An introduction to reading and math - Mid-Pacific Institute

Kindergarten Matsumoto

An introduction to reading and math

Posted on September 2, 2017

by Ms. Matsumoto on September 2, 2017

As explained in the Reading and Math handouts provided prior to Open House, reading and math literacy will take on many different looks throughout the year. One aspect of reading literacy is reading written text, such as found in books. Math literacy encompasses many concepts and skills that are addressed every day.

This week, the children were videotaped reading and counting. The children and teachers now have a baseline from which to gauge their progress.

As the children read a book for their teachers for the first time this year, teachers observed a variety of reading behaviors that occur as a child progresses in reading. Beginning next week, the children will bring home a book to practice daily. Here are some of the reading behaviors you may observe as your child reads to you:
- identifying what is shown in the pictures
- telling a story from the pictures
- identifying familiar letters
- identifying letter sounds
- beginning to use beginning sounds and picture cues to figure out a word
- commenting on or responding with emotion (e.g., laughter, dismay, empathy, etc.) at the pictures/story.
Please refer to the Reading Progression handout e-mailed to you prior to Open House in preparation for next week. As your child reads to you, please note your observations on the "I Can Read" sheet. Feel free to contact teachers if you have any questions.

We began "formal" math instruction (from the Investigations curriculum) with a look at attendance (i.e., how many children in the class, how many boys/girls, how many children are present/absent). It is important to note that teachers use the word read when asking the children to look at the attendance stick and accompanying towers with children's initials to discuss the information it provides.

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The act of reading includes all kinds of texts, such as numerals, images, letters. The children discover, without counting, that the attendance stick gives us a lot of information:
- there are 10 girls in the class
- there are 8 boys in the class
- there are two more girls than boys (The children came up with two strategies to explain how they knew this was true.)
- there are 18 children in the class (when we stack the girls' and boys' towers next to the attendance stick)
- if cubes with initials are not in the tower, we know how many children are absent. We also know which students are absent.

Math instruction is not limited to our Investigations curriculum. Our calendar also provides a means for teaching math literacy, as well as reading literacy. The children learn how to read the calendar by identifying where we can find the days of the week, month, year, and date. Again, teachers are deliberate in using the word "read" when we look at the calendar, impressing upon the children that they are indeed reading the calendar for information. They also learn how to read the symbols marked on the calendar to know what specials classes they have (C.E., P.E., Music), how many days we've been in school (post-it with numbers), when we have holidays/days off (x), and when it's someone's birthday (photo of person). In addition to talking about what will happen that day, we also talk about things that happened in the past and what we can look forward to in the future, helping the children begin to understand vocabulary that describe the concept of time (e.g., yesterday/today/tomorrow, weekend/weekday, before/after).

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You can see that reading and math instruction are not isolated disciplines. To see how the children understand these different disciplines of learning, teachers told the children that their work with the attendance stick was "math" and asked, "Why was that math?" These were the children's responses:
- You had to think.
- We used Unifix Cubes.
- The cubes are in order. (Order being a key math concept [sequence])
- There were letters (initials).
- On the [attendance stick] were numbers.

Their responses reflect not only what we traditionally expect of "math" learning, but also what we hope the children would realize about learning in general - You have to think. There is order involved when organizing your information. Reading, be it letters or numbers, gives you information.

This week, we also enjoyed learning about ʻelepaio from Dr. VanderWerf (GV's dad). The children later drew what they learned and/or wondered about ʻelepaio. Stay tuned for photos of Dr. VanderWerfʻs visit and the childrenʻs drawings.


** New Family Learning Activities are posted, but please feel free to go back to previously posted activities. These optional activities are provided 1) to inform families of classroom learning, 2) as an opportunity for students to reinforce learned concepts, and 3) as a means for families to share in their child's learning. As the children complete these activities, they may bring them in to the classroom at any time to share with the class. There is no due date, so families may complete the activities as they are able. **

Upcoming events:
Monday, 9/4 - Labor Day holiday, no school
Thursday, 9/7 - 5th grade buddies
Sunday, 9/10 - Welcome BBQ, 3-5 pm