Jean Marzollo

Children's Author and Illustrator
Author of I SPY

Posts tagged kindergarten

0 notes

I SPY Helps Kids Read!


This 8”x8” square paperback edition of the I Spy Little Animals board book is great for helping Pre-K, Kindergarten and Grade 1 children increase their vocabulary and learn to read. The kids are helped to read by various clues: the pictures, the pattern of the text (“I spy” starts every page), the rhythm, the rhyme, and beginning phonics skills that they are learning. Also memorization. First time through, you can read it aloud to the child. Second time, see if your child can help you read it. The third time will be easier, and after that, well, you’ll see. Never pressure your child. Keep in mind that this is an I SPY book, beautifully photographed by Walter Wick, and that the game is to find the objects.

This kindergarten reader read “I spy a fire hydrant” with no problem. That’s because she lives in a city where there are fire hydrants. She “read” the picture. That done, a parent or teacher could encourage her to sound out the letters that made those two words and also look for the word “ant” in “hydrant.” Another child who doesn’t live where there are lots of fire hydrants can learn two new vocabulary words from this page. Learning new words and reading them is fun for kids with this I SPY book because, after all, they are playing the I SPY game. Can you find the kitty cat?





For the entire selection of I SPY books, visit

Filed under I SPY I SPY Animals increase vocabulary learn to read Kindergarten Grade 1 Pre-K phonics rhythm and rhyme

1 note

I Am Thankful for Teachers

In this photo a kindergarten student in Kansas City, MO is practicing printing and spelling while thinking about the meaning of Thanksgiving.  Note how the teacher not only wrote the big word “thankful” but also drew a box around the “th” so that kids could learn the “th” sound.  Nice teaching!  I’m thankful for teachers who send me photos like this that I can share on my blog. Happy Thanksgiving!

Filed under Jean Marzollo Kindergarten Teachers Kindergarten Thanksgiving

0 notes

Which Song Won the Election?

At this time of year, children hear the words “vote” and “voting” but may not know exactly what the words mean. In the classroom you can have them vote on things they care about and outcomes they can cause. For example, ask them to name three songs you sing in class. As they name them, write them on a chart or chalkboard.  If possible, put a little picture next to each title to help them “read” - for example, a little spider next to “Eensy Weensy Spider,” a little shoe next to “Shoo Fly,” and a little bell next to “Jingle Bells.”  Ask, “Which song shall we sing first?  Let’s vote.” Count the vote to see which song won, and then sing it. You can then vote on the other two songs. Nice vocabulary words come out of this voting lesson: first, second, third and first, next, last. Also, Election Day!

For free, you can play and sing along with these three songs (illustrated rebus style) at

Filed under Jean Marzollo Kindergarten Rebus Songs and Games Election Day Vote Voting

1 note

How Do You Set Up Your Kindergarten Classroom? (Part 2)

I invited Jenn C., kindergarten teacher in the Kansas City, Missouri school district to share with us how she sets up her kindergarten classroom.  This post is Part Two:

"In order to get kindergartners used to the routines and procedures within a classroom, it is important to stay consistent! Having lunch at the same time every day becomes a constant in their school day, and they will get used to the things that occur before and after lunch. Students will learn how long they are expected to remain at their centers or work stations, and will come to know how long recess lasts.

"Since school life is different than home life, a good deal of time and effort is spent in the first few months on developing the routine and schedule for the day - the children cannot read, nor tell time, but I use the materials in these photos to teach them what the clock "looks like" when it’s time for lunch, and we keep track of where were are in the day, throughout each school day, to help the students learn about schedules. Once a great routine is established, it is important to maintain this routine every day - a slight change can really throw kids for a loop! Ensure that there is a posted schedule on the wall, so any teacher or staff can easily see the schedule for the day. Substitutes must also know this schedule and follow it with great care, as the students may have a tough time transitioning if things are unusual to them."

Filed under Kindergarten

2 notes

My Two Favorite TV Shows for Kids

My two favorite TV Shows for Kids are Sesame Street and Sid the Science Kid.  I watch them with my grandson.  We both like the pace, the music, the characters and the education.  I feel happy when I watch these shows because they embody the essential values of education that I strive to uphold.  These shows don’t talk down to kids in order to connect with them.  They also are clear and fun.  Both Sesame Street and Sid the Science Kid teach in interesting ways: dramatically, musically, artistically. They are multi-cultural.  I don’t know the creators, but I can picture them sitting around tables and seriously discussing what to teach, why to teach it, and how to get it across to reach their audience.  I’m sure there are other TV shows that are equally good, but I haven’t found them … yet.

Filed under Jean Marzollo Kindergarten Sesame Street Sid the Science Kid TV Shows for kids

1 note

How Rebus Readers Help Kids Read

I recently had the pleasure of visiting two separate kindergarten classes at this time of year (June) when the kids are headed to first grade.   In both classes I gave the teachers copies of the new square 8” x 8” I SPY paperback books: I Spy Animals, I Spy A Funny Frog, I Spy Letters, and I Spy Numbers.  “Do you think your students can read these books?”  The teachers flipped through the books and said yes.  “Do you think you could call on a child to come  up and read it to the other children, just like teachers do?”  The teachers said yes.  I observed that each teacher called first on a child who could already read.  There are usually a few in each kindergarten class at this time of year.  These first children proudly demonstrated reading like teachers.  Then the teachers called one by one on other kids who, normal for their age, were just beginning to learn to read.  They loved being “teacher” and read aloud, helped by the rebus pictures in the book.  Some read just a few pages and called on others to read the next ones.  Most of the children wanted to be called upon.  I felt joy at seeing how much the kindergartners liked being to read.  They needed a little coaching from their teachers, who wisely moved near them to offer advice.  As you probably know, there’s a lot of pressure on kindergartners today to exhibit reading skills.  I am happy that these small square paperbacks help them.

Filed under Jean Marzollo Rebus I SPY Rebus Readers Kindergarten Kindergarten Teachers Reading

3 notes

Flowers for Teachers!

Every year I try to visit a few kindergartens in May and June in order to observe what kindergarten kids have accomplished during the school year.  I love to see how they have grown in size, behavior, and accomplishments. I also love to see how proud their teachers are of them.  Kindergarten teachers face new challenges now because of the new Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics.  I admire how creative and skillful the teachers are with these new challenges, and I want to thank them for their hard work.  I know that what carries teachers through the school year is their love of children and interest in promoting genuine learning. 

Thank you, Teachers (of all grades, but especially kindergarten teachers!)

Here are red roses for you!
amy_leochner @JeanMarzollo:   Aww thanks! Kindergarten is where it’s at!

Havala  @JeanMarzollo:  That’s amazing. The CC and some testing that we do that already has folded it in is *whoa!* intense =) Thank you.

Filed under Kindergarten Kindergarten Teachers Jean Marzollo Common Core Standards

0 notes

More Math/Nature Activities

Counting Parts of Plants

Look at real flowers together. Record what the flowers look like with “scientific” drawings. Count the petals and leaves on flowers, and write the numbers on the drawings. If the flowers have too many petals to count, write many on the picture. Save the pictures, using them to practice classification. Ask the children: How many ways can you classify the flower pictures? Some ways are by number of petals, by number of leaves, by color, by shape, and by size.

Grow a Number

Have the class pick a lucky number. (Perhaps it should be five or six, the age of most of the children.) Wet a sponge and set it in a shallow dish. Sprinkle cress seeds in the shape of the lucky number on the sponge. Set the seeds in indirect sunlight. Have the children take turns checking the sponge each day to make sure it is damp but not too soggy. Teach them to water the dish, not the sponge, so that the sponge can soak up the water it needs. As the seeds sprout, they will lean toward the light. Ask the children why. (Seedlings like light; they need it; they seek it.) Turn the dish around every so often to keep the sprouts growing up straight. If any seeds grow out of place, weed them out.

Excerpted from “The New Kindergarten” by Jean Marzollo, illustrations by Irene Trivas (c) 1987-2012.

Filed under Jean Marzollo The New Kindergarten Kindergarten Plants Counting Seeds

0 notes

Celebrate Earth Day April 22 with 2 Math/Nature Activities

Measure Real Plants

Have the children measure real plants as they grow with small blocks. Legos are good because they stack. Teach the children to stack the Legos next to the plants, count the Legos, and transfer the amount to a graph.  Change Lego colors every five Legos so you can count the Legos by 5’s.

A graph is a picture of “how many.”

Measure a Magic Beanstalk

Plant a magic seed in class. Have the children think of what the seed should be (perhaps a small ball) and where they should plant it (perhaps in a basket of toys). Each day, ask a child to paint a new segment of the magic plant on a twelve-by-eighteen-inch piece of green construction paper. Hold the paper horizontally so the new segment is twelve inches (one foot high). This will make it easy to count how many feet long the beanstalk is each day. Tape the paintings together on the wall so that the beanstalk climbs up and around the room. Have the children write stories about their magic beanstalk. Be sure to read them “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

Excerpted from “The New Kindergarten” by Jean Marzollo, illustrations by Irene Trivas (c) 1987-2012.

Filed under Kindergarten Earth Day Jean Marzollo graphs Legos Math/Nature Activities