Students in the K-5 grade range that were primarily learning remotely for 2020 and 2021 are showing deficits in both literacy and math. This is evidenced by the number of students we have taught foundational reading skills to over the past several months. Both Resource Room NY and Resource Room NC have received an influx of calls from parents concerned that their student is reading below grade level for their age. Students at the K – 1 grade level during remote learning often did not develop the foundational reading skills they usually would when learning in person. Resource Room is currently focusing on re-building phonics, letter & sound recognition, beginning & ending blends, and working with students on basic concepts like synonyms & homonyms. Vowel blends like the “ou” and and “ea” sounds are an essential part of the reading process that most parents overlook when attempting to work on reading skills with their own students, primarily because such letter/sound recognition is so innate to adults that describing such intricacies escapes them.
When it comes to Math, we cannot stress enough the importance of building foundational math skills like adding, subtracting, and multiplying by memory. Multiplication tables, in particular, are an integral aspect of so many mathematical concepts including division, adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators, simplifying fractions, and solving basic algebraic expressions and equations. We highly recommend that students memorize their multiplication facts between 1X1 up to and including 12×12.
Some helpful hints for memorizing multiplication facts include flashcards, multiplication games, and teaching students to use facts they know to figure out ones they do not. Since multiplication is repeated addition and most students know their 2, 5, 10, and 11 tables well, teach students to use repeated addition to figure out their 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 12 tables.
Jesse knows her 5 times tables well, but when she needs to multiply 6×7 she gets stumped. Try the following approach as a temporary solution to help her solve the problem and reinforce the memorization through the handwriting process.
6X5 = 30
6×6 = 30 + 6 = 36
6×7 = 36 + 6 = 42
This method, while temporary to the learning process, gives students a chance to figure out the answer without becoming frustrated and staring at the ceiling, which – for some reason – all children do when they can’t figure out the solution. We often joke with students that it is likely the heavens can not help with the equation, but writing it out and using repeated addition can!