Monday, April 12, 2010

Kindergarten Prep - How to Teach Kids their Address

Where do you live?  What's your address?

Stories like this one remind us of the importance of teaching our kids their address.  Most schools include "knowing your address" on kindergarteners' report cards. Yes, your little one will be tested on this!  This sounds like a parent's job.

So how do you teach someone who (most likely) can't read or write their address? First, make a reminder to hang on the wall near their bed.
You will need:
1) Brainstorm - is there anything in your address that makes it memorable?  A color? An object such as a flower or animal? anything that you could easily convey with a picture?
2) Start with the numbers:
-Fold a piece of construction paper in half.  Crease. (you want to end up with two 9"x6" rectangles)
-Using a black marker, draw a block number.  (You want the number to be almost as big as the 9"x6" rectangle.  It doesn't have to be perfect, just readable.)
-cut out number
-let child decorate number with washable markers
-repeat with the remaining numbers in your address.
NOTE:  use a different color for each number (eg. 3583 or 3393 or 2244)

3)Next do the street name or direction name:
-remember to incorporate anything from your brainstorming session (a picture can be added under or above the word or a specific color can be used to aid your child's memory. Keep it simple.)
-use a neutral color (like black or brown or gray)
-instead of each letter of the word, you'll write the whole word in block letters in the 9"x6" space. (feel free to use extra pages for really long words.  Again, make the letters fill up almost the entire space.  This will improve the appearance and reduce the need for great artistic ability. Mostly it just needs to be readable from 5-10 feet away.)
-cut out the words.
4) the city, state, zip (and phone number) can be added later.  By now your kid is tired of coloring and excited to see what will happen next.

5) Arrange the numbers and words so they make the correct address.
6) Point to each number and say it clearly.  Repeat with each word.
7) Hang the address in the child's room with tape or putty
-put it where the child will naturally see it while laying in bed at night
-encourage your child to say the numbers, letters, and words with you as you hang it.
8)Explain the address:
"Do you know what this is? This is where you live. The numbers come first.  The numbers tell people which house we live on.  The words tell people which road our house is on. When people want to come to our house, we tell them our address.  If we only tell them part of our address, they'll get lost.  They have to know the street name to find the road our house is on.  They have to know the numbers to know which house we live in."
9)Ask your child, "Where do you live?  What's your address?".  (Repeat the question often over the next many days.  Ask where mom lives, where dad lives, where little sister lives.)
-it's important to ask BOTH questions each time because you don't know how a policeman or helpful adult (or kindergarten teacher) will phrase the question if your child is lost.
10) Encourage your child to use the address on his bedroom wall as a 'cheat sheet' when asked where he lives.
11) Take your child outside and show him the numbers written on your house, curb, or mailbox.  Point out the numbers on different houses.  Ask if they are the same.  Ask, "Where do you live?  What's your address?" Walk down the street until you get to a street sign.  Show the name on the street sign and explain how the child's address tells people to find this road if they want to get to his house.

Stress the importance of knowing the whole address so you don't get confused or lost.

After a few days, add the rest of the mailing address to his bedroom wall a few words at a time. Sometimes, ask him to tell you where he lives when you tuck him in at night.

In addition to his address, your child needs to know:
-his full name
-his parents' first and last names
-his phone number.

1 comment:

Elana said...

This is a fantastic post!!! I just hope I can find it again when my kids are old enough, because this was so incredibly helpful. Thanks!

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