If Your Kid Likes Numbers, Try The Numbers Cool Book

Both of my kids loved numbers and letters, so we read to them all the time. That was easy, since it was what they wanted. Years later, they are scoring in the 90+ percentile in reading, language, and math, and it's not just because they are wired that way. It's practice. They both loved reading and numbers as toddlers, so they were well ahead of their peers who built houses with square shapes on tablets.

When I substitute taught at a local kindergarten recently, I was amazed at the lack of letter and number skills. The teacher was not at fault, since it was just barely one month into the school year. The kids can't really be blamed, either, since they don't (or shouldn't) make decisions for themselves about entertainment content before kindergarten. It was as if these kids hadn't even seen an episode of Sesame Street. Those kids will be way behind my kids for years. Maybe they'll catch up at some point, but their parents made decisions that affected how prepared the children were when school started, and those decisions were, simply put, wrong.

Read to your kids. Every single day. Or have your babysitter or daycare provider do it. If you think the money you make is so important to their future that you don't have time for reading with them, then you've got your priorities all wrong, since their futures don't depend on you making $50,000 more than your neighbors. That is, unless you can afford to buy them degrees from Harvard, in which case, carry on. If not, get some books. I mean a lot of books. And read.

One book that might work was written by my son when he was five. It's called Numbers Cool Book, and it's just about numbers doing things. Totally written and illustrated by a five year-old. Honest. We didn't even suggest it to him. One day, there were suddenly pages of numbers and words describing them.

The point isn't to make your kids love numbers and words, and it's not to show off what my kid could do. The point is that your kids need inspiration that's more than digitized candy or toy marketing in a slick app. Ask them to create. If they won't or can't, show them what another kid around their age did. It's inspirational for me, and I'm a lot older.