We'll go over this so you understand, so you can get it beside you, so you get on top of these words first and not last. Your child will have begun to develop concepts such as around, through, first, last, some, all, empty, full, and others in daily conversations and activities with you. Now you can reinforce this learning with on-page activities. We call these positional words, as they help a child see the relationship between himself and the environment. I am in the house.

School Zone puts these same concepts on paper, such as "Help the bear get to the honey at the top of the maze." We have little learners follow paths to the left and right and go up or down the hill. The airplane is high, the submarine is low or below, and we help the child mark over or under the bridge. Other relationship words are empty, full, last and next. I am big and that is little. These, in turn, provide foundations for skills such as sequencing, comparing, and categorizing.

Classifying objects into categories is something the mind enjoys, and it plays an important role in expanding both language and math skills. This is an easy on-paper activity, but we throw in extras; for example, the child identifies object categories by drawing a line under or between clothes and sweater, apple and fruit, or dog and animal. You have probably unconsciously done this at home by saying, "Put the toys in the toy box." Sorting and classifying go hand in hand, as you ask the child "Is the tree big?" or "Can a bush and a tree have fruit?"

Classification is an essential thinking tool. We then have the child understand, with direction and examples, the meaning of underline, circle, connect to, and draw a line, in most activities. Sequencing is taught as a child puts acts or ideas in 1-2-3 order. 1) Boy picks up bat, 2) Boy hits ball, and 3) Boy breaks window. Putting activities in first, next, last, or 1-2-3 sequence is seeing relationships and considering logic. We also throw in a little cause-and-effect reasoning, with "Why is the boy upset?"

The easiest first words for your child to learn (besides his or her name) are animal or familiar object words. Combining these first words with positional words and sequencing reinforces what a child already knows. These are all important steps to get the child ready to read, and you will soon see that the child is not only ready, but eager and excited!