The child who has a good understanding of abstract concepts and has a strong reasoning ability neds the challenge of activities that incorporate "higher level" thinking skills. Rather than simply asking children to recite or repeat what they have learned, ask them to compare and contrast, classify, summarize, hypothesise, or make assumptions.
Compare and Contrast: Ask your child what is the same or what is different about: the characters in a story; songs that he/she knows; seasons of the year; a butterfly and a bird; people she knows; holidays; and words.
Classify: Say to your child, "Let's find a way to group,"
your toys; your friends; your clothes; food; books; and your feelings.
Summarize: Separate relevant from irrelevant information. After watching a short TV show or reading a short story, such as, "What happened first? What happened in the middle? What happened in the end? Ask for a title to a story that your child has written or for a picture in a magazine. Help your child retell the most important events from a trip, a party, or any activity that had a variety of experiences.
Hypothesise: Ask your child, "what would happen if:
we put this toy block in this full glass of water?
we put a jar over this candle?
we put a spoonful of sugar into warm water?
we crack this egg into this frying pan?
we press this button on the television? or
how many tennis balls would fit into this shoe box?" This skill can be extended into the realm of fantasy and imagination,"What would happen if:
it snowed ice cream?
nobody ever needed to sleep?
you were ten feet tall? or
if people could fly?
Make Assumptions: Based on the information that we have, what else can you tell me about the situation?
Look at these pictures of people in uniforms. What jobs might they do? Look at these faces. What are these people feeling? What will happen next in this picture? What happened before?
Using Thinking Skills in Reading: Many of these strategies can be incorporated into your child's beginning reading experiences. Open-ended stories are an excellent way for children to learn to hypothesise and make predictions.
Labelling: A good way to introduce written words is to label common objects around the house or in your child's room. Using 3 by 5 index cards and a dark felt tip marker, print the name of each object (in lower case if your child can recognize these) about one inch high and tape each card to the object.
Language Experience Stories: Have your child make up a story about any subject (family, friend, pet, vacation, day at the zoo, etc.) and you write the story neatly on a large piece of paper as the child dictates it to you. Have your child draw pictures to illustrate. Then read the story back to your child and have the child look at the words. Tape the story and let the child follow the words on the paper as you listen together.
Making A Book: If your child enjoys the language experience stories, make a book of these special stories.
If Your Child is Advanced in Math: It is important to incorporate math activities into the everyday routine experiences. The more gamelike these activities can be, the more enjoyable they will be for your child.
— Excerpts from Gifted Child Today, January, 1983
Learning Partner Sheets For Parents
(Excellent activity sheets to use with children for preparing them for school.)
Get to School Safely!
Let's Do Art!
Let's Do Geography!
Let's Be Healthy!
Let's Do Math!*
Let's Do Science!*
Let's Get Ready for School!
Let's Succeed in School!
Let's Use the Library!* Also available in Spanish
Order Free Partner Sheets:
U. S. Department of Education
Office of Educational Research
National Library of Education
555 New Jersey Avenue, N. W.
Washington, D.C. 20208-5721
Call toll free: 1-800-USA-LEARN
An 11-book series for preschool and elementary grade school children that promotes an understanding of children with disabilities. Each book deals with a different disability and its limitations and has a universal appeal in areas of self-acceptance and overcoming obstacles. Available through Jason & Nordic Publishers at 814/696-2920.
The American Association For Gifted Children, Preschool Project
For more information about AAGC, contact Margaret Evans Gayle, Executive Director or call (919) 783-6152.
Write to us at:
American Association for Gifted Children at Duke University
Durham, North Carolina 27708-0270
Reprinted with the permission of the American Association for Gifted Children. © 1999 AAGC