readilearn teaching resources are primarily designed for use with children in their first three years of school whether that be in a traditional (or alternative) classroom situation or a homeschool classroom. This makes the lessons and activities just as valuable now to teachers delivering lessons online and to parents working with their children at home.
While the lessons target learning in K-2, some could be used with younger children if appropriate support and follow-up activities are provided.
We all know that the best ways to encourage young children’s learning is to talk with them, read to them, play games with them and give them plenty of time and space to play on their own and with each other. It is the play with each other that is difficult to provide when we are in lock down and, while young children still require time to make their own observations and discoveries, some adult guidance and support for their learning is also extremely beneficial.
Children learn best when they have an opportunity to discuss their ideas with others. readilearn lessons are designed with that in mind. They are not intended for children to use independently. Teachers, at home or at school, are encouraged to scaffold children’s learning with supportive discussion.
I wrote about the suitability of some readilearn resources for use in kindergarten in 2018. Since then, many new lessons and activities have been added to the collection.
In this post, I list some of the interactlive lessons and resources that are suitable for use with younger children and suggest follow up activities that extend learning whether at school or at home. Suggestions for using the lessons with the target age group of 5 – 7 year olds are included in the resources themselves. It is up to the teacher or parent to scaffold and adjust the discussions to learner needs. In future posts, I will discuss lessons using other resources.
While the interactive lessons were designed to be used on the interactive whiteboard in the classroom, teachers teaching online can continue to use them with a class of children via screen sharing software such as Zoom. Parents can use them with children at home on a computer.
If children are accessing your screen sharing lessons on a computer, they may be given control of the mouse to interact with the lessons onscreen. However, the interactivity is not as reliable when accessed from mobile devices such as tablets or phones, so I don’t recommend sharing control if they are accessing that way. All children can still participate in the lessons through discussion with the teacher and other students and be given opportunities to make decisions and choices.
This video explains how to teach using readilearn interactive lessons online.
Stories to read and share
One Lonely Ladybird is an animated counting story, counting from one to ten.
As you read the story, you could point to each ladybird as you count, or invite children who are accessing the lesson on a computer to use their mouse to point and count.
If children have ten blocks in front of them, they could put out the blocks to match the number of ladybirds onscreen. Or you could use this sheet of ladybirds that is ready to print, cut and count.
Depending on the age, interest and ability of your children, there are other ladybird activities included in the collection that could be used with younger children, including:
Ladybird Spots is an interactive lesson that explores number combinations to ten. With younger children, you could use this simply as a counting activity in which children put the matching number of spots on the ladybird’s wings.
You could then print out the ladybirds in Ladybird Combinations and children could put buttons or blocks on the ladybird wings to count.
Bullfrog’s Billabong is a fun original story of a billabong that is quiet and peaceful until, each day more animals turn up at the billabong and decide to make it their home. The story incidentally introduces the mathematical concepts of counting, growing patterns and days of the week. You can use the story to discuss and count the Australian animals, and well as the names and sequence of days.
The Bullfrog’s Billabong character cut-outs could be used by young children for imaginative play or retelling the story.
The Ice Cream Shop is a story about a family’s visit to an ice cream shop and the ice creams they choose. The story could be used to stimulate discussion of the children’s favourite ice creams.
Follow up the story with children painting a picture of their favourite ice cream.
Alternatively, you could print My favourite ice cream for children to complete and colour.
Phonics and word knowledge
Find my rhyme introduces children to fifteen pairs of rhyming words. Each pair is presented on its own slide. Children choose the word that rhymes from six images. They are then asked to suggest other words that rhyme.
Play other rhyming games with children such as I’m thinking of something that rhymes with ‘dog’ and floats in the water. (log)
Read rhyming stories and poems, including nursery rhymes, to children and discuss the rhyming words.
Send children on a hunt through their house to find rhyming words; for example: door, floor; bed, red; book, nook; wall, hall; chair, bear.
I spy something beginning with presents each letter of the alphabet individually on its own screen with about fifty images. Children search through the images to find two that begin with the letter. Just one screen can be done in each lesson, or more if you wish. The letters can be presented in any order and don’t have to be covered in alphabetical order. For example, you may begin with the S page and look for words that begin like Sam or Sarah in your class. Initially, you may need to make sure that children can recognise and name all the images. Later, children may begin to point out words that start like their name or other words they know.
Follow up activities
Send children on a hunt to find objects in their house or garden that begin with the same sound.
Play I spy games, encouraging children to listen to the first sound. It is important to use the sound that the item begins with rather than the letter, as the two can be quite different.
Look through magazines or clipart online to find images of things that begin with the sound. Glue them into an alphabet book to have a personal collection of images that begin with the sound.
Listening and Comprehension
On the farm Who am I? is a fun Who am I puzzle that introduces children to farm animals. While young children may not be able to read the text, they can listen to the clues and observe the visual clues in order to identify the farm animal. Children accessing the lesson on a computer can be given control of the mouse to select the animal.
Follow up activities
Parents and children could play a Who am I guessing game about other domestic, wild or zoo animals. If they have some animal toys, they could use those as prompts or it could be simply an “I am thinking of an animal that …” game. This activity helps develop children’s language and listening skills as well as their expressive skills when they give clues.
Parents and children may have books about farm, or other, animals that they could read and use the illustrations to describe distinguishing features of the different animals.
Children could set up a farm or zoo using their toy animals.
Let’s Play is a brief story about two children who are getting dressed to go out to play. After the story is read to them, children can participate in the interactive activity that requires them to choose the clothes to dress the boy or to dress the girl. The other activities are for beginning readers and not suitable for young children.
At home, children could be encouraged to name the items of clothing they wear and list in order the items they put on each day.
Dragona’s Lost Egg is a sorting activity embedded in a story. Dragona has lost an egg. She phones her friend Artie who has a lost and found store. She describes the egg one feature at a time and Artie sorts his eggs in order to find it. Features used for sorting include: size, shape, colour and pattern.
Read the story as an introduction to the concept of sorting. If children are accessing the lesson on a computer, they could be given turns to control the mouse and choose eggs. Other children could describe the egg by its colour and pattern or location. Alternatively, teachers could point to each egg and ask the children to indicate with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if it should be selected.
Provide children with copies of the egg cards which they can sort in different ways. Children should explain how they have sorted their eggs. They need to use only one criteria for sorting e.g. size, shape, colour or pattern. If parents do not wish to print the eggs in colour, they can still be used but without sorting according to colour. Note: When parents print out any set of cards, they should store them together in, for example, a resealable bag, for future use.
Children could sort building blocks they have at home according to colour, size, or shape.
Children could sort cutlery in the cutlery drawer (remove any sharp knives).
Children could sort a selection of socks into pairs.
What other things could children find to sort?
Teddy bear sorting is an open-ended sorting activity in which children sort teddy bears according to features such as hats, bows, colour of bows and hearts. Not all slides need to be introduced in a single lesson, though it is good for children to find a few different ways of sorting the bears.
If children are provided with a set of Teddy Bear Sorting Cards to use during the lesson, they can manipulate their cards to match what is happening on screen or to suggest other ways of sorting. Children who are accessing the lesson on a computer could be given control of the mouse to show how to sort the bears. Other children could direct the sort with words.
If you haven’t already, provide students with copies of the Teddy Bear Sorting Cards. They can then sort these in different ways and discuss their sorting with their parents; e.g. these teddy bears have hats, these teddy bears don’t have hats.
The cards can also be used for making patterns.
The teddy bear cards could also be used for counting and for developing one-to-one correspondence. For example: children count out some teddy bears (e.g. 3). They then give each teddy bear a block to represent one cookie each.
Numbers to 10
I spy a counting game helps to develop rote counting, counting by ones and one-to-one correspondence. The teacher could make the selections and encourage the children to count along with them. If the children have some blocks or toys with them at home, they could put out the matching number. It is not necessary to count all the way to ten. Simply stop when you have reached the number you wish to teach. As with other resources, children accessing the lesson on a computer can be given control of the mouse to find the items.
Encourage children to find or make groups of the number you are studying e.g. If you are learning about the number 3, get three blocks, get three books, get three spoons, get three pillows.
Send children on a scavenger hunt to find the number of items, e.g.
- 1 bear
- 2 cars
- 3 blocks
Busy Bees and Insects — Subitising 1 – 6 helps children to recognise the number in a small group of objects without counting. Although it is not an interactive resource, children accessing the lesson on computers could be given control of the mouse to point and count.
As you show each screen, children can tell how many they think, then point and count to confirm.
If you provide children with a copy of the Busy Bees and Insect Subitisation Cards, they could find a card that has the same number to match the number shown on screen.
Children count out the same number of toys.
If you have provided children with a copy of the Busy Bees and Insect Subitisation Cards, they could:
- use the cards for counting practice
- match cards that have the same number
- find the same number of toys to match the number shown on the card
- place the cards in order from 1 – 6
- play memory with 12 of the cards (parents choose 2 cards showing each number, shuffle and then turn them face down. Children turn over cards to match 2 with the same number.)
These are just a few of the readilearn lessons that can be adjusted for teaching younger children. In future posts, I will explain how to use other lessons with young children. If you have any questions or suggestions for additional resources you would find useful, please email Norah via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, though, that learning happens in every thing that small children do and they learn happily without a computer in sight. Using readilearn resources should be an addition to, not a substitution for learning through play for young children. Please refer to the free resource Keep the children learning at home during lockdown for suggestions that are suitable for all ages.
Check out the complete readilearn collection of
over 400 teaching resources for the first three years of school
Resources beyond worksheets – lessons for teachers made by teachers.
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