Many of you have been reading my articles for some time, and know how much I stress teaching with the child in mind. But for those of you who are not familiar with my articles: Workbooks are OK for reinforcing what the student already knows, but they are not very effective in teaching new concepts to them. Forcing children to learn by inefficient methods is like trying to fit round pegs into square holes. It wastes much of your time and theirs.
The most successful methods are those that listen to the child, and adjust accordingly. Sequencing is one of the few reading comprehension elements I recommend teaching kindergarten students, and there are several easy and fun ways to do just that. Studies show young children learn best while at play. Using play to teach is so simple, and yet most effective. Here are but a few examples.
Begin by explaining to the child that sequencing means to put a story in the order that things happened. For example, you might say to them: “If I where to tell you to put the milk in the refrigerator, would you walk to the refrigerator before picking up the milk?” Ask them, “why not?” “So sequencing means to tell a story in the exact order that it all happened.”
I. Activity One (can be done with preschool children as well)
A. Take the child for a walk pointing out important markers as you go (example: a large tree, a stop sign, a green house, ext.). Have the child help you find the way back pointing out the markers in reverse order.
B. Once you return to your starting point, discuss with the child how important it is to notice markers in the proper order to protect us from getting lost.
C. Have them draw and color pictures of the land marks, and put them in sequential order.
D. One will likely have to repeat this a few times before the child actually develops the brain patterns to complete this task efficiently. However “hands on learners” (50% of the population) often surprise us by how quickly and accurately they master this activity.
II. Possible Extra Activity (note: For home school families this activity can be done in a co-op setting.)
A. After completing an activity such as a field trip or baking a cake, instruct each child to draw and color pictures of different parts of that event. It is important to tell each child what you want them to make their drawing about, and make sure you do not assign more than one child to draw that picture. Then have each of them come to the front of the room holding their pictures up, and telling what it is about. (You may have to remind younger ones). You will want to make sure the order is not in the proper sequence at this time. The reason becomes clear in the next step.
B. Now have the children put the pictures in sequential order. Discuss as the activity moves along. If they get it wrong, no problem…simply recap the story in the wrong order. Ask them what is wrong with what we see here, and how would they fix it? Example: “If we put the cake in the oven before adding the eggs, what would happen?” When they get any of these activities correct give lavish praises.
III. Activity Two (This one is especially good because it also teaches general reading comprehension)
A. Have the child (or children as the case may be) read an early reader book to you. As each page is read, have the child operate one puppet, and you the other as you reenact the story together.
B. In advance you will have made copies of each page whiting out all page numbers on those copies.
C. Next have the child put the page copies in their proper order. If they get it wrong, no problem…simply recap the story in the order the child presents, and ask them what is wrong with this story, and how they should rearrange the pages? At this point it is good, but not necessary they have everything in the same order as the book does…only that it is in a logical order.
D. Remind the child how important it was to remember the exact order the land marks happened in order to find their way back (activity I above). Be sure to praise all successes along with corrections. Teaching with the child in mind is fun and oh so easy.