Children typically love animals, so I always enjoy tapping into this interest by introducing farm animals and animal names. A majority of children only see farm animals on a visit to a farm or at a fair, which makes these animals all the more intriguing. For this reason, worksheets are an ideal (and convenient!) way to teach children about the variety of animals that live on a farm.
Start by showing your child the two animal name writing worksheets to introduce him to the name of each animal and the way that name is spelled. Point to each picture then to each word and read the word to your child. Then ask him to point to each letter and name it. To review the formation of each letter, your child may benefit from first using the pointer finger of his writing hand to pretend he is tracing over each letter. When he is comfortable with the formation of each letter, ensure he has the correct pencil grip and encourage him to begin tracing over each animal’s name. If necessary, you can refer to the tracing letters worksheets to help your child practice writing the letters.
The next set of worksheets are designed to encourage a discussion with your child about the role each animal plays on the farm. Let your child know how each animal provides either food or wool or is valuable in another way on a farm. For example, a pig provides meat, a chicken provides eggs, a rooster tells everyone when to wake up, and a horse is a working animal that helps a farmer do chores and travel around the farm. Direct your child to point to each picture on the page and say the animal’s name. Then, ask your child to go back to each picture and decide if the animal would live on a farm. He can use a pencil to draw a circle around the farm animals and draw an X over the animals that do not live on a farm.
The final two worksheets require your child to match the name of each animal to the appropriate picture. These cut and paste pages provide fun reading opportunities. Many of these animal names can be sounded out correctly and your child may be able to read them comfortably. For example, the words pig and cow follow all phonetic rules and have only a few letters to be sounded out.
If your child is not yet reading or just beginning to read, point to the initial letter in the word and ask your child to say the sound that the letter makes. Once your child identifies the beginning sound of the word, he will very likely be able to guess the animal name. Identifying the initial letter sound in an unknown word while looking at picture clues is a very effective strategy for beginning readers. In the classroom, I always encouraged my young students to use this strategy because it helped them succeed and gain confidence in their reading abilities.