“Hop on My Finger”

Isabelle was building an eight-block tall tower on the kitchen floor while the rest of us finished breakfast this morning. My mother-in-law asked her to count it. She started at the top, then went to the bottom. In the end, she landed up with nine blocks. Knowing she only had right blocks, my mother-in-law got out of her seat and crouched down next to Isabelle. “Hop on my finger and we’ll count the blocks together,” she said. My mother-in-law directed her to the top of the tower and began counting down (ie, in one direction) so the total would accurate.

Hop on my finger.

That was genius.

When my mother-in-law returned to the table, I asked about that phrase. She said it comes from the Reading
Recovery work she used to do with kids. (She’s a retired literacy coach, RR teacher, 1st and 3rd grade teacher.) She used that phrase when kids had trouble tracking the print on their own. She’d have them put their finger on top of her’s and they’d point to the first letter in each word together (to get them ready to make the first word with their voice).

Such a simple phrase, but so effective. I saw it work with Isabelle instantly (for counting). It’s a phrase I am definitely going to tuck in my personal toolbox.


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