Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Reading Skills - Phonics

When I mentioned the The Reading Skills Pyramid in a previous newsletter, it generated alot of reaction and curiosity from you. Some controversy too.

To recap, learning to read is an exciting time for children and their families. While thrilled by their children's emerging literacy skills, many parents are surprised to learn that reading is not automatic and that, regardless of family background, many children require support in learning to read.

The Reading Skills Pyramid illustrates the five key areas in becoming a proficient reader: phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency. Todays' newsletter focuses on the skills involved in word decoding: print concepts, phonemic awareness, and phonics.

Creating readers starts in a language-rich environment in which books and reading are a daily habbit. Even during the infant and preschool years, children should be addressed with a rich vocabulary. Story telling and reading from books develops interest, vocabulary, and print concepts. Important print concepts are that each book has a name and author (and where they are listed) and that books are read from front to back, left to right, and top to bottom.

An important early skill is phonemic awareness*. Children become aware that words are made up of sounds which can be assembled in different ways to make different words. Children build these pre-reading skills by practicing nursery rhymes and playing sound and word games such as learning to hear and recognize rhymed words.

Phonics is the understanding of how letters combine to make sounds and words. Teaching phonics starts with a knowledge of the alphabet. Children then generally learn the sounds of each letter usually by associating it with the word that starts with that sound. Phonics skills grow as students distinguish between vowels and consonants and understand letter combinations such as blends and digraphs.

Tutoring, workbooks, games, or kids learning software can help teach or reinforce these skills. Parents help in this process by providing high-quality educational materials, establishing a pattern of daily reading, creating a rich language environment, discussing a child's progress with teachers, and following up on their recommendations.

Literature: Some of the best literature on the process of learning to read is available from the National Institute for Literacy. I recommend the series, "A Child Becomes a Reader: Proven Ideas for Parents from Research -- Kindergarten through Grade Three,".

Time4Learning's online language arts program builds these foundation prereading adn reading skills for children. Try it today. If you don't see progress, cancel within the first 14 days for a full refund.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Build Reading Skills

As a parent of two children, I recall fondly their first successes at reading. I could not have been prouder. Yet successfully learning to read is not something to take for granted. Learning to read effectively is the culmination of a lot of small steps that children take, some long before they are ready to read, others in the years after first learning to decode words.Learning to read successfully means not only being able to decode words but being able to comprehend, to read fluently, and to enjoy reading. It's a common thought, although it's not true, that learning to read is a natural or trouble-free process.

In reality many children, from all backgrounds, need supplementary help in mastering the reading skills. To help parents understand the skills required to become a reader, Time4Learning has created the Reading Skills Pyramid. It helps parents understand the key skills for reading and the typical ages for acquiring them. I will discuss this more in a future newsletter.

Recommended Website : The Literacy Center provides quality introduction to letters, colors, shapes, numerals, and quantity. Plus, it has the same materials in French, Spanish, and German.

Time4Learning Service:. Give your children every chance to succeed. And some fun, too! Children learn language arts and math skills. If you don't see your children learning and progressing, cancel within the first 14 days and get all your money back.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Fun & Learning

Parental Involvement in Software & Education - Time4Learning's knows that parents want more useful information about the children, their activities, and their interests. Time4Learning also knows that today's parents are busy and need simple problem-solving easy-to-use products. Sure, Internet Explorer has parental control technology built in, has anyone anywhere ever figured out how to use it? Time4Learning provides parents an easy way to decide how much time should be spent in pure learning activities and how much time in the playground. Time4Learning provides useful and interesting reports for parents on their children's activities. Time4Learning also provides useful summaries of basic educational information such as the Time4Learning Reading Skills Pyramid.

Educational Use of Technology - Technology for educational enrichment is particularly effective in the young years. At first, mastering the mouse skills and the interface are the challenges. From there, children move to following directions, basic recognition of shapes, colors, letters, and numerals. These skills and the others need reinforcement and development from as many learning modalities as possible. Manipulatives, verbal, visual, and interactive all can contribute to children's mastery of the skills. The computer is endlessly patient and always available. Equipped with the right software, it can provide ongoing assessment and stimulating activities to help the children move forward. Yet, to be useful, it needed software that structures elementary learning activities in an appropriate scope and sequence and which provided a motivating structure for learning and games.

Fun & Learning Games - Time4Learning's Playground is mix of educational materials, edutainment, and "casual" games. They are designed to be fun but not all-consuming. The goal is entertainment, not addiction. One of the most popular parts of the entire Time4Learning service is the Two Player games. These games are for two people to play together at the same computer. Time4Learning is also meant to be fun for the parents. fun in that its Ed Mouse who tells the kids that they've been on the computer long enough, not the parent who has to stand watch with a timer.

The founder and president is John Edelson.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Web Safety & Endless Games

Reasons 2 & 3 for the creation of Time4Learning

Online Web Safety - Kids should be able to use the best web sites and have some freedom to explore. But leaving children under ten unsupervised on the net is not a good idea. Time4Learning provides a safe "white list" and interface to the best children's sites. They get ample room to explore but within a safe playground.

Endless Supply of Edutainment & Game Software -"Buying kid's software turned out to be expensive and frustrating. At one point, as my kids clamored for more software, I counted 20 disks that we had bought over the last few months. It turns out that five were "too hard" and another five were "too babyish". Young children develop so rapidly that buying software that hits their personal level at the right time is difficult, particularly with educational skill oriented games. Another five CDs were just junk. This left five programs out of twenty which were worth the $14.95 or $19.95 that I spent on them. In fact, one program installed unwanted programs on my computer but that's another story. Once I found Time4Learning, I stopped buying disks. The children and my wallet ended up way ahead". A Time4Learning parent.

The great teaching games from Time4Learning - I highly recommend them.

John Edelson

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Children Going Back-To-School Increasingly Login to Educational Teaching Games

Children Going Back-To-School Increasingly Login to Educational Teaching Games
Thu Aug 25, 8:00 AM ET

(PRWEB) - (PRWEB) August 25, 2005 -- Parents have struggled for years with different approaches to helping their children keep up in reading and math. The computer and internet have become valuable tools for parents. Online learning can help children excel at these core subjects since today's online educational teaching games and learning software blur the distinction between games and lessons., an online learning center, offers tips for selecting and using educational teaching games in reading and math for children from preschool to fifth grade.

How can online learn to read programs help children?

Preschool online games for reading offer preschoolers a chance to develop phonological awareness, master phonics, and start to develop their own interactive stories and writing skills. As kids grow, so should their reading comprehension and grammar skills. Online elementary games offer kids an opportunity to explore language arts while having fun.

How can kids math games help ensure success?
Many kids feel that they "can't do math" and shy away from practicing math problems. For children with weak basic math skills, the subject is difficult and confusing. Many parents hear from their children that math problems are boring, not important or not cool. Kids math games can help children develop a solid math foundation and make math "fun."

What types of educational teaching games are available?
- Learning Games on CDs - These can be bought in most stores.
- These games are a lot of fun with some educational components included.
- The downside is that most "learning games" tend to be more game than lesson. An upside is that CDs work even when there's no net access.

- Free Educational Game Sites - There are a lot of websites with "learning and games". But, these sites can be very commercial. Some even invite children to download games which contain spyware and viruses. These sites are similar to CDs in that they tilt towards games with limited educational substance.

- Free Learning Sites - Free learning sites range from those that provide worksheets to those with interactive exercises. But, it is left to the parent to provide continuity, determine progress, and to assemble an over-all program.

- - This subscription service teaches children math and reading skills systematically. Time4Learning tracks the children's activities and provides them with an effective sequence. Time4Learning also has reports for parents and games for kids included in the $19.95 monthly fee. Learn More or Sign Up Now .

Computer-based learning blurs the line between learning and games. Educational fun games for kids reinforce lessons and can teach new reading and math skills. Sometimes kids learn better using interactive educational teaching games, because there's more concentration and more fun.

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About is a new approach that takes advantage of today's technology through learn to read programs and kids math games. Its educational teaching games for children allows children to work at their own pace, so they feel stimulated and independent. Parents like that it tracks progress and helps children advance by teaching with individualized learning paths. Kids feel like they are playing games and don't realize at first that it's primarily educational. The teaching games assure coverage of the reading and math skills and concepts that help children succeed. Time4Learning is proven effective, has a low monthly price, and provides a money-back guarantee so you can make sure that it works for your children, risk free! Take a tour of Time4Learning's educational teaching games now .
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Technology & Kids Education

Time4Learning was founded by parents focused on two important day-to-day questions:

How to support their younger children with their computer use
How technology might provide effective progressive educational enrichment?

Time4Learning was created to provide solutions to these questions. The Time4Learning service provides a unique and valuable contribution to parenting in an electronic age by addressing six related areas:

Comprehensive Educational Enrichment - Time4Learning's LessonTime is made up of thousands of learning activities, lessons, and assessments which provide a comprehensive enrichment program for prekindergarten to third grade. Children are provided an ongoing sequence of lessons which provides a much more valuable educational experience than the isolated lessons that store-bought disks provide.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Math: Arithmetic Is Only One of Five Maths Strands

In a previous article, we stressed that a strong math foundation is deep: single digit arithmetic is based on the accumulation of basic skills.

This articles emphasizes that it is also broad, containing five math strands.*

Number Sense and Operations - Representing numbers, recognizing ‘how many’ are in a group, and using numbers to compare and represent paves the way for grasping number theory, place value and the meaning of operations and how they relate to one another.
Algebra - The ability to sort and order objects or numbers and recognizing and building on simple patterns are examples of ways children begin to experience algebra, preparing children to work with algebraic variables as their math experience grows.
Geometry and Spatial Sense - Using knowledge of basic shapes to identify more complex 2-D and 3-D shapes by drawing and sorting, children then learn to reason spatially, read maps, visualize objects in space, and use geometric modelling to solve problems using coordinate geometry to describe spatial relationships.
Measurement - Learning how to measure and compare involves concepts of length, weight, temperature, capacity and money. Telling the time and using money links to an understanding of the number system and represents an important life skill.
Data Analysis and Probability - As children collect information about the world around them, they will want to display and represent their knowledge. Using charts, tables, graphs will help them learn to share and organize data.

Math lessons and activities that cover just one or two of these five strands are narrow and lead to a weak understanding of math. Visit Time4Learning to find out how to help your child build a strong, broad elementary math foundation .

* There are many different ways of identifying math strands or areas.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Learning Styles

Learning styles are useful for parents trying to understand their children's academic challenges and how to help them deal with them. To provide a simple example: trying to explain something verbally when your child would understand a picture better can be frustrating for both of you! Experts have identified three basic learning styles:
Auditory learners remember by talking out loud. They like to have things explained orally and may have trouble with written instructions. Auditory learners may talk to themselves when learning something new.
Visual learners easily remember visual details and prefer to see what they are learning. They prefer to write down instructions and may have trouble following lectures or instructions given verbally.
Kinesthetic or tactile learners prefer activities and want to actually do what they are learning about. Tactile learners like to touch things in order to learn about them and like to move around when talking or listening.Identifying your child's preferred style will help you to provide more useful learning support. Parents are often surprised to find that their child's learning style may be different from their own or from their siblings. Be aware that the three broad categories described above are only the tip of the iceberg of individual variation in learning strengths and weaknesses. There are a vast possibility of combinations which include different types of intelligences, "different wiring", different levels of motivation, differences in abilities to pay attention, remember, focus etc. For instance, I know one brilliant child who for some reason, cannot keep track of more than three instructions given to her verbally. She has learned to compensate by note taking. More on learning styles.

Make sure your child has the opportunity to use all three learning styles. And while all three styles need to be developed, rely on your child's preferred learning style for the more difficult lessons. Reinforce lessons using multiple learning styles, particularly for younger children .

Help your child improve their learning skills in the learning styles where they are less comfortable. In some cases, this requires helping them understand their own abilities including teaching them techniques for compensating. In some cases, it means putting them in situations where they feel free to experiment. Computers can put children at ease because they are non-judgemental: a computer doesn't register emotion when children make mistakes. This allows children the freedom to try new things and practice difficult subjects in a safe and private way.

Computers Engage Many Learning Styles. Look at the Time4Learning learning activities to see how the activities rely on audio, graphics, text, and interactivity to engage all three main learning styles to build skills and understanding.