ABC, Easy as 123

Whether we’re homeschooling our children, sending them off each morning to attend school, or working with our little ones to get them ready for kindergarten, all of us want to help encourage our children as they learn and grow. To give us tips and tricks to enhance academic success, we have brought Amy from on board. So join me in welcoming Amy.

teachmama profile-2

Amy is the creator of, and we teach. She’s a Reading Specialist, Literacy Consultant, and freelance writer who is always up for hanging out with her husband and their 6, 4, and 3 year olds, or chatting to anyone who will listen about books and learning. She’s a big fan of ice-cream, belly laughs, day trips, pilates, and cooking, and is still holding out for someone to paint flames on the side of her mini-van.

We teach our babies to eat, smile, and trust us. We teach our toddlers to talk, walk, and (okay, eventually) sleep on their own. We teach our kids to communicate effectively with others, we teach them manners, and we teach them to go off to preschool or daycare with confidence.

But I have found that many parents want to do more to support their children’s learning, and I think if parents knew what to do, they would do it.

magnetic letters

We put a lot of trust into our children’s teachers, but there’s also a ton of really easy, meaningful, and sneaky ways that parents can enhance their own children’s education at home in the form of games and play. With the right support, parents really can be fantastic teachers for their children, yielding a stronger school-ready foundation for their little ones and a little more intentional family time together.

What I do at my home–and what I share at–reflects some of the ways that I try to sneak in a little bit of learning every day for my three children, ages 6, 4, and 3. Believe me, I’m far from a perfect parent; I pray every day for patience and strength, and there are many days when our learning falls to the wayside, and I yearn for hour commute to anywhere.

abc hunt5-2But as a former high school English teacher and now a certified K-12 Reading Specialist, I know there are really easy ways of preparing my kiddos for school—or enhancing their learning at school–that sometimes takes all of five minutes of our day. And most times, my kids even realize they’re learning.

I’m totally psyched to be on board with 5 Minutes for and to be able to share some of these “teacher tricks” with the incredible community of readers here.

My plan is to write about what I’m doing—and what other parents can do—to better prepare their children for school.

Every other week, I’ll cover something relating to literacy–oral language, concepts of print, phonics, phonemic awareness, you name it. And I’ll introduce terms you’ll need to know to decode teacher jargon and to understand report cards.

Please feel free to send me your literacy-related or school-readiness questions and concerns, and I’ll try to help you as best as I can. Let me know you’re coming from 5 Minutes for Mom and reach me at teachmama(at)verizon(dot)net. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!


  1. says

    Amy, I am so excited for this new series and I want to thank you for joining us!

    I really need your tips and ideas to help me teach Julia and Sophia more at home. (I’m not a homeschooler… Julia goes to preschool and will be attending Kindergarten in the fall. Sophia will start preschool in the fall.)

    I find myself constantly wondering what more I can do to help them learn while playing and I know these posts are going to help so much.

    I’m also definitely going go to spend some time at your site.

    One concern I have is how to help teach my almost 5 year old to print her letters following the correct strokes… I’m not even sure how to describe that… does that make sense?

    For example, when Julia is writing her name, she especially struggles with the lowercase “a”. But she tends to want to just form it “her” way and not let me show her how it is supposed to be written. So far I haven’t wanted to discourage her independence and I haven’t worried that she’s not quite shaping the “a” correctly.

    But I’m wondering… how can I encourage her to shape her letters correctly and with the suggested strokes that the workbooks offer? When I try to do hand-over-hand, she tends to get upset and wants to do it herself.

    Thanks Amy!

  2. says

    Thanks, friends, for the warm welcome! I’m so happy to be here!

    Susan–I’ll write more about this later because so many people wonder the same thing (we’re so rarely alone in our parental questions/ struggles, right?), but essentially, kiddos need to be taught the ‘tripod’ grip–how to properly hold a pencil/ crayon/ etc. From there, there are ‘better’ ways of forming letters, which I’ll cover in another post. If children are correctly forming letters in their own style of writing, that’s one thing, but if they really are off and the letters are illegible, then it’s time for some help!

  3. says

    I was laid off last year in March so instead of sending my daughter to preschool, I’m homeschooling her. She’ll be starting kindy this fall. I have to admit it was no easy task teaching my daughter at first because I honestly didn’t know what to do or where to start off. I bought skill-building interactive cds from The Learning Company and lots of books for my daughter. I also relied on what I remembered my two eldest kids were taught when they were in preschool to teach my little one now. She can write her alphabet in upper and lowercase but I hope to learn from you future posts on how to improve how to properly teach her to write her letters properly. I look forward to learning tips and ideas from you.

  4. says

    Congratulations and good luck with your new position! As a mother of five and an educator, I am also trying to support parents in educating their children. My web site is at:

    Please take a look and let me know what you think!

    Lisa Cartolano
    Little Ones Education and Parenting Resource

  5. says

    I’m so excited to see you here! Congratulations!

    I do have one question that maybe you could address. My 3yr old is tending to use his left hand more and more often when grasping a crayon, paintbrush, or anything else remotely fine motor. My hubby and I are righties. How do I help him learn to write, hold a writing utensil, help him write and draw? I don’t want to teach him ‘incorrectly’ and find him having problems later on because I was working with him wrong.

    Thank you! Can’t wait to read more of your writing over here!

    Tricia (

  6. Liz says

    I cannot wait to read these. I have a 3 year old who wasn’t hearing the first 1+ years of life. We fixed that and then came the speech therapy. She is talking/learning/communicating where she should be now. I couldn’t believe all the things I learned throughout her therapy. I wish I had taken notes. I am going to start homeschooling my soon to be 3rd grader next year and I know my 3 and 2 year olds will want to join in. Easy, fun learning ideas for them will be soooo helpful!

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