Skill Training in School: Reading and Math
Reading Skill Training:
My son, Bryant, is 6-years-old. Each night, he reads a book to either his mother or myself and sometimes, even to his little brother, Tyson. Typically, his books rely on similar letter combinations to help ingrain certain word patterns and sounds. A common sentence would be: “A dog and a frog are on a log.”
Clearly, the book is trying to get Bryant to practice reading, understanding, and making the sound ‘og’ makes. As time goes on, the books get harder and pair sounds together. “Ben has a hen and a dog and a frog”. In that sentence, the ‘en’ sounds were paired with ‘og’ sounds to help Bryant see and hear the difference.
This is simple deliberate practice of a simple skill set over and over. He's yet to bring home War and Peace (a 1,225-page novel published in 1869) to be read with strobe glasses on and weights on his hands to make turning the pages harder...but hey, it is just the first week.
Math Skill Training
Math is taught in a similar way. Currently, Bryant is working on adding and subtracting numbers. The class goes over how adding and subtracting works with M&M’s because the students understand physical differences as opposed to abstract numerical differences faster. Seeing 5 M&M’s become 3 M&M’s because you ate 2 is a simple way to work on subtraction.
Understanding the number 5 minus 3 equals 2 on a paper can be hard for some kids in the class at this age. Another way they are working on math is counting by 1’s, 2’s and 3’s. Counting to 9 by threes is 3,6, 9. Counting backward by 2’s to 0 from 10 is 10,22.214.171.124.0. These are strategies the school is using to teach abstract math as opposed to physical math.
Both are practiced deliberately, both are repeated over and over. Again, he hasn’t been required to use a short pencil, then a long pencil, and then pencils with different lead hardnesses for writing proprioception. I think that’s in week 2!