By Dennette Bailey

When trusted school systems purport learning to read and write in preschool settings as developmentally inappropriate while private preschool settings tout these lessons as necessary for kindergarten success, what’s a parent to do?

As an early childhood teacher who has also taught public kindergarten, I advise parents that while drilling and lengthy sit-down worksheet lessons are not helpful, a purposeful, quality learning environment is essential to success in kindergarten and beyond. Learning during the early childhood years should be fun and exciting. Moreover, it can aid in the bonding experience for the whole family.

Children that have experience with an extensive vocabulary, language and literacy environment are prepared for the rigors of kindergarten. African American families, in particular, must create or consider attending quality early childhood environments as this group of children tend to have lower testing scores when they reach the critical third grade testing age.

What Can Parents Do to Reinforce Literacy Outdoors?

As the summer approaches, parents should consider ways to help their children gain and reinforce critical literacy skills by taking advantage of the outdoors.

It will be key to develop a routine so that your child has ample time to develop and practice these skills repetitively. Repetition will help your child retain the information they are learning and help to avoid the retention loss that often occurs over the summer break.

Outdoor Games to Consider to Reinforce Literacy Outdoors

Jumping Games

Trampoline– The child will jump on the trampoline saying aloud the letters in their name. Then they will say the sound of each letter and name something that begins with that letter. For Example- Joe, J-O-E, Jelly (J sound), O, ostrich, O sound, E- Egg, e sound.

Hopscotch– Jump on the letter-say the sound and name something that beings with the letter.

Jump rope– Two people turn the jump rope. One person jumps in and says a letter and the sound and names something that beings or ends with the letter. Taking turns jumping in and out, the children can learn the letters while practicing concentration and jump rope skills.

Ball Games

Take turns kicking the ball into a soccer goal or throwing the ball in the basketball hoop. If you miss the goal, you must give a letter, its sound and name something that begins or ends with the letter.

Throw the ball to each child. They name a letter and the sound of the letter and throw the ball to another child.

Running Games

Race to get the letter at one end of your yard and then race back to a bucket where you must find the item that begins or ends with the letter. This does not have to be a competition as you can have a bucket made up for each child to make sure they get the individual letter skills they need to practice.

This type of outdoor learning offers skill retention in a fun manner. Children will get exercise while gaining literacy skills and all involved can create a closer bond.

Remember, if your child attends a formal public-school setting, they may be in a classroom with 20 to 29 other children. It will be imperative that they have had opportunities with these skills before this time to successfully complete kindergarten and be ready for first grade. Often, I have encountered parents who were shocked that their children were struggling in kindergarten. They had not anticipated the plethora of information their children needed to learn and how quickly it had to be learned. Practicing at home and taking advantage of the outdoors is a wonderful way to get ahead of this. If you cannot homeschool your child, a quality early childhood setting is necessary. If you are wondering how to find a quality early childhood program checkout this TMOM blog here:

When Having Trouble Finding Childcare

or here:

Difference between the Daycare Center and Home Day Care

You can also check out Triad Moms on Main Preschool Directory or Private School Directories for a list of schools sorted by city.

Learning to Love Literacy

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