Pointing and counting.
I learned an interesting thing when Analisa was in kindergarten.....there is a direct correlation between math and reading.
I wish I could tell you the exact terminology (and perhaps if there is a teacher reading this, you can fill me in!), but Analisa's kindergarten teacher explained to me at a teacher conference that Analisa was struggling with what I think she called one-on-one correlation.
In other words, if you were to place 10 pennies down on the table, and ask Analisa to point to them one at a time as she counted them, she would come up with 12 pennies, or 13 pennies, or any other number. Her counting was not in time with her pointing. She was saying the words 1-2-3-4-5 in the correct order.... and she was pointing to the pennies; however, the timing was off. She would be saying the number 3 while her finger was in the air between pennies, or the number 5 while her finger was in the air between pennies.
I thought she was just uncoordinated, but her kindergarten teacher explained to me that this ability to count and point is a basic building block in learning to read. Amazing!!
She stressed that it was VERY important that we practice this basic skill.
Analisa is now in 3rd grade, and has officially been tested and found to be "learning disabled" in both math and reading. I don't know if we didn't practice enough, or if this is just a skill that Analisa was unable to grasp.
In any event, I'm taking the information I learned from Analisa's kindergarten teacher and hoping to help 3-year old Luke become proficient at this important skill. When we read our books every day, I always ask him questions about the pictures he sees. Now that he's grasping the concept of "how many?" I ask him on many of the pages that we read "How many _______ do you see?" and then we POINT and COUNT the butterflies, or the chickens, or the apples, or whatever.
I hope this will help him later as he learns to read...in the meantime, it's just another way to make our reading time more interactive, so it's something we both enjoy anyway!