a science, asks the question, why do some people read aloud more than others? He assembles the answer as a math equation.
Expectation of reward ÷ Effort Required = Frequency of activity
Starting with the Dividend— rewards that some people might expect from reading is pleasure that could include: escape, gathering information, for diplomas, the prestige, higher salary, education for the child, or other gratification.
Next is the Divisor —Difficulties or Effort Required for reading are:
- Lack of reading material
- Lack of time
- Negative peers
The Quotient is the Frequency — that is, how often we end up doing this action.
Due to the distractions in our life such as: TV ‘s, DVD’s, phones, video games, home chaos (too noisy, nothing to read or not enough time to read, these reasons bombard our frequency of reading until we completely space reading all together.
‘Life,’ defined as all of these factors, is going to determine how often and how much someone actually reads aloud. Strong REWARD factors and lower EFFORT factors, will equal more frequency of reading.
The optimum recommendation by the educator, author Tim Trelease, with 30 years of data is “at least 20 minutes reading aloud to the child a day will produce a child that excels in every class including college.” As an adult the read aloud to child will usually be in management on the job as an adult. Read aloud to a child for 20 minutes a day surpasses a high school diploma, trade school, an ivy league college degree, and tutoring for life long benefits to the child!