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First Steps

Knowing letter names is strongly related to children's ability to remember the forms of written words and their ability to treat words as sequences of letters.

Not knowing letter names is related to children's difficulty in learning letter sounds and in recognizing words.

Children cannot understand and apply the alphabetic principle (understanding that there are systematic and predictable relationships between written letters and spoken sounds)until they can recognize and name a number of letters.

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3 is a pretty good age to teach numbers.

Your child should be able to count up to 20 and identify numbers 1-10 before kindergarten.

If you do lots of fun activities involving numbers, they should easily be able to do both of those things by kindergarten.

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2 years old is a great age for teaching shapes.

Start by identifying the shapes you see in the world around you. Your child should have a basic understanding of shapes by 2 ½ years old and should be able to identify many shapes by the time he is 3.

Start by teaching the basic shapes (square, circle, rectangle, triangle), then continue to more advanced shapes (oval, star, heart, diamond).

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18 months is the generally accepted age for teaching colors.

Some kids learn their colors sooner and some learn them later. You should always be reviewing colors with your child though, all the way up to kindergarten.

Also, be sure to use the color words both before and after the noun (this is a blue pen, this pen is blue). It is important to use the color word both ways so your child can better understand the concept of color.

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