In just a little over a week, my three girls will be returning to school and I to work. Teen B will begin 10th grade, Little B starts 2nd grade and my youngest, Little H, will start Kindergarten. Knowing this, I have started preparing for the new yet old routine like we do every year.
We shopped for new clothes and shoes.
We bought school supplies, new backpacks and lunch boxes.
And we’ve begun getting to bed earlier in preparation for the early mornings that are just around the corner.
This year, I’ve added to our “get back to school routine” with something a little different and we’ve already put it into place.
Usually, our bedtime routine consists of reading a book, saying our prayers and then “lights out”. We usually begin this routine about 15 minutes before we turned the lights off for the night.
What’s new now?
I created what the girls have named, a Learning Box.
Each of the girls has one of these boxes in their bedroom and is filled with tools to help meet their current academic needs.
This is Little H’s box.
It is filled with (pre) beginners leveled readers, sight word flashcards, number flashcards 1-20, a number wheel and a white board and marker.
Every night, 30 minutes before bed, we do 1-2 activities from their box. They choose the first activity and I choose the second activity.
A few possibilities include:
1. We read a leveled reader.
We point to words we know. Sometimes I read and Little H repeats after me. We look at pictures and make observations.
2. We play a sight word game.
I place 5 word cards on the bed face up and ask Little H to point to the word a, is, it, me, or go.
3. We play the same game using number cards.
I lay out a few cards and ask her to point to certain numbers. “What number is this?” “Can you point to number 5?”
4. Using the mini whiteboard, we practice printing our letters and numbers.
I ask her to print a letter/number, she does and then shows me. She loves doing this!
5. Using Word Family flashcards, we play a matching game.
I lay out words for two different word families ( i.e. “at” & “ox” word endings) and ask Little H to sort them into two piles according to the word endings. In doing this, she learns to look for patterns in words. This is key in the learning to read process.
So far, the learning box has been a huge success in our house. Little H wants nothing more than to become a good reader like her big sister Little B and will go above and beyond to get there.
What I love most about implementing the learning box is that it allows me to spend time with each child (daddy too) and it helps me to identify the areas of their learning that require extra support. The girls; however, think we’re just having fun playing games and “getting smarter”. Everyone wins!
Do you have a particular bedtime routine you and your kids enjoy?