Let’s Learn Letters 2! – More Handwriting Worksheets for Preschoolers with (or without) Down Syndrome

As I mentioned in my last post on Handwriting Skills for Preschoolers, here is another set of handwriting sheets. These are meant to be used once your child is proficient with the first set of Let’s Learn Letters and is ready for narrower (but not too narrow!) lines to trace.

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Handwriting Skills for Preschoolers with (or without) Down Syndrome

This past fall, Junior and I really began working on early handwriting skills in a consistent and systematic manner. It’s been fun to watch his progress. Not only are his hands getting stronger, he is also developing better dexterity. Little by little. So today I’m sharing with you some of our favorite resources and methods for building handwriting skills.

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Building Phonemic Awareness: Three Free Books about Rhyming

Teaching children about rhyming is one of the first steps in building phonemic awareness and preparing them to read phonetically. It’s one of the reasons why so many books for preschoolers use rhymes.

To help Junior learn about rhyming, I made three silly books about rhyming. They’re silly because Junior gets a kick out of anything silly. When I read the first book to him, he giggled so much I just had to make more.

Of course, I thought your preschoolers might enjoy them, too. So here they are:

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Teaching Children with Down Syndrome to Read with See and Learn: Ten More Free Books!

For those of you using DSE’s See and Learn Reading Program, here are ten more free books. These books are meant to go with See and Learn Sentences 1. Each book reinforces new words and reviews old ones. New books keep my little guy highly motivated, which I why I keep making them 🙂

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Adapted Books for Children with Down Syndrome

In past posts, I have shared some of our homemade books to supplement DSE’s See and Learn Reading Program. Sometimes, however, kids like to read from “real” books. Adapting real books is a great way to motivate them to read. Natalie Hale, author of Whole Child Reading gives some excellent guidelines for adapting books. My nephew Aidan, for example, LOVES the movie Cars. So my sister and I adapted several Cars books for him, which he was so excited to read.

Today I’m sharing some adapted books which your kids may find highly motivating:

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Let’s Learn Shapes! More Montessori-Inspired Worksheets for Preschoolers with (and without) Down Syndrome

As I wrote in my last post, attributes such as colors and shapes, are abstract concepts that can be difficult for children with T21 to understand. But the Montessori method of matching, selecting, and naming really helps children understand attributes and generalize them to real-life objects.

Here are some worksheets I made for Junior to help him learn and understand shapes:

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Let’s Learn Colors! Montessori-inspired worksheets for Preschoolers with (or without) Down Syndrome

Teaching preschoolers with T21 about colors can be challenging. Many of these kids have difficulty generalizing. It’s one thing for them to understand that a banana is a banana. But abstract concepts such as colors are harder to grasp. A banana is yellow and a lemon is yellow? It takes time for kids to understand that a color is an attribute and not an object of itself.

However, the Montessori method of matching, selecting, and naming is really effective at helping children to generalize. Developing the skills of matching, selecting, naming, and reading has really opened the door of learning for Junior. So nerdy mom here has made these worksheets to help Junior learn his colors, generalize them to real objects, and read the written words :

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Nativity and Christmas Picture and Word Cards

Just over a year ago, Junior began learning to read sight words using DSE’s See and Learn Reading program. We have been amazed at how quickly he learned to read, and since then he has completed all three of the See and Learn Phrases kits and the See and Learn Sentences kit (which is huge!). Now there are no more See and Learn Kits for him to use, but I don’t want to slow down his momentum. We have since moved onto phonics. However, the process of matching, selecting, and reading sight words is such a powerful learning tool for him that I want to keep using it in addition to learning phonics.

So I am making my own picture and word cards, See and Learn style. It’s a lot of work, but definitely worth the effort, especially when I see how quickly and eagerly Junior learns new words. Here are two sets I am sharing with you today: A Nativity Set and a Christmas Vocabulary Set.

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Numicon-Based Math Activities for Preschoolers with (or without) Down Syndrome

Last spring, I read more research by Sue Buckley, Joanna Nye, and colleagues about educating young children with Down Syndrome; this time it was about teaching math. They ran a study in the early 2000s assessing the effectiveness of the Numicon System in helping young children with T21 develop basic number skills.

Their findings were promising:

The key benefits of using Numicon for children with Down syndrome in the classroom are:
• The materials and methods clearly support the development of early number concepts, and in particular the ability to calculate – for some children, using Numicon enabled them to develop these skills for the first time
• It enables teaching staff to ‘see’ what the child is thinking, which is important for identifying both successes and confusions in the child’s understanding
• It can be used to support everyday number skills such as time and money
• It is especially beneficial to children who use a visual and/or multi-sensory approach to learning
• Children are motivated to engage with the materials as they are so attractive, and they develop confidence in maths work as they can succeed with the materials
• The clear structure of the teaching system is useful for teaching staff looking for a way to differentiate the numeracy curriculum.
The benefit of using the Numicon approach was seen most clearly at the stage when the children were learning to manipulate numbers – to add, subtract and multiply.

Teaching Number Skills to children with Down Syndrome using the Numicon Foundation Kit

Of course, I had to go purchase the kit and play math with Junior. And being very pleased with Junior’s progress, I shared the 50-page study with my sister. As many of you know, she also has a young son with special needs. Quickly she emailed me back: TLTR. (Too Long to Read) Can you write up a dummies version?

Of course I can. So this post is for my sister and all other super busy moms who want to know how to teach basic number skills to young kids with or without T21.

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Teaching Children with Down Syndrome to Read with See and Learn: More Free Resources

As many of you know, I’ve been teaching Junior to read using Down Syndrome Education’s See and Learn series. Teaching Junior to read has been one of the most gratifying experiences in all my years of homeschooling because he is so eager to learn. One of the things that keeps him motivated is getting to read new books. Every time I bring home a big bag of new books from the library it’s like Christmas… he’s that excited. Then Junior sits on the floor and digs into the bag, happily flipping through each of the books and lining them up neatly as he finishes each one.

To keep him motivated and to give him continual review of previously learned words, I make him books using the words he has learned from See and Learn and from the Faith and Freedom Primer.

A few posts ago, I shared some books I made to go with See and Learn Phrases 1 and 2. Here are ten free books to supplement See and Learn Phrases 2 and 3.

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