Kumon First Steps Workbooks

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grass_tiger

  • Reviewed on Wednesday, February 11, 2009
  • Grades Used: Ages 2 & 3
  • Dates used: 2007-2009
These are wonderful! We started doing the first level books when my daughter was 2 years and three months old, and she loved them from day 1. When my daughter was 2 years and 10 months, she had a Occupational Therapy evaluation because I was concerned about her being over sensitive to sounds and such. But, instead of finding a problem, the OT was delighted with my daughter's abilities. Her skill with drawing lines, cutting, etc. surprised the OT. She was rated in excess of 6 months advanced in her fine motor skills. I credit it to doing these workbooks, because that is mostly the only fine motor stuff we did. Of course, the goal wasn't getting ahead at all, but if we had not had these workbooks I wouldn't have even have thought of putting a pair of scissors into my daughter's hands at that age. They gave us a clear path for a very slow and enjoyable advancement of skills. We are still using these workbooks twice a week to further her skills...and she still loves them!

The only problem we've run into so far is that the letters books don't give nearly enough practice for my daughter to remember how a letter is written. She loves tracing them (not ready to write them without tracing like in other books), but she would have liked more time on each. I will need to find a handwriting program at some point as this isn't enough.

hsisue1

  • Reviewed on Thursday, June 19, 2008
  • Grades Used: Preschool-age 4
  • Dates used: June 2008
I am reviewing Kumon's My First Book of Tracing Ages 2-3-4, My First Book of Easy Mazes Ages 2-3-4, My First Book of Uppercase Letters Ages 3-4-5, and My First Book of Numbers 1-30 Ages 3-4-5. These books are very easy to use from a teaching stand point, and very attractive to the child. The pages are well illustrated with nice colors and attractive pictures. There is plenty of space for tracing and/or writing. The instruction is very well planned from the simplest strokes to the more complicated. My daughter asks to do these workbooks, and usually wants to do several pages each time. I highly recommend all four and would not hesitate to purchase other Kumon books based on my experience with these. Please see specific reviews below:

The title for My First Book of Tracing is slightly misleading. This is not a book of dotted lines for the child to trace. It is a book of paths for the child to follow. The book begins with simple, straight lines working from left to right, then top to bottom. Next slanted and angled lines are introduced, followed by gently curving lines and near circular shapes. The book then moves on to very curvy lines, loops and zig-zags. As the book progresses, the exercises begin to look much like some of the mazes in My First Book of Mazes. The beginning skills (strokes) taught in My First Book of Tracing are a great foundation for learning letter formation (no letter formation is taught in this book). This book is delightfully illustrated in full color and with child friendly pictures that do not detract from the task.

My Book of Easy Mazes begins with a very simple, slightly curved caterpillar. The child starts at the mouth and follows the path to the star at the end. Early in the book the mazes involve simple curves, and zig-zags. In fact the initial 6 designs are so simple, I am hard pressed to call them mazes (but then again I am not age 2-3-4!). The mazes begin to look more like mazes as you move through the book and get progressively more difficult. There is always a wide path to follow, making it easier to stay between the lines. This book is designed to help the child who is just beginning to use a pencil gain greater control, however, it also promotes early logic/thinking skills. The level of the mazes makes it slightly more difficult than My First Book of Tracing. Again, the book is nicely illustrated with colors and child friendly pictures that do not distract from the task. The first few pages are full color, the remaining pages are varying shades of a single color (similar in style to a black and white photo) such as pink, gold, turquoise, green. This is my 4 year old's favorite of the Kumon books we've used.

As in the other Kumon books we've used, My First Book of Uppercase Letters is well laid out and sequential. The first step is practicing straight lines (top to bottom and left to right), next the child makes straight line letters, such as H, L, T, and a review of the letters learned thus far. The next section is slanted lines, followed by learning letters such as X, W, N, and more review. The book continues in this fashion with half circles (letters such as B, D, R), “S” patterns going in all directions (letters such as S, Q, O). The book concludes with several review/practice pages. This book is the least colorful, but still colorful enough to be attractive to children.

Finally, My Book of Numbers. This book begins with several appealing connect-the-dot (1-10) pictures that have large numerals and dots. These exercises have definitely improved my daughter's number recognition. Next the student begins to learn to write the number. The numbers (1-10) are presented one per page. Each page depicts the number with an illustration and dots For example, the number four page has a picture of four carrots and a picture of four dots. This allows the child to begin to clearly associate the correct quantity with the number being learned. Each page also contains space to practice writing the number multiple times with less “help” (starting point, arrows, dotted lines) each time. After learning 1-10, there is plenty of review and practice with writing and counting. Once the student has learned how to write 1-10, learning to write 11-30 is simple—the child already knows how to write the digits! The remainder of the book focuses on counting to 30, recognizing the numbers 11-30, and being able to place them in correct sequence.