Friday, March 20, 2015

Prepping for P1: Scholastic Hidden Picture Puzzle Books & Pictionaries for Increasing Vocabulary

Lil Pumpkin's going to Primary 1 next year and as most parents in my situation, I'm wondering if she is ready. Is she learning, experiencing, understanding enough at school and at home to prepare her for the "big kids school".

Yes, I'm definitely feeling the primary school parent jitters again as it gets nearer and nearer to the date of registration, and my mum has reminded me at least 3 times that I must absolutely be in Singapore from June - August this year, because that's when the registration will be tentatively conducted.

Okkkk mummy, no travel plans then :P

I think it's pretty important for Lil Pumpkin to have a strong vocabulary so that she can think more deeply, express herself better, and learn new things more quickly. That's why we read books and pretty much anything whenever we can actually. Signs, movie posters, catalogs, newspapers etc.

I've read that most of our daily conversations draw from a vocabulary bank of no more than 3,000 words, yet the average adult knows upwards of 20,000!! That richness comes from print.

Recently we were introduced to the Sam and Sally series of books from Scholastic Education to widen and deepen her vocabulary on various familiar contexts. On each page, Lil Pumpkin has to search for and color the hidden pictures, which also provides the opportunity to learn {new} words in context and develop spatial intelligence. Learning new vocab is pretty straight-forward, but I think not many children books focus on spatial intelligence much.

Spatial intelligence is what we do when we visualize, mentally generate, rotate, and transform images in our “mind’s eye”. It’s the mental feat that architects and engineers perform when they design buildings. What a chemist needs to contemplate the 3D structure of a molecule, or a surgeon to navigate the human body. Also known as spatial visualisation, it plays a critical role in engineering and scientific disciplines and something that we need to train our kids on too. 

Each Sam and Sally book feature 8 thematic picture puzzles with over 200 words, 9 two-page challenge puzzles, a thoughtful question in each puzzle to encourage thinking and speaking skills and practice on various visual discrimination skills.

Sam and Sally At Home topics
It's pretty fun to do and usually Lil Pumpkin will finish up a page or 2 at a time. She loves to colour and barely finds it as additional "homework" to do!

Lil Pumpkin likes me to colour with her and so we'd do that together. She has free reign over what colour she wants, and I like that the image-filled pages provide us with many conversation prompts to talk and think about.

Sam and Sally Out & About topics
It helps her to deepen her understanding of the word by talking about its different meanings and using the word in different sentences. For example, reminding her that uniforms are not just worn by kids for school, but by adults in various groups or organisations and getting her to tell me some examples e.g. police, army, airlines etc. Also, pointing out that "uniform" also means staying the same at all times and encouraging her to give me more examples of that.

Sam and Sally Go to School topics
Sam and Sally books are meant for preschoolers, and come in 3 titles - Sam and Sally At Home, Sam and Sally Out & About, and Sam and Sally Go to School. They are available at POPULAR bookstores and retail for S$7.40 each.

My World of Words, also a series of books from Scholastic Education, uses a different style and makes learning vocabulary enjoyable through picture stories. The colours are vivid and the stories relate to kids' everyday life.

It takes young learners on a delightful journey to discover their world with thoughtfully constructed two-part picture stories based on a before-after scenario, thinking questions and activities to develop speaking and writing skills, and additional ideas for activities to extend the learning. There's no colouring activities.

There are two things I really like about these books. Firstly are the illustrated dictionary pages, where each word is explained in simple language for kids as young as Lil Pumpkin to understand, and comes with example sentences to build vocabulary. Secondly, the picture stories convey important messages related to good values, manners and global citizenry in a fun and interesting way.

My World of Words and My World of More Words are available at POPULAR bookstores as well and retail for S$9 each. I'd recommend them for preschoolers, as well as lower primary kids due to the difficulty of some words used.

If you're looking for more ideas on increasing your kids vocabulary, do check these books out. They are very useful resources for home-based learning, and not that expensive too given the good-quality {coloured} prints.

For more of  Lil Pumpkin's Primary School journey:
For tips on P1 preparation:
Good deal to share:

* Disclosure: This is a review for Scholastic Education books. All opinions are my own.


An Apel a Day said...

I used to get these for road trips. One of the head quarters for Scholastic is where my husband grew up.

Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me said...

Ai, I have no doubt she will be ready, and if she's not (which I doubt) teachers are very well adept at giving them projects to work on such skills! Sorry I've been so slack recently! I hope you and your gorgeous family are really well - are you coming back to ProBlogger? x

mail4rosey said...

I agree a strong vocabulary can benefit the kids in so many ways. It's fun too that she likes you to color with her. :)

Masshole Mommy said...

It sounds like a great way to get her prepared for school.

Ai Sakura said...

Alissa: oh that's a great idea!

Emily: No not this year!! have fun lovely! Look forward to your posts and pix

Mail4rosey: yup the colouring was definitely a win!

Masshole Mommy: hopefully so :P

Grace said...

Love seeing photos of Lil Pumpkin being studious. I'm sure she won't have any problems fitting in, Ai. But your jitters are absolutely valid x