“When young children are asked to do a paper-pencil task, some will succeed and some will be less successful. The successful children may truly comprehend the task or may simply have guessed correctly. The less successful ones often learn to think of themselves as failures, and ultimately may give up on school and on themselves.” (Katz & Chard, 1989)
I believe there are many more exciting and active ways for children to begin to learn about letters and words, vocabulary and comprehension besides worksheets. A child can be exposed to a print-rich environment instead where s/he is:
- read to daily,
- sees items labeled in his/her home,
- is encouraged to read Environmental Print (signs on stores and restaurants, labels of food items, brands on clothes etc.)
- has opportunities to explore writing on their own.
In these various ways a child can “see” that learning to read and write is fun, interesting and very relevant to their daily lives. Lived experience is something that no worksheet can give you.
According the Susan Bredekamp, “worksheets and workbooks should be used in schools only when children are older and more developmentally ready to profit from them. “ Worksheets can be used to encourage a child to write down what happened in an activity, for example, to record how many different kinds of leaves they found in the backyard. Within these guidelines, there are no “right or wrong” answers and worksheets do not “measure” success or failure.
The problem with worksheets, according to Sue Grossman, Ph.D, is that they tend to have a “right answer.” The child may “learn quickly that putting down a wrong answer is emotionally costly. Worksheet activities may make her feel ignorant or incompetent, so that she learns to stop taking risks by guessing.”
In my website Two2Read.com, worksheets are not part of the program. Instead, the program presents many different ways for your child to learn to write and record information.
What are your feelings about the use of worksheets?