Sight words


Another dreaded “subject” in kindergarten was sight words, I guess.

The third month of the academic year started out with three sight words and expanded to thirteen by the sixth month.  Thirteen sight words were not just for recognition, but also for making sentences with them.

Most parents in my daughter’s class were worried that this was going to be yet another exercise at home, apart from numbers.

Now that my daughter Santoshi and I have made considerable progress in numbers, sight words became my next target.

Though the usual way to reach sight words is to pin up or paste cards prominent places in the house, we took a different approach.

We took a maximum of three sight words at a time and tried to make simple sentences with the help of pictures (please forgive my poor drawing skills).


(Tree, flower, rectangle, triangle, boat, bee, dragonfly, birdhouse, rabbit)


(Butterfly, cat, dog, square, trapezoid, circle, car, cloud, bird, leaf, teddy bear, house)

This was the first set of worksheets that I made for her for making sentences with the sight words it, is and a.

We are working on the next set of sight words – on and the.  I will post those worksheets once we are done with them.


Underwater Slumber Party

The underwater school was organizing a slumber party for the preschoolers so that they get to know their classmates better.  Everyone was looking forward to it.

Rainbowfish was the first to arrive blowing bubbles as he inhaled and exhaled.  Next to reach the school were the crab twins, holding each other’s claws.  They were soon followed by Starfish. She attached herself to the nearest rock and watched rainbowfish and the crab twins play a game of tag.

As soon as Jellyfish came in, rainbowfish and the crabs quietly sat next to Starfish, just so that they don’t accidentally bump in to Jellyfish, though Jellyfish seemed nice and looked cute.  To entertain the rest, the crab twins started clacking their claws rhythmically to the tune of “Mary had a little lamb…” Seal just arrived clapping his flippers as the crabs finished the rhyme.

Shark entered the school along with Blue Whale, Eel  and Angler Fish. The next set to appear was Squid, Octopus and TurtlePufferfish was the last one to get in to the classroom.  Dolphin who was the teacher came in right after Pufferfish.

Dolphin greeted all the students by performing a series of dives.  Impressed by the performance, Blue Whale wanted to do something in front of the class.  She used her blowhole to make a splash of water.  Dolphin asked the class if anyone else wanted to ‘perform’ or talk about themselves.

Rainbowfish came forward and showed off his beautiful, vivid scales.  Seal tried a balance ball on his nose.  Shark showed his big, sharp teeth.  Eel swam forward and then backwards!  Turtle let everyone feel her hard shell.

Squid squirted some ink and it took some time for the big blob to disappear.  Pufferfish swallowed a lot of water and became a ball-shaped covered with spikes.

Angler Fish requested Dolphin to shut the doors and windows and turn the lights off for his trick.  Once it was all dark, there was light from his fin!  Everyone was thrilled!

Starfish told  everyone that when she does not want her mom to find her, she attaches herself to the fridge door and mom usually mistakes her to a fridge magnet.  Jellyfish was quite shy, so Dolphin just let her be.  But suddenly, Octopus was missing!  The green chair in which he was sitting was empty. Then, he changed his colour from green back to his own colour and became visible to all.

They played a few games and then had a snack.  Everyone had found a best friend among their classmates.  With that, Dolphin told them that it was time to sleep.  Soon, they were asleep.

The end.



Bad Boys and Donuts


When I met my daughter Santoshi’s teacher at her school, I was told to spend more time with her and go over the number concepts.  I was more than upset and was determined to teach numbers to her.

I got her to write numbers from 1 to 20 and she did it in no time and without any trouble.  So, the next step was recognition of numbers – at random.  We took a sheet from an old calendar and the idea was that I would call the numbers out and she would point to them in the calendar.  While 1 to 10 were easy peasy, 11 to 20 were a disaster.  She was getting confused between 11 and 12; between 15 and 25; between 13 and 30 and so on.

I tried teaching her that some numbers are two-word numbers, such as twenty-five, thirty-one, twenty-three… but my lack of patience and her being upset about my lack of patience brought our ‘session’ to an end with me angry and her scared.  My husband enlightened me that my strategy was clearly not working and that the session not only achieved nothing in terms of learning/ teaching numbers but made my daughter more miserable and my relationship with her chafed.  He made me realise that I needed to spend time with her on a daily basis and give it at least a week to ten days to see any favourable results.

Change of strategy:  After looking up in the internet for some ideas, I put up a small note on the side of our refrigerator a set of six numbers – they were 12, 20, 8, 1, 14 and 12 (again).  These are the birthdays in our family.   The first 12 is Santoshi’s, the last one is our little one’s.  Santoshi saw me write these numbers in a piece of paper and when I was done, she asked me what it was.  I told her that I was putting up a small chart showing birthdays of all in the family.  She was delighted to see her birthday coming up first.  I also told her that twelve was her magic number.  This primarily resolved the confusion between eleven and twelve.

The next few days went on without any rigourous session on numbers, but just occasionally glancing at the chart and asking her what her magic number was.

I couldn’t wait to restart.  But this time, I just revised numbers from 1 to 10 on the first day and 11 to 20 on the next.  I gave her worksheets to practice writing the numbers, hoping that familiarity would soon help in recognition.  Then, we tried counting up in tens from 10 to 100.  I tried to teach her that ‘ty’ numbers ended with zero and teen numbers started with one.  That became yet another failed strategy.

So, back to revising basic concepts.  I made a number chart for her, keeping in mind her strengths.  She was very good at identifying patterns.  So, I took a print of this:

Numbers 1 to 50

I showed only the first column (1 to 10) to her and asked her to read the numbers out.  She was able to read them.  Next, I folded the sheet of paper and showed only the second part of column two (numbers 1 to 9 and 0).  She was puzzled, but still she read them out.  I asked her what would happen it I put a ‘1’ in front of each of the numbers.  She thought for a while.  I showed the entire column two.  She was thrilled to read them out.  I repeated the same with column three – half and then full.  I could see from her face that she was enjoying the process (unlike the previous n times).  When we were finished with the third column (21 to 30), she told me, “Next set is 31, 32, …”.  It was at this point of time that I started enjoying the process too.  We finished all the way to 50.

After 50, the progression was only in 10’s.  She was quite upset that we weren’t doing each and every number after 50.   Though I was tempted to make her write in the empty squares after 50, I knew it would not help much.  So, we did the missing numbers game.  I showed this sheet to her:

Missing Numbers

I told her that some numbers were missing and that she had to point out where each one was.  She could point at most of the numbers correctly.  Both of us had a sense of achievement and decided to stop the activity for the day.

The next day, I was asking her to write the numbers that I was calling out.  That’s when I noticed that after writing zero, she put a dot in the centre which made it somehow look like a donut.  I thought that might help her learn the numbers in a fun way.  I told her that 20, 30, 40, … were donut numbers.  She started laughing uncontrollably and then asked me, “Why are they donut numbers?”  I told her, “That’s because they carry a donut”, and pointed to the trailing zeros.  She liked the idea!

Now, I had to think of something for 11 to 20 which did not fit the pattern.  We went back to the sheet of 1 to 50 and made her read the numbers in this order “21, 31, 41, 51, …”, “22, 32, 42, 52, …” and so on.  She soon figured out the logic behind the numbering pattern.  Then I told her that the numbers 11 to 20 didn’t follow the pattern rules and that they were “bad boys”.  She was startled.  “Even 12, my secret, magic number?  Is that also a bad boy?”  Since 12 is her birthday, we made an exception and told her that “12 alone is a good girl because that is your secret, magic number; but the other numbers in the series are bad boys”.  She was happy again.

We do revise numbers on a daily basis now.  I will ask her to write the numbers that I call out and then the next activity would be to read the numbers that I write down.  Then, for fun, she will call some numbers out and I will have to write them down.  Somehow, thankfully, we found a way to learn numbers.

Our next target is sight words.  We will keep you posted on how we get our way with sight words.




Number Worksheets


My daughter is learning numbers in kindergarten.  Though she can count up to 100, she had (may be, still has?) trouble in recognising numbers beyond 10.  So I started making worksheets for her. We also recently started playing number games.  I am uploading the worksheets here.  They may be useful for your kids too!  Do post a comment on whether (or not) it worked with your kids.  Thanks!

1 to 50


Missing numbers