What's In This Guide?
The stress and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic presents daily challenges to the well- being of families and children. In response the Child Mind Institute provides telehealth treatment for children, adolescents and young adults with mental health and learning disorders, as well as free resources at childmind.org/coronavirus. Below, clinicians from our Learning and Development Center have organized resources for parents who are suddenly responsible for the home school environment. These resources, broken down by age groups, include academic materials, worksheets, activities, videos, games, and more.
Younger students (e.g., preschool through elementary school) are less likely to have prescribed homeschooling plans. Instead, parents may have to come up with instructional material. For this reason, the guide below provides more detailed information about the “what” and the “why” for specific resources through mid-elementary school. For older students, we have provided more general information about educational and enrichment resources that families can present their students with.
Pre-Academic for 3- to 5-year-olds:
Books that emphasize rhyme and/or alliteration
For 3 and 4-year-olds, supporting later reading skills means boosting phonemic awareness (i.e., the ability to identify and manipulate the phonemes [sounds] in words). Towards that end, reading books that emphasize rhyme and/or alliteration is particularly important.
- The Absolutely Awful Alphabet by Mordicai Gerstein
- Big Alphabet Workbook by School Zone.
- Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke by Pamela Duncan Edwards
- Clara Caterpillar by Pamela Duncan Edwards
- Jamberry by Bruce Degen
- Bedhead by Margie Palatini
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? By Bill Martin, Jr.
- Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. & John Archambault
- There’s a Wocket in my Pocket by Dr. Seuss
- The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson & Ariel Scheffler
- Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley
- Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
- Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
- The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
- And any nursery rhyme!
Books that teach about numbers and counting
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth
- Click Clack Splish Splash by Doreen Cronin
- Olivia Counts by Ian Falconer
- Chicka Chicka 123 by Bill Martin & Michael Sampson
Books that teach about shapes and colors:
- Circle, Triangle, Elephant by Kenji Oikawa and Mayuko Takeuchi
- I Lost My Sock! A Matching Mystery by P.J. Roberts
- Colors versus Shapes by Mike Boldt
- Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert
- How Do Dinosaurs Learn Their Colors by Jane Yolen
- Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni
- Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by James Dean and Eric Litwin
- The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns
- Food for Thought by Saxton Freymann & Joost Elffers (also letters, numbers, and opposites)
Early Elementary (Grades K-1)
Emphasis in early elementary is placed on developing early literacy skills, including phonemic awareness, phonic decoding, and sight-word reading.
- BOB Books (by John R. Maslen and Bobby Lynn Maslen) introduce and reinforce phonics in a systematic and enjoyable way. Kids can read entire books on their own so they feel successful.
- Beginning Reading Workbook by School Zone does a nice job breaking down early reading concepts, such as syllables, beginning and ending consonant sounds, vowels, sequencing, etc.
- Reading Activities 1 and 2 Workbook by School Zone covers reading comprehension concepts, such as comprehension, predicting, main idea, comparing, contrasting, evaluating, etc.
- To support the development of reading comprehension, ask your child questions, such as “What do you think will happen next?” while reading aloud.
- Listening to stories is a great way to build a child’s vocabulary and comprehension skills. Audible is offering free children’s stories through their platform: Stories.audible.com.
- The Parents’ Read-At-Home Plan for Student Success has a number of fun games and activities for Grades K-3, organized by the “5 Pillars” of reading instruction: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary, Fluency, and Comprehension. The guide is free.
- SpellLinks has several great tips to help parents read and spell at home with their children
- o Reading
Numeracy and Counting:
Books that teach the concepts of addition and subtraction:
- What’s New at the Zoo by and Suzanne Slade
- One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab: A Counting by Feet Book by April Pulley Sayre & Jeff Sayre
- The Mission of Addition by Brian Cleary
- Monster Musical Chairs by Stuart J. Murphy
- Elevator Magic by Stuart J. Murphy
- Math Start Series by Stuart J. Murphy
English Language Arts (ELA):
As word reading develops and improves, instructional emphasis shifts to reading fluency, which is critical for comprehension. Try to boost your child’s reading fluency by reading books out loud at the same time (aka choral reading) and seeing if they can try to match your pace. This will help them get used to what fluent reading feels and sounds like. Choose books that your child can read independently so that they can focus instead on pacing, rather than decoding.Here are some books and strategies you can use:
- Readworks.org offers a lot of free content for families, including an informational video about remote learning, a tip-sheet to help families get started, and numerous, high-quality activities to promote vocabulary and reading comprehension. Families can access free materials, including a student library with access to thousands of fiction and non-fiction works, reading passages and question sets leveled for grades K-12, “article-a-day” to increase background knowledge, and family supports.
- Encourage your child to act out books that have a lot of dialogue, such as A Big Guy Took My Ball by Mo Willems (An Elephant & Piggie Book). Using the same tone of voice that the characters might use improves their reading expression, which is an important part of fluency.
- Incorporate book sets that fine-tune early reading skills, like phonic decoding and sight-word recognition. When these skills are mastered, reading fluency will follow. For example, try Pete the Cat Phonics Box Set, Peppa Pig Phonics Box Set, or Scholastic Success with Sight Words
- Encourage your children to spend some time every day reading actively.
- Have your child listen and read along with a book within his/her reading level and encourage him/her to think about and write down the following:
o What is this story about?
o What is the solution to the problem in the story? o How did the character solve his problem?o How is this story the same or different from others stories you have read?
- Have your child listen and read along with a book within his/her reading level and encourage him/her to think about each character.
o List each character in this story.
o Write down one adjective that describes each character.
- Encourage your child to read a biography and write about the following: o Who is this story about? Why is that person important?
o What did this person do that made him famous or special?
o What did this person need to overcome in order to be successful? o What other information did you learn about this person?
- Math Basics 1 Workbook by School Zone – covers addition, subtraction, greater than, less than, comparison, number order, etc.
- Math Basics 2 Workbook by School Zone – worksheets that emphasize addition and subtraction, time and money, place value, sums and differences, fact families, geometry, etc.
- Big Second Grade Workbook by School Zone – covers grade-level math calculations and word problems, along with phonics, reading comprehension, and science.
- Math Basics 3 Workbook by School Zone – covers grade-level math concepts, including multiplication, division, word problems, place value, square units, fractions, etc.
- Multiplication and Division Workbook by School Zone – for third and fourth graders, covers multiplication, division, estimation, and word problems.
- Spectrum Critical Thinking for Math – Covers concepts, including multi-digit addition, multi-digit subtraction, multi-digit multiplication, long division, fractions, geometry, and estimation, while encouraging critical thinking skills.
- Flash Cards are a time-tested tool that help students achieve mastery and automaticity with rote math facts. There are also computer-based math fact programs available, which use a game-based system to drill math facts and achieve fluency (e.g., Reflex Math: reflexmath.com; offering a free 60-day trial).
More Learning Resources for Younger Children
- At-home math activities, parent blogs, and more resources: http://bedtimemath.org/
- General resources about remote learning, including during COVID-19: https://web.seesaw.me/remote-learning-for-families?fbclid=IwAR0FaOWDjaI5bsaylKhnOeF4GD1HuQqeMCDpYK-CtjtCG6k3sVtbmITvaek
- Online math visual activities (content offered in English and Spanish): http://nlvm.usu.edu/
- PBS Kids / PBS Learning Media. https://ny.pbslearningmedia.org/collection/kids-lab/
- Reading Rockets. This website offers activities, checklists, and information on building literacy skills. www.readingrockets.org
- Scholastic Learn at Home: https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html
- Starfall Parent Teacher Center: https://teach.starfall.com/lv/
- Stuck at Home Science: Daily science activities for families to enjoy using household materials(content offered in English and Spanish): https://californiasciencecenter.org/stuck-at-home-science
- Spreadsheet of free online resources for K-12th: http://www.amazingeducationalresources.com/
Online Course Content for High Schoolers
- High school subjects include math, language arts, science, study skills, and history. Content is presented in engaging 30-minute videos. One-month free trial available. https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/programs-for-young-learners
- Online math visual activities (content offered in English and Spanish): http://nlvm.usu.edu/
- Spreadsheet of free online resources for K-12th
Where to Get Books to Read and Hear
- https://www.teachstarter.com/au/blog/covid-19-teach-starters-support-for-schools-teachers- parents-students-affected/
Offers “learning from home packs” for each grade level with free worksheets on English, math, science, and some additional crafting and mindfulness activities. There are also additional resources sorted by grade level and subject under the tabs at the top.
Educational worksheets as well as crafts, coloring, pages, and other activities. Also has templates to generate your own worksheet to fit your needs.
This is the Pinterest of educational resources. There are over 20 pages of educational and creative activities for children of all ages. This includes coloring pages, educational puzzles, vocabulary, flashcards, videos, and more.
Quizlet allows you to search their platform for activities and resources across any subject of interest. Search for “Fundations” flash cards, which help teach children phonics.
Multi-part stories that help kids practice grammar fundamentals. (Click the “Stories” tab) Kids will read the story and then find the grammar errors. There are 20 stories, each with 5 parts.
Free reading worksheets that can be filtered by grade level. Also has other subjects (Parenting > Worksheets). Articles are offered on all things parenting on this website, too.
English For Everyone has an abundance of free worksheets for different topics in Language Arts, including Reading Comprehension, Verb Tenses, Sentence Completion, Contractions, Irregular Verbs, etc.
A resource that allows parents to choose children’s books based on various topics, such as Arts and Artists; Bugs, Birds, and Animals; Builders and Buildings; Dinosaurs; Music and Musicians; Nature; and Weather. The website also offers two 5-day DIY science camps devoted to learning about stars and the solar system, as well as rivers and streams in your community.
While libraries are temporarily closed, The New York Public Library has a resource that allows you to borrow E-books online.
Free website that features videos of famous actors reading children’s books aloud.
Offers videos and podcasts that promote children’s literature. Includes radio, crafts and activities, book trailers, and more.
Language arts printable packs. Other subjects offered under “printables.”
- https://www.greatschools.org/gk/worksheets/?category=writing-2 (same as under “Reading” category but for writing worksheets)
Free worksheets for writing skills. Other language arts subject offered, too, on side bar.
Institute for Writing Excellence has Language Arts and writing lessons, as well as resources for grammar, vocabulary, and poetry memorization for students grades 3 thru 12.
This site offers lesson plans and free math worksheets for different grades. There are worksheets in English and Spanish.
MathWorksheets4Kids has a ton of free math worksheets grouped by math skill areas
Their collection of worksheets, broken down by math skill area, is vast!
- https://www.edhelper.com/teacher-education/Daily-Free-Learning-Workbooks-for-Teachers- to-Share-with-Parents-while-Schools-are-Closed-Kids-will-actually-do-these.htm
Aside from math worksheets, this site includes a list of free Sudoku puzzles, as well as sheets for practicing coding, and writing in cursive.
PuzzleChoice also offers plenty of puzzles and games, including Sudoku, Word Search Puzzles, Number Puzzles, and Logic Puzzles.
Educational Games and Videos
- PBS kids offers a variety of educational categories from games including school subjects (math, science, social studies, reading, ABC’s, music, shapes, problem solving, measurements, Spanish, etc.) as well as games about feelings, coloring, adventure, animals, dinosaurs, etc.)
- Over 200 online games for reading/writing practice. Can filter by grade, subject, and unit.
- Several reading-oriented games. There are additional resources for other subjects and grade levels.
- Starfall has fun games and activities for Language Arts, Music, and Math, all available online, for children in Pre-K to 3rd Grade.
- Read with Phonics has plenty of games available across platforms (Apple, Google Play, Amazon) for teaching children how to read using phonics.
- 8 writing games and activities that are not online. Most only require paper and pencils, and encourage creativity and learning.
- Printable Mad Libs! There are many categories (with specific school topics and general fun categories), and they’re all printable!
- Print sight word cards to play various games with (e.g., bingo, go fish, tic-tac-toe, etc.). There is also an option to create your own sight words
Features school themed worksheets: https://sightwords.com/sight-words/games/
- Provides over 400 fun and educational games for grades PreK through 6. Click on your child’s grade level, and there will be numerous age appropriate games focusing on words, math, holidays, strategy, and skills.
- Over 600 online games. Can filter by grade, subject, and unit within each subject. Detailed descriptions including instructions, and what mathematical skill the game targets.
- Math games organized by grade and subject.
- ProdigyGame is a free math learning platform that is accessible to parents, students, and schools.
- After choosing your desired grade level, you’ll have access to a number of educational videos, articles, books, and activities.
- Several “How To” videos with several fun art projects for kids
- Fun science videos for grades K-8
- Links to additional educational resources including recommendations for various educational YouTube channels for kids
- Khan Academy offers a number of free educational resources for students of all ages, and also has sample schedules that parents can adapt to help them structure their days.
- BrainPop has a number of different videos and activities online categorized by subject area and content.
At Home Activities
Movement Breaks and Home Exercise for kids and families:
GoNoodle provides fun, free movement and mindfulness videos with a focus on wellness and increasing socio-emotional health for kids age 5-12. The videos are super interactive and fun for kids to do along with parents. Both web and app versions are available.
Instructional while also providing a movement break. Reviews K-2 math and reading material paired with movement exercises.
Yoga and mindfulness for kids, ages 3+. Uses familiar stories and characters for kids to connect with while encouraging movement and mindfulness. Kids learn about feelings and practice breathing techniques to reduce anxiety. Also offers five-minute brain breaks for a quick burst of yoga and yoga disco to help kids get their wiggles out. Best accessed on YouTube for a variety of free videos.
Yoga paired with music. Free 60-day unlimited access to the first 500 users who request it. Additional requests will be added to a waitlist. Or, get a 14-day free trial or give a donation and receive 60-day unlimited access.
Smarten Up NYC, a New York City based educational tutoring organization, is offering free daily online workshops for children across all grades. The workshops include a twice daily read-aloud, foundational writing skills workshop, phonics classes, creative writing workshop, origami, Yoga, and meditation.
Just Dance 3 has multiple fun dance workouts on YouTube for free
Smile and Learn is a Youtube channel with videos designed by teachers with short (less than 10 minute) yoga videos designed for kids
Alo Yoga has yoga classes designed for parents to do with their kids
Free Yoga Programs for parents and older kids
Kids in sports is offering daily at home sports and exercise activities for free on their Facebook page
Popsugar does family friendly cardio workout designed for kids
Early Childhood Activities (under 5)
Ideas for (relatively) independent play
KhanKids App: Designed for ages 2-7. Has several educational games, videos, audio books across a range of subjects (e.g., early reading skills, numbers/counting, logic, nature, social/emotional learning, drawing and coloring, tracing letters.)
GoNoodle Videos: Available through an app and on their website. 100s of free movement and mindfulness videos designed for children 4-10. No ads or in-app purchases. Most videos are 1-3 minutes long. There are also a few compilations videos called “indoor recess” that last 15-20 minutes.
GoNoodle Games: A free app that is separate from the video only app described above. Also designed for kids aged 4-10 with no ads or in-app purchases. Mini-games that require movement to play. Device must have a forward-facing camera. Kids move around to “collect” stars, “pop” bubbles, etc.
Youtube Kids: The app has great parent control options that can be customized for each kid and saved. You can select content by age or only allow access to videos that you have pre-selected. You are able to see what your child has watched, after the fact. Can also set a timer that will lock the app after a pre-determined amount of time to force the child to take a break. Content age ranges include “4 and under”, and “5-7”.
- Lindamood Bell continues to offer its very high quality, evidence-based instructional programs for word-level reading, comprehension (oral and written), and math through daily, intensive, one-on- one online lessons (Note: these programs are not free and are instead quite costly). https://lindamoodbell.com/online-instruction
- Reading A to Z offers a number of free resources for families to use at home. Please try to focus on lessons that emphasize sound-letter correspondence, phonological awareness, and phonics. When choosing decodable readers, you can filter according to different sounds and word families (e.g., consonants, short vowels, blends) that your child has either mastered or is working on. You can also access high-frequency sight-words to practice. https://www.readinga-z.com/
- The Specific Learning Difficulties Association of South Australia also offers a number of free resources for families, including fun activities that emphasize phonemic awareness, reading and writing with phonics, spelling, and math. The site also offers free phonics books and worksheets for students of all ages and videos about how to implement some of the lessons and activities. https://www.speld-sa.org.au/
- Bookshare.org is a free online library with access to over 800,000 e-books for students with dyslexia, blindness, and other barriers to print reading. Students can read books in audio, follow along with karaoke-style text highlighting, in large print, etc. Customize the reading experience to meet your student’s learning profile. For students who do not qualify for access to the full library (I.e., do not meet eligibility criteria with a “qualifying reading barrier”), Bookshare.org is offering access to 10,000 e-books in specialized format for free. https://www.bookshare.org/cms/help-center/learning-center/school- closure?utm_source=partners&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=covid19