Test Prep Info from Thinktonight.com
The kind folks (ok, folk – namely Helen) at ThinkTonight.com put together some information on testing for young kids. Her site sells the type of books that can be good for those who are interested in prepping for a gifted/classical type test. I like her POV because although she is selling materials, she’s not necessarily adament about test prep for young kids. I think the best way of thinking of these books is hopefully as something your bright child might enjoy working on and that might help them feel more comfortable in a testing situation.
At this time of year I get lots of calls from parents with children entering Kindergarten or Grade 1 who will be taking a test to see whether or not they’ll qualify for placement in a gifted or enrichment program. Testing young children is a difficult business. “Preparing” young children for testing is a touchy subject.
As parents one of our jobs is to teach our children. Teaching our children thinking skills is as much our job as teaching them personal hygiene and the alphabet. Many parents do this naturally. Some need help. The range of material I sell helps parents to help their children build their thinking skills.
While no-one knows precisely what test instrument is used in Chicago the skills tested are pretty common among tests. Probably the best place to browse on my website is
Not many places test children before K. NY does so I’ve written this page for parents with Pre K children taking the OLSAT which is the test used in NY. You’ll see a range of levels of material there. Preschoolers vary hugely in ability and in what they’ve been exposed to. While most Pre K children who test into a gifted program will be working at the level of the material in Building Thinking Skills Level 1 some will need to build up to that from easier material.
The title ” Teach Your Kids to Think: Simple Tools You Can Use Every Day” would be a great choice if you want something for you rather than your child. This is full of commonsense suggestions like ask “Why?” or “Can you tell me how you did that?” or “Can you think of a different way to do that?” or “What do these things have in common?”
These are questions that lead children to develop logic and analogical thinking and …. These are the skills gifted children have in spades. Gifted children seem to acquire them by osmosis. More typical children can be taught these skills.
Another good parent book is What Every Parent Needs to Know About 1st, 2nd and 3rd Graders While I know that your children aren’t there yet this book has chapters covering topics like “How children become mathematical thinkers” and “How children’s learning is assessed.” As a parent building these skills in your child the insights in this book can be helpful.
My favorite titles for this age are
Building Thinking Skills Level 1 (this is a grade 2-3 book but if you’ve got a highly capable Pre K child they’re be ready to do the material in this book. You might need to read and scribe for them. There is a software version. I prefer the book but I sell a lot of software too. Building Thinking Skills Level 1 Software. If this looks too difficult start with Building Thinking Skills Primary and build from there)
Can You Find Me? K-1 and Can You Find Me? PreK (logic riddles with picture answers. Some of these will be blindingly obvious but some you might debate. A good bedtime book.)
miniLUK material from Beyond123. With a bright preschooler you could start with miniLUK Challenger Complete Set with Controller. Some children might need to start with the bambinoLUK Brain Building Complete Set with Controller You can purchase a starter pack to see if you’d like it. There’s a bit of a learning curve understanding how this set of books, plastic tray and tiles work together but once your child understands they’ll be off learning independently and gaining perseverance and concentration along the way.
Tin Man Press Enrichment Packet Level 1 (I love all the Tin Man Press books and many of these would be great to work on a bit now and put away until later. The Enrichment pack is a good way to sample the material and see if you like it http://www.thinktonight.com/Tin_Man_Press_s/358.htm ).
I have put together GATE (Gifted and Talented) bundles by grade for parents who like one stop shopping. I tweak the contents of these from time to time but each bundle contains a mix of topics and presentations covering all the main thinking skills.
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