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Ready for Kindergarten Book Study: Counting and Number Recognition

Ready for Kindergarten book

Parents, teachers and caregivers of young children, I am recommending a new book for you to add to your library!  Ready for Kindergarten!: From Recognizing Colors to Making Friends, Your Essential Guide to Kindergarten Prep by Deborah J. Stewart, MEd is the perfect resource for those wanting practical insight into preparing children for success in kindergarten.  Deborah shares information about things children should know and how parents and caregivers can help.  With each idea, the book describes “What Your Child Should Know”, “How You Can Help” and “Reflect, Revise, Revisit.”

For the book study, we are focusing on Counting and Number Recognition (a subsection of Chapter 10: The Core Concepts).  Be sure to read to the end, as then you will have a chance to WIN a FREE COPY of Ready for Kindergarten!

What Your Child Should Know: Counting Objects

Rote counting (verbal counting by memory, starting at “one” and going up) and counting objects (one-to-one correspondence) are actually two different sets of skills, as Deborah points out in this chapter. Both require interest by the child and a means to practice developing these skills.  We’ll be focusing on interactive ideas to help children practice counting objects.

How You Can Help: Using Games and Stories that Involve Counting

When integrating the use of numbers and the process of counting with real life objects and experiences, your child will develop a lasting knowledge and meaningful understanding of counting and number recognition.  — Chapter 10, Ready for Kindergarten

When it comes to finding opportunities to practice counting objects with your preschooler, it’s almost limitless!  You can count dandelions as you pick them outside, toy cars as you play, or Lego bricks as you build – real life objects that have meaning to a preschooler.  Find topics and items that your preschooler or class is interested in, and find ways to incorporate counting of those objects.  Here are a few ideas!

Count a seed pumpkin game

Using real pumpkin seeds and paper pumpkin cutouts, have each child take a turn rolling the die and counting the number of dots they have rolled.  Then they put that same number of pumpkin seeds on their paper pumpkin.


Counting and graphing leaves

Go on a nature walk and collect a variety of different colored leaves.  Have each child choose a favorite and then graph those on a board by color – and then count how many of each color you have.


Using a story

Read “The Leaves are falling one by one” by Steve Metzger, and have a small amount of leaves (real or construction paper cutouts).  As you count the leaves in the story, tape a leaf to a chalkboard or posterboard, so children can see how the number of leaves increases.  Have them count along with you.

What Your Child Should Know: Number Recognition

Number recognition (ability to recognize numerical symbols such as 1, 2, 3) is yet a different skill than rote counting and counting objects.  But all these skills wind up being combined as children learn to recognize numbers. Deborah identifies that a child being able to recognize numbers 0 through 1 by kindergarten lays a solid foundation for continued counting and number learning as they enter school. 

How You Can Help: Using Play and Stories that Feature Numbers

I think of it as “number literacy”.  Those who work in education know that the more a child is exposed to stories and print, the better chances of success a child will have when learning to read.  Let’s do the same with numbers, by exposing children to what numbers look like through fun activities and books!

Play dough fun (and more) with Math Mats

Preschoolers can practice number recognition and counting with these mats using play dough and a variety of other different materials. Providing different materials at different times can reinforce and scaffold learning.

math mats

Have preschoolers attempt to recognize numbers (particularly when they are not in numerical order). Identify the number and then use play dough or other small material to count out that number.

Using a story

Read simple books with your child that involve the creative use of numbers. Choose books that are about topics she’ll find interesting and fun to read.— Chapter 10, Ready for Kindergarten

Read “Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons”, which uses numbers and the concept of counting backwards, as Pete looses his buttons.  Even though they count backwards in the story, you can use the concept of counting forwards as children help figure out how many buttons Pete has left.  AND, the story shows each number big and bold for children to learn to recognize!  So again, even though number recognition and counting are separate skills, they go hand-in-hand.

Pete the Cat

To add a hands-on component to this story, you can try this idea.  Before you read, print out shirt clipart (or do a freehand drawing) onto some yellow cardstock or construction paper to look similar to Pete’s shirt in the story.  Have children put 4 circle/dot stickers on their OWN shirt (you can put 4 dots on each circle with a marker to make them look more like a button, if you wish). I also put 4 sticker buttons on my shirt as well. As you read the story and Pete looses a button, have the children take one of their sticker buttons off their shirt and put it onto their yellow paper coat. Have them count how many buttons they have left on their own shirt – to go along with how many buttons Pete has left on his shirt.  Be sure to point out the written number in the book after the children figure it out, so they start to associate the number with the numeric symbol.  It’s a very fun story and a great read-aloud that children will want to hear more than once!

Reflect, Revise, Revisit:  Independent exploration

After playing counting and number games or reading a number story – make the materials accessible for children to explore independently later.  Use clear contact paper and laminate the math mats and put them in the play dough area.  Or laminate Pete’s yellow shirt and put it in the reading center along with the book and stickers.  Leave a cup of pumpkin seeds, pumpkin shaped cut-outs and a die in the math center.  While observing your child/ren revisiting the materials, you can get a sense of how they are learning and developing those skills.

Enter to Win “Ready for Kindergarten”!

Now’s your chance … want a copy of Deborah’s book?  Here’s what you do …

  • POST A COMMENT here on this blog post.  Share a counting or number recognition activity or let me know how you would use this book in your home or school.
  • Be sure to enter a correct email address when entering, as this is how the winner will be notified.

Give-Away Rules

  • The give-away will close on Sunday, September 82013 by 8pm EST.
  • The winner will be selected by Random Generator.
  • The winner will be notified by email and must respond within 48 hours from notification or a new winner will be chosen.
  • The winner will need to provide a shipping address when they respond to the email.
  • Deborah Stewart will send the winner of this give-away one copy of the book!  If you ask her, she will even sign it for you!!
  • No entries will be accepted by email, on Facebook or any other forum. YOU MUST LEAVE YOUR COMMENT BELOW ON THIS POST TO ENTER.
  • This give-away is void where prohibited by law.

Congratulations to Susie (comment #23)!  Thank you for entering!

Deborah’s book now available on Barnes & Noble and Amazon

Ready for Kindergarten

 You can learn more about the book or go ahead and purchase a copy of Ready for Kindergarten!: From Recognizing Colors to Making Friends, Your Essential Guide to Kindergarten Prep online!

Disclosure: The author of Ready for Kindergarten! is providing a copy of the book for the giveaway. All opinions expressed in this post are mine. The SEEDS Network, LLC is a member in the Rakuten LinkShare Affiliate Network


  • Carla

    I taught kindergarten and 1st grade before I stayed home with my 4 sons. Now that the youngest (nearly 6 1/2) is in school full-time, I will be working on my plans to open a nursery/preschool. Our district does NOT have full-time kindergarten (sadly) so I plan to offer a kindergarten-extension program. Deborah’s book will absolutely come in handy not only for me as a teacher to prepare these youngsters for Kindergarten, but for the parents in my program to assist their children at home in preparation. I would be thrilled to win a copy!! Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Vicky Merrifield

    After 30+ years taking care of children in my home, I developed my own pre-school curriculum, using educational websites as a base, and last year began teaching the kids I care for. I now have 7 kids, ages 2-5 that I am preparing for kindergarten (and life). Teach Preschool is one of my favorite sites and Deborah a valuable mentor. I would love to win a copy of her book. Thanks!

  • Verlina

    I’m a new Pre4 teacher. I’d love to have this resource!
    Thanks for the tips you shared.

  • Anna C.

    I have 2 kids one is currently in kindergarten and the other is in preschool that we do at home. I still enjoy working with my oldest at home as well to give her some extra practice and prepare her better for the rest of the school year. This would be great for both my kids and help with coming up with more ideas for them. One of their favorite counting activities is counting out the silverware. My youngest especially enjoys doing that every day for me. They both also like pointing to the numbers as I read Chicka Chicka 1 2 3 to them.

  • Crystal

    Love Teach Preschool. I teach at a small play based farm preschool and we would love a copy of this book. I use a lot of dice games with manipulatives based on our themes. I use dice with both numerals and dots to help with both one to one and numeral recognition and then they count out manipulatives to match the number. I like to combine as many skills as possible.

    Sometimes we even pick up manipulatives with tweezers to increase fine motor 🙂

  • Paula Salmela

    I absolutely love Teach Preschool! I visit the page
    multiple times a day. There are so many wonderful
    ideas! I would be thrilled to receive a copy of
    Deborah’s book. A counting activity we recently did
    was “Feeding the Penguins”. It was a big hit with
    my preschoolers. We used laminated cut out penguins
    and goldfish crackers. Each penguin had a number
    on the foot and children had to “feed” it the correct number
    of fish. When they finished they got to eat some fish too 🙂

  • Donna

    Hi-I have been involved in Early Childhood Education for the past 30 years. I am a dedicated Pre-K teacher who believes that the children are the curriculum. I create a fun loving and lively classroom where the children can learn about their world with a hands on approach. I found the Teach Preschool website last year. I have been following Deborah ever since. I would love to visit her school:) I have been using many of her activities and made some of her DIY games. I also try to incorporate the Reggio practices, documenting our classroom journey and children’s learning. I am a die-hard Pre-K fan who does what it takes to prepare the children in my class for kindergarten and beyond. Her book will be shared with parents and my colleagues.It will help us all to reinforce the love of learning and putting the FUN back into going to school. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas!

  • nassiha

    I am an internship student in one of the school. In helping the children to get learn, I need to think many ways to make the learning process become more attractive, meaningful, and knowlegeble for the children.
    I`m also have a dream in changing the perception of parent and teachers in my country about making the children learning in fun ways rather than only used the old methods in the wosksheets only.
    I found Teach Preschool had helped me so much in encouraging and change the learning to time for the children to learn and making them to be unpatiently wait for the next activity. thank you to the person and people that develop this page. thank you once again

    • Laura Eldredge

      Nassiha … how wonderful that you have been helped by Teach Preschool, and that you have a dream and vision for education in your country! Best of luck with your internship, and good luck with the giveaway!

  • Laura H

    I would love to use this book to be sure my children are ready for school! We do a little preschool time each day in the morning, but I would love to have some more guidance as to what I should be doing. I use a lot of activities I find on Pintrest for our preschool, so I would love to be sure I am doing a good job of getting them ready!

  • Becki W

    I’m currently a teacher of 3/4 year old children. I love the Teach Preschool website/blog and am constantly using her ideas in my classroom! This would be an awesome resource to have to build on the activities I already do! One of the number games we play each Christmas is rolling a die and then putting that amount of bows on our Christmas “presents” (the presents are laminated squares and rectangles that have been decorated to look like gifts). Sometimes we use two dice, sometimes one, and sometimes dice with the numerals on them. I introduce the activity during large group time then leave it out for a center! I’m keeping my fingers crossed I win this giveaway!

    • Laura Eldredge

      I like your present game with the bows, and how can you scaffold the game using two dice to add more challenge when they are ready! Fingers crossed for you – good luck Becki!

  • Lindsey

    I would love to have this book, I stumbled upon Teach Preschool through Pinterest, my son is currently in a pre-k program, and I would love to have an insight to what I should be looking for and how I can help his readiness for the large step ahead!

  • Isabel Zito

    I am a former elementary education teacher who has returned to teaching after being home for many years with my own children. I used to teach 2nd and 5th grade and am now teaching at a preschool–4 year old students–and this wonderful book would be invaluable to me as I start along the path of working with younger children. Thank you for the opportunity.

  • Nichole

    Teach Preschool is one of my favourites sites too so I imagine Deb’s book will be full of ideas. I’m a big fan of using books as prompts. They provide a great source of invitations to play much like the one pictured in this post.

  • Adelene

    A good book to share; simple,measurable, achievable

  • Lora Graham

    Great ideas. I’d love to win the book. I’m always looking for ways to make learning fun for my boys.

  • Carrie Luna

    I have an in home daycare business and am going to start teaching preschool! I LOVE Teach preschool blog. I get a lot of my ideas and learn a lot from Teach preschool, so I think having the book would be great asset to my preschool and to my parents.
    Thank you so much for the opportunity:)

  • chanda

    I operate a small daycare, 6 kids from my home for the last 7 years. Over those years my ideas about early child care have changed (for the better) especially after graduating. I believe in a curriculum that is child lead and have truly loved looking into your classroom and seeing how you engage your students and provide an inviting environment that encourages play (and learning). My 3/4 years are really into patterns right now so (AAB). On our last walk to collect leaves we made a chart of leaves, leaves acorn….thank you for being such a wonderful resource!!!

  • Dianne Dobson

    I really enjoy all of the Teach Preschool posts and hope to add more fun math games. We have a people counter who counts the people in the class to see if we are all here. We also wish them well when they are absent or have a boo boo!

  • Sandy Milan

    This book would really come in handy. I currently teach a 3’s, 4’s and a young 5’s class. Every year we have made up our own testing to see if a child is ready to move on to Kindergarten. Currently I have been using information from several different online websites, books I have purchased and the mailbox magazines.
    A book is really needed that teaches directly to the student so they will be property prepared for kindergarten. I love teaching preschool and am ALWAYS looking for new ideas and techniques. All of the ideas of yours that I have already seen looked great!

  • Nancy

    As a director of an inclusionary early childhood education center, I love learning new things to teach my staff. I have been in this field over 35 yrs and there are always new things to learn. I do professional development for my staff and this book sounds like it might have some new ideas for me to add to my presentations. My preschool teachers are always looking for new ideas and I will be introducing them to this website!

  • khusnul khotimah

    I was joint in the teach preschool for quite long time until I read your post about this link. Thank you for letting me getting the wonderful resources in all time. I have found and operate the play group with 20 childs since several years ago. In the beginning of August 2013 some mothers in our neighborhood ask me to operate the kindergarten also. So I need the reference before I decide to start the kindergarten in near future time or later. I think your book will be very meaningful for me in the context.

  • Jody Morrow

    I am a 5 K teacher. I love doing count around with my children. We get in a circle and starting with zero and count to 20 at the beginning of the year. Each child gets a number to count but has to think when it is their turn what number is next for them to count. I would love to learn more fun learning games with this book. Thanks

  • Susie Fleenor

    I love Teach Preschool and have implemented many of Deborah’s ideas and printables. I would definitely share her book with some of our newer teachers who seem to be using worksheets instead of hands on activities. The 4-H program here offers schools the opportunity to hatch chicken eggs. During that time we play a game with egg cartons and plastic eggs. The children take turns rolling the die to fill up the egg carton. The students love it!

  • Gayle Morris

    I am an Assistant Principal at a Primary School and would love to share this book with our preschool teachers. Each week we meet to discuss curriculum. This would be a great resource to include. Thanks Deborah!