• Understanding Basic Concepts

    Learning about colors, time, shapes, and sizes lays the foundation for later experiences in reading and mathematics. Parents can help children to build these skills in many ways.


    • Use colors in daily conversation - “Put on your yellow sweater today.”  “Please, bring me the blue book.”

    • Choose a color for the day - “Let’s see how many red things we can find today.”

    • Identify colors at meal time - “Carrots are orange.” “Spinach is green.”

    • Name colors as you look at pictures in magazines or books - “The car is brown.”

    • Play Touch that Color - “Touch something purple.”



    • Sandwiches can be cut into triangles, rectangles, squares, and even circles (for example, try using a cookie cutter).

    • Have your child look for shapes everywhere (for example, wheels, boxes, tabletops, jar lids, dishes, clocks, etc.).

    • Cut shapes out of cardboard for your child to trace and then color.


    Color the triangle orange. Color the box green. Color the star yellow.


    Color the smaller circle blue.

    Color the bigger circle red.


    • When talking with your child, talk about things that are: tall, taller, tallest; short, shorter, shortest; small, smaller, smallest. 

    • Talk about things that can come in a cup: Can cereal pieces fit? Can a chair fit? Why not? Can a book fit?  Why not?

    • Talk about: What things are bigger than an apple? What things are smaller than a cereal box?  Who is taller than you?


  • Understanding Spoken and Written Language

    Children need to learn basic language concepts before they can experience success in reading and mathematics. When learning to read, a child must learn to read from the left side of the page to the right and from the top of the page to the bottom. Left, right, top and bottom all represent language concepts.

    Parents can help by remembering to talk with their child about what they do every day, such as dressing and eating. Below are examples of these every day activities that present opportunities to help a child develop language concepts.


    Blue Shirt “Let’s get dressed for school. Your shirt is in the top drawer of your dresser. Put your shirt on. It goes over your head. You have to put your arms through the sleeves. This is the front of your shirt. This is the back. Put your right leg through your right pant leg. Where does your left leg go? Put your socks on before you put your shoes on. Do your socks look the same? Put your right shoe on your right foot. Which shoe goes on your left foot? Put your hat on top of your head. Put your jacket on. It’s cold outside. Put your scarf around your neck.”



    Lunch First, we put the cereal in the bowl. Then we pour the milk on the cereal.  Would you like a whole glass of juice or half a glass? Spread the butter all over the toast.  You make a sandwich by putting meat between the slices of bread.  Peel your banana before you eat it. Spaghetti is long and skinny.  You can twist it around your fork. Would you like a second helping of jello?”                                          



    Children’s understanding of time begins with the sequence of events and personal time as it relates to their daily life.

    • First I have breakfast, then I get dressed.”
    • Yesterday, we went to Grandma’s house.”
    • “It’s eight o’clock - time to go to bed.”
    • Today is Wednesday, and it’s a school day.”
    • Tomorrow is Saturday.  There is no school on Saturday.”
  • Language Concepts

    How does it feel?

    Hard, soft, rough, smooth, bumpy, slick, greasy, dry, wet, warm, cold







    How does it sound?

    Loud, soft, high, low


    How does it taste?

    Sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, warm, like fruit, like vegetables


    How does it smell?

    Good to eat, burnt, like flowers, like food, like smoke

    How does it look?

    Tall, short, thick, thin, skinny, fat, narrow, smaller than, bigger than, long, the same as, different


    How do you feel?

    Happy, sad, mad, unhappy, frightened, friendly, grumpy, silly