Category Archives: Math

Kindergarten Math Skills Predict Future Success

Okay, so this is a language arts blog and I’m venturing into new territory here but I think I have something to say as someone who has taught Kindergarten, First, and Second grades sequentially.

Elona in Teachers at Risk posts about the results of a study in the Journal of Development Psychology which finds that success in kindergarten mathematics are the greatest predictor of future academic success.

Elona encourages parents to work with their students at home on math skills.

I’d like to elaborate on what would be helpful for parents and teachers to teach their children in terms of math in the elementary grades.

Very often teachers and parents teach students to count and then are satisfied that their students  know their numbers.  When a student recites the alphabet we know that they will still need explicit phonics instruction but when a child counts to ten we often accept their number concepts as complete.

Do teach your students to count but also help them to understand what the numbers mean.  For example, how about the number 3?  It’s  2 and 1 more.  It’s 2 less than 5.  It’s one more than 2.  It’s one less than 4.  You can teach this by placing 3 dots on a piece of paper and working with your child to notice these things.  Very few kindergarten students, in my experience, have such a deep knowledge of any of any of the numbers.  As adults we’ve developed these concepts already but children would benefit immensely from learning these number concepts early.  Imagine how it would help with learning addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc.

Emphasis should be on understanding number concepts and simple problem solving more so than on memorization.