What is kindergarten readiness and why is it so important? School starts back up in a few short weeks and young students will embark on an entirely new adventure - kindergarten! According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students enter Kindergarten at very different skills levels, which is natural given that children may be coming from a variety of early childhood experiences, ranging from highly-skilled-focused pre-K programs, play-based preschools, Head Start, or no preschool at all. An average Kindergarten class may have children with a five-year skill range in terms of reading ability, from children who don’t recognize letters or letter sounds to those who can read short books. This makes the Kindergarten teacher’s job particularly challenging.
Learn With Homer, the #1 Learn-to-Read app, is offering tips to help parents and students be better prepared for the start of kindergarten.
While It is important to note that children do not need to be able to read before entering kindergarten, there are certain skills that make learning to read easier for a children entering school. One study (Snow, Burns, and Griffin 1998) on Kindergarten readiness reports that before children can read, write, or calculate, they must acquire rudimentary skills that serve as stepping stones toward mastery of the more advanced and complex skills. For reading, these rudimentary skills include:
Becoming familiar with the conventions of print (such as the English-language convention of reading from left to right and from top to bottom)
Learning to recognize letters by name
Associating sounds with letters or letter combinations
Understanding the meaning of many spoken words and phrases
Learn With Homer was built from the ground up to help children gain these literacy skills and to motivate children to practice those skills. By combining the best research on how children learn to read with state-of-the art game design, the team at Learn with Homer created the perfect learning and motivation tool to prepare children for kindergarten. The program’s focus on direct phonics instruction, general knowledge and vocabulary, as well as the vast library of e-books that cultivate a love of reading make it different from many light-touch skills apps. Learn with Homer was developed with a strong emphasis on phonemic awareness since the ability to hear individual sounds in words and to associate sounds with letters and letters with sounds are critical building blocks to learning to read. Children who are familiar with phonics upon entering kindergarten tend to advance more easily and quickly than those without.
In addition to phonemic awareness, here are some of the key kindergarten readiness skills that make beginning Kindergarten easier for children and their teachers:
Attentively listens to stories
Recognizing rhyming words
Speaking in complete sentences of five to six words
Making up stories from images or using pictures as prompts
Hearing individual sounds in words
Recognizing and naming some letters in the alphabet
Having an interest in books
Recognizing some common words like “stop”
Understanding that words you can say can also be written using letters from the alphabet
Counting to ten
The Learn With Homer team, including Stephanie Dua, founder and CEO, Peggy Kaye, director of learning, and Keith Meacham, director of educational partnerships, have dedicated their lives to early childhood education and teaching children to read.
“Learning to read is one of the biggest predictors of future success,” noted Stephanie Dua, CEO and founder of Learn With Homer. “We started Learn With Homer to give kids everywhere a better future and our vision is to transform the academic trajectory of every child who uses our product. We were inspired to set a new standard and had Learn With Homer tested by a leading researcher, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education. The results were stunning: kids working alone with Learn With Homer for just 15 minutes a day over six weeks nearly doubled skills most predictive of later reading proficiency and increased reading abilities by 74 percent. That’s something we are incredibly proud of and know that any child entering kindergarten would benefit from this tried and true Homer Method.”
About Learn With Homer
Learn With Homer set out to solve a confounding problem: teaching the world’s children to read. As parents, Learn With Homer co-founders were trying to teach their own children but were bewildered by the morass of apps, flashcards, and books on the market, none of which were able to teach their kids to learn to read from start to finish. In the United States alone, two out of three children never learn to read well, even though a child’s reading level by third grade is the single biggest predictor of future success - the biggest predictor, bar none. Learn With Homer was started to give kids everywhere a better future —with a vision to transform the academic trajectory of every child who uses our product. Homer is a disruptively affordable, simple-to-use, start-to-finish reading program that children can do on their own. And it’s available to everyone with a phone in their pocket. To learn more, visit learnwithhomer.com or download from the iTunes app store or follow on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and G+.