How Is My First Grader Doing in School?


  • When the whole family is present, ask your child to tell you how many fingers there are in the room. Let your child count in whichever manner he chooses. If he counts by ones, show him how to count by fives or tens, and ask him if the results are the same.
  • Once your child knows how to count by tens, demonstrate how to count by tens beginning with numbers other than 1. For instance: 6, 16, 26, 36, 46...You may want to write numbers down initially to give your child visual clues. Take turns choosing any number to begin with. Some children love to count by 10 beginning with 100 or 800.
  • Teach your child the tally system. Choose a pile of things that need to be put away. For every item your child puts away, have her make a tally mark. Show her how to cross the bundles with the fifth mark. After she has cleaned up the pile, give her a nickel for every five tallies. Encourage her to count up her nickels by fives.
  • Estimate the number of times your family does something. How many times a day does each family member go up and down the stairs? Open the front door? The refrigerator door? Keep a tally sheet close by to check your estimates.
  • Ask your child to estimate the number of minutes it takes him to get dressed, put his shoes on, tidy his room. Estimating time is a great way to deal with the dawdling of six-year-olds!
  • Give your child money riddles: I have two coins worth 15¢, what are they? I have three coins worth 11¢, what are they? I have four coins worth 28¢, what are they?
  • How many ways can you make twenty-five cents? Help your first grader find the solution to this problem.
  • Give your child an answer and suggest he come up with the problem. For instance, if you gave him the answer five, he might tell you that there were nine rabbits in a hutch but four got loose.
  • Encourage your child to do small jobs for pay. Make a price list: wipe off table, 4 cents; sort shoes, 6 cents; empty trash, 9 cents. Then offer to double her earnings if she does all the jobs on the list. Have your child compute the doubled prices.

Copyright © 1998 by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

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