Preschool ABC Series
This series of six 64-page workbooks gives preschoolers something constructive to do while their older siblings are doing their schoolwork. These simple, inexpensive workbooks are chock-full of activities that provide practice in coloring, cutting, pasting, drawing lines and circles, learning colors, numbers, and shapes, opposites, recognizing letters and sounds, writing, thinking skills and following directions. The accompanying 135-page Bible storybook has pictures, oral questions, and Bible memory. The adorable illustrations are all objects that children can relate to, and contain none of the commercialism that is often found in store-bought activity books for preschoolers.
With some parental guidance (instructions for the parents are included), this series provides practical exercises for the development of visual, auditory, mental, motor, and oral skills in preparation for school. In addition, many pages have discussion ideas for parents to call the child's attention to everyday things that reinforce the concepts being taught. I highly recommend this set of workbooks for preschoolers (age 4-5) as a basic learning resource to help with reading and math readiness. These can easily be supplemented with other hands-on preschool activities, picture books, and, of course, reading stories aloud to the child.
Adventures with Books teaches how to follow simple directions, how to color and hold a pencil correctly, identifying eight basic colors and three basic shapes, along with a few familiar word meanings such as up-down, big-small, and left-right. It contains many cut-and-paste activities, a rebus story, a story of "Little Wang Fu of China," and ends with the song, "Jesus Loves Me."
Bible Pictures to Color is basically a coloring book with 60 pictures that correspond to each of the stories in the Bible Stories to Read book. (Bible Stories to Read is illustrated with a miniature version of each coloring picture.) A few pictures provide color-by-number practice.
Counting With Numbers teaches the child how to identify, write, and understand the meanings of the numbers 1 through 10. It also teaches number sequence (after, before, and between) and simple math-related words (more/less, first/last, empty/full, shorter/taller). Included is a rebus story, "Jesus Feeds the People," as well as a color-by-number page.
Do It Carefully introduces children to different shapes, letters, and a few simple words. This workbook contains exercises for writing letters and the child's name, as well as hearing several initial consonant sounds. Some exercises are included to develop thinking skills. In addition, it has a brief science lesson about a forest and a stream, a rebus story about Baby Moses, and two songs.
Everywhere We Go reviews skills taught in the previous books (colors, shapes, numbers, letters, writing the letters and the child's name, and hearing several initial consonant sounds), while introducing some new consonant sounds. The book also tells about children in different lands and encourages personal responsibility and courtesy. See how many stars the child can count at the end.
Finding the Answers helps develop thinking skills through following directions, hearing rhyming words, identifying sequence, making comparisons and associations, understanding sentences and short stories. The child will write down his name, telephone number, and birthday. There is a short story about an Eskimo boy.
Bible Stories to Read, by Martha Rohrer, is a 135-page storybook with pictures, oral questions to ask, and Bible memory selections. This book contains 60 simply-told Bible stories (36 from the Old Testament and 24 from the New Testament) for parents to read to their children. Each story includes several questions and answers at the end as well as a short Bible verse to memorize, thus providing practice in both listening and oral skills. The Bible Stories to Read book is illustrated with a miniature version of each coloring picture from Bible Pictures to Color. The parent may want to read a story to the child before he or she colors the corresponding picture in the coloring book, or the parent may read the story while the child is coloring along with it. The stories may also be read at any time (perfect for bedtime reading) without any accompanying coloring. This was the very first Bible story book that we bought years ago, and it's still our favorite because it is so simple and to the point. The stories are brief, but they're interesting and accurate, and the pertinent Bible verses are easy to learn. We have re-read these stories many times with our children, ages 3-13, and we've even taken the book to church when we had to fill in for the Sunday school teacher. I just wish they had made a sequel called "More Bible Stories to Read!"
All of the above books are published by an old-fashioned Mennonite publishing company, Rod & Staff Publishers, P.O. Box 3, 14193 Hwy. 172, Crockett KY 41413-0003 (606)522-4348; (800)643-1244 (fax). They are inexpensive (~$5.75 for the story book and ~$2.80 for each workbook), but are high quality and printed on thick paper, a great value for the money. Rod & Staff has a mail-order catalog with lots of other excellent, affordable products for homeschoolers and Christian schools. Included are storybooks, nature readers, penmanship practice tablets (wide-ruled with the dashed center line) textbooks, reference books, and miscellaneous supplemental materials. These can also be purchased online at: http://www.anabaptistbooks.com or http://www.rodstaff.com. (Both of these sites are maintained by the Anabaptist Bookstore; Rod & Staff does not have a website of their own.)
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