Hello all! When I was in the classroom, in the middle of the school year we’d do assessments on all of our students to determine what they had learned so far and what they still needed to work on. As a homeschooling mom I feel this is also best practice because you’re not wasting time teaching things your little already knows and can spend time focusing on what they still need to learn in order to be Kindergarten ready. For example, we’ve been working on the entire alphabet every day by practicing letter names and sounds, but if my little already knows half the letters, that’s not something we need to continue on a daily basis…instead we can focus in on the letters he still needs to learn, and just review the whole alphabet once or twice a week so it stays fresh in his memory.
Assessments are also a great way to track growth which can give everyone a bit of a morale boost when it feels like your little is taking forever to learn something. My little may not know all of his letters yet- which can feel frustrating because we’ve been working on them for 56 days- but he does know 10 of them, which is more than he knew before- and he can also count to 100 by 1’s, 5’s and 10’s which is amazing! Having that information on paper is something to celebrate as you go over what your little has achieved with them, and also discuss what they still need to work on mastering.
Below is the midyear assessment I chose to use, however there are several available online if you want one more or less in depth. I chose this assessment because it focuses on all of the major skills children need in order to be successful in Kindergarten such as number and letter recognition, letter sounds, counting skills, name writing skills, colors, shapes and so on. If the test doesn’t have something you’ve been working on that you’d still like to assess- just add it in! (For example, I added address, telephone number and skip counting since we’ve been practicing those each day during calendar time).
Here’s how I used the page to assess my little in each area:
Shape recognition: Point to each shape and ask your little to name it. Circle the ones they get correct.
Color recognition: Print some color flashcards, or cut them out from construction paper. Show your little each color and circle the ones they get correct.
Lowercase letter recognition: Write each lowercase letter on a flash card, shuffle them and show them to your little. Put the ones they get correct in one pile, and the ones they get incorrect in a separate pile. When you’re finished, circle the ones they got correct on the page.
Uppercase letter recognition: Same as above, only make cards with uppercase letters.
Letter sounds recognition: Show your little flashcards with each letter on them. Say the letter and have your little tell you the sound it makes. Put the ones they get correct in one pile, and the ones they get incorrect in a separate pile. When you’re finished, circle all the letter sounds they got correct on the page.
Number recognition: Show your little flashcards with each number on them (1-10) and have them tell you the number. Put the ones they get correct in one pile and the ones they get incorrect in another pile. When you’re finished, circle the correct numbers on the page.
Rote counts up to: Have your child count out loud. Write down the number before the first incorrect number they say (for example if they count 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 you would write 4 down).
Counts objects up to: Give your child a pile of small objects to count such as pom poms or blocks. Write down the number before the first incorrect number they count (same as above, only now they’re counting objects).
Sorts by color, shape, size: Give your child a pile of objects such as shells, rocks or buttons. Ask them to sort the objects by color then shape then size. Circle the ones they do correctly.
Can make AB patterns: Give your child some colorful blocks (or Unifix cubes). Ask them to make a pattern, or start a AB pattern for them and ask them to finish it or make their own. Check the correct box according to what they do.
The rest of them are pretty self explanatory I think! After you have your assessment data (aka what your little knows and what they still need to work on) you can start working with them on the skills they still need to master each day during calendar time. Here are some ideas we’ll be using that you can try along with us!
Number and letter recognition:
-Flashcards: My little is really into flashcards lately, so these can be a fun way to practice basic skills. Pull out the numbers and letters your little doesn’t know yet, then show each card to your little and have them either name the letter(s) or number. You can also use the ABC ones to work on letter sounds- just have them say the letter’s name and sound for each one. You can also do these with all the letters/numbers so they still get some correct, flashcards really don’t take too long to do, and it’ll be encouraging to them to get a few right!
-Puzzles: There are so many fun letter and number puzzles out there! Mine have the whole alphabet and numbers 1-20, but since we’re focusing on mastering skills they don’t already have, I’m going to pull out the numbers between 1 and 10 he doesn’t recognize as well as the letters he still needs to practice and have him work on just those.
-Wipe away books: We have a few Usborne wipe away books full of number and letter practice pages. You could focus on one letter and one number daily (or a each week) to practice writing in the book.
-Letter hunt: My friend Lee does this with her little and I thought it was a genius idea- when reading aloud to your little, choose a page and have them find whatever letter you’re working on that day on the page and count how many they can spot! Bonus that it practices counting too!
-Object/letter matching pages: My friend Lee also uses these with her little to build letter/sound skills- you can find a bunch for free on Teachers Pay Teachers, or you can purchase a practice pack and laminate them to use again with a dry erase marker for a fairly low price!
-Beginning sound collage: Have your little flip through old magazines and cut out pictures that start with your daily focus letter to make a collage (another great idea from my friend Lee- her little is killing it with letter/sound recognition, so I asked her for some ideas to help us practice- can you tell? hahaha)
-I spy game: Say “I spy with my little eye something beginning with ____ (insert beginning letter sound for whatever you spy…for example for a cat you’d say the C sound). Then have your little guess what you see. You can play this with colors too!
-Counting objects: Give your little a pile of small objects to count, or count things as they come up during the day (ie. Goldfish in your bowl, traffic cones on the street or cars driving by).
-Take turns counting: Start counting then have your little pick up where you left off then when they make a mistake pick up where they left off and so on.
These are just some extra ideas you can throw into your day or your calendar time to help build your little’s basic skills as needed. I hope you find the assessment and follow up activities helpful- happy middle of the school year everyone!
To make life easy, you can also grab one of these basic skills books on Amazon for about $7! It covers letters, letter sounds, numbers, shapes, colors, and pre-writing skills and has over 300 colorful pages! I plan to use it with my toddler and preschooler depending on what skills they’re currently working on (ie. My preschooler knows all his colors so I will use those pages with my toddler along with the pre-writing pages. My preschooler will do the pages on the alphabet, shapes, number recognition etc.)