## Friday, December 28, 2012

### Venn Diagrams for Little Kids

Classification of data is a critical skill for life, and even infants and toddlers naturally organize things in the world around them.  You don't have to wait until the upper elementary years to introduce Venn Diagrams - it's a concept that even Preschoolers can understand.  Here's how I introduced Venn Diagrams to my 3-year-olds..

L and E have been doing sorting activities since they were 1 1/2 years old (even Baby H can successfully sort by color and shape at 15 months old).  A couple weeks ago, I brought out two pieces of colored rope and asked the girls to form them into circles.  Then we sorted their plastic animals by various characteristics (fir example, in the picture above, we put animals that have four legs in one circle, and ones that have two legs in the other circle).  I invited the kids to make up their own classification criteria..

(spots vs. stripes)

After doing this for a bit, I made up some categories that were not mutually exclusive.  After sorting some animals, I handed one of the girls an animal that could fit into both categories.  Now we had a dilemma.  I made a big dramatic production of it ("oh, no, what should we do?  How can it go into both circles?"). After letting the girls think it over for a bit I came up with a solution - crossing the circles so animals can fit in the intersection if they belong in both circles.

(white animals vs. birds, with white birds in the middle)

(brown animals vs. black animals, with animals that are both colors in the middle)

Over the next couple days, we repeated this activity, but with different manipulatives.  Initially, I always started with two separate circles and then presented the dilemma of an object that fits into both categories.  Soon the girls solved the problem themselves by intersecting the circles..

(round snacks in the green circle, salty snacks in the yellow circle)

(letters with straight lines, curved lines, or both)

After a couple rounds of the Venn Diagram game, the girls started to immediately cross the circles when they made them.  Then the challenge was to figure out the categories on their own from a set of objects.  They're still working on this type of problem, but it's wonderful to see their logical reasoning skills in action..

(red shapes, circles, red circle in intersection)

(mustaches vs. yellow shirts)

I used all sorts of objects from various games, items around the house, snacks, etc.. for these exercises so it would feel like a new game each time we played.  The kids caught on quickly, and I think they'll soon be ready to continue with more Boolean logic (AND / OR / NOT ) and predicate logic (ALL, SOME, NONE) activities that build on these Venn Diagrams.  Stay tuned...

UPDATE: I was so inspired by how much my kids enjoyed early math "games" that I created the La La Logic Critical Thinking Curriculum for 3-6 year olds, which includes online brain challenge games, printable worksheets, enrichment activities and more!

Check out all the wonderful linky parties I participate in on the sideback (right hand side).

1. What a great idea!

There are many different methods and opinions on how to teach a child to read - while all are well-intentioned, some methods could actually lead to reading difficulties in children. Learning to read is a critical step towards future academic success and later on success in life. If you cannot read, you cannot succeed. There is an amazingly simple method - actually, a combination of two methods - that can teach anyone to read, even children as young as 2 and 3 years old.

The combination of these two methods has been used in the Children Learning Reading program to successfully teach thousands of young children to read. So what are these methods?

It is the combination of synthetic phonics and phonemic awareness. Most have probably heard of phonics, but phonemic awareness is a concept less well known and ?it's not something you hear about often. Certainly, phonics is absolutely necessary to develop fluent reading skills; however, there are different types of phonics including embedded, analogy, analytical, and synthetic phonics. While using some type of phonics is better than not including any phonics instructions at all, you will achieve FAR BETTER results by employing synthetic phonics, which is by far the most easy and effective method for teaching reading. Multiple studies support this.

In a 7 year study conducted by the Scottish Education Department, 300 students were taught using either analytic phonics or synthetic phonics. The results found that the synthetic phonics group were reading 7 months ahead and spelling 8 to 9 months ahead of the other phonics groups. At the end of the 7 year study, the children were reading 3.5 years ahead of their chronological age.

Very impressive!

Through their amazing reading program, the creators (Jim & Elena - parents of 4 children and reading teachers) have taught all of their children to read phonetically by 3 years old and have helped thousands of parents to successfully teach their children to read as well! Some are small 2 or 3 year old toddlers, others are young 4 or 5 year old preschoolers, and still others at ages 6, 7, 8 or even older.

>> Click here to watch amazing videos of young children reading, and see the amazing results so many parents are achieving with their children.

The Children Learning Reading program works so well that many children will achieve reading ages far ahead of their chronological age.

Take Jim & Elena's children as an example: their oldest child, Raine, was reading phonetically at 2 years 11 months old, and by the time she entered kindergarten at 5 years old, she was reading at a grade 5 level with a reading age of 11.9 years - almost 7 years ahead of her chronological age. Their second child, Ethan, learned to read phonetically by 2 years 9 months, and at age 3, he was reading at a grade 2 level with a reading age of 7.2 years - progressing at a similarly quick pace as his older sister. Find that hard to believe? You can watch the videos posted here.

There are many different phonics programs out there, but rarely do you ever hear a mention of phonemic awareness (PA), and PA is absolutely an equally critical component to developing reading skills in children. What makes the Children Learning Reading program so unique and amazingly effective at teaching young children is that it seamlessly combines the teaching of synthetic phonics along with phonemic awareness to enable children to develop superb reading skills.