The state of Texas has specific curriculum requirements for each grade level called Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Irving ISD, Coppell ISD and Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD teachers base their instruction on the TEKS, and Texas standardized tests measure whether students have mastered them.
Below are some ways parents can address the basic kindergarten TEKS for reading. If you have a kindergartener, you can reinforce what your child learns in school to help her prepare for first grade. If you have a preschooler, you can use these activities to give him a head start in kindergarten.
Teaching the alphabet:
- Reinforce the names of upper case and lower case letters with your child every day. Find them on signs, in the store, and in books. A great way to teach letters is the Letter of the Week project by No Time for Flash Cards.
- Kindergarteners should be able to identify the different sounds that letters make. Young children often find this to be a fascinating discussion. Talk frequently, for example, about how “the letter ‘S’ says ‘sss,’ as in ‘snake.’
Tips for reading to your child:
- Kindergarteners should be able to identify the parts of a book. Point out the front cover, the back cover and the title page. Discuss the pictures and show your child where to find the title and the author.
- As you read, point to each word. This reinforces the idea of separation between words and a correspondence between a written and spoken word.
- Read out loud and have your child clap with you with each word. You may need to read and clap, then have your child repeat after you to get her used to the idea. Once your child has mastered this, you can use the same activity to point out syllables within words.
- Kindergarteners should be able to make predictions and ask and answer questions about texts. As you read, ask your child to predict what will happen in the story based on the cover, illustrations, and text. You can also ask comprehension questions periodically.
- Read from a variety of texts. Young children should be exposed to age-appropriate poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.
Remember to keep it fun; young children do not learn well when they feel pressure. Let your child see that you are enjoying reading with him, and reward both success and effort with lots of attention and praise.