|Until the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test® was adopted by the New York School District we hadn’t often been asked for recommendations for children as young as three. If you are in New York with a child with a 2005 birthday being tested for kindergarten placement (assuming that New York follows the same procedure that they did in 2008) they will be taking the OLSAT® Level A individually with a proctor. They will only be given the first 40 questions (the full test has 60 questions). It is a multiple-choice test. The children indicate their answers by shading a bubble underneath the picture they choose on the question paper (they don't fill in a scantron form). The test proctor reads the instructions, questions and answers once only. Listening is very important.
While your child will take the same test as all the other children born in 2005 their performance will be compared with that of children in a three month band. A child born in December 2005 will have the opportunity to answer questions of the same difficulty as those presented to a child born in January 2005 but won't need to get as many right to get the percentile ranking required to be identified as gifted.
A difficulty we have in making recommendations is that we don't know at which point in the year you're reading this.
The recommendations on this page are intended for parents of three year old children looking ahead to OLSAT® testing this year. If you're starting early in the year your child will probably be ready to move on to our higher level recommendations prior to testing but the suggestions here are a good place to start.
You know your own child best. If anything looks too easy (or too difficult) browse other titles in the same series at higher (or lower) levels.
Click on "more info" at the end of each brief product description and view the sample activities. If they look really easy you may prefer to browse our OLSAT® Pre K recommendations.
Start at your child's level and don't push them past the point where it's fun and they're learning.
For the OLSAT® you want to expose your children to verbal, aural, arithmetic, pictorial and figural reasoning activities. The Building Thinking Skills series is a great place to start for verbal and figural reasoning. Add to that Can You Find Me? for pictorial and aural reasoning and Mathematical Reasoning for arithmetic reasoning and you're well placed. The LUK Learning System adds another dimension introducing independent learning and concentration building activities.
First Step to Building Thinking Skills
is a kit containing manipulatives and a book of spatial analysis and phonemic awareness activiites at a level suitable for the typical 3-4 year old. The variety of hands on learning opportunities provided by the kit make it a good choice for a young child.
Building Thinking Skills Beginning
is at a similar level with a different focus. It teaches figural and verbal analysis. Manipulative blocks are not required for Building Thinking Skills Beginning but are a recommended extra. Young children learn through play and the manipulative blocks provide tools or learning about shape, size, color, thickness, orientation, sequencing, pattern completion and much more.
You don't need both First Step to Building Thinking Skills and Building Thinking Skills Beginning. It depends on your child. Are they ready to sit with a book or would they learn more effectively with a variety of activities using cards and shapes and a geoboard?
Can You Find Me? Pre K is a great choice to use for listening and reasoning. For testing it will be important that your child stays focused and listens to the instructions, questions and answer options.
While there is no math per se in the OLSAT® questions on arithmetic reasoning are included at this level. As an illustration a question might ask the child to identify the picture of flower with two more flowers than the first picture. The Mathematical Reasoning series has more math that you'll need but it develops this type of reasoning skill. Your child may need to start with Mathematical Reasoning Beginning 1 (numbers up to 5)or may be ready for Mathematical Reasoning Beginning 2. Again we recommend looking at the sample pages and trying the activites with your child to help you make a decision as to level.
The LUK Learning System is a recent addition to our product line. Developed in Germany the LUK system systematically teaches children core thinking skills like visual discrimination, memory training, concentration, association, vocabulary, visual-spatial awareness, differentiation, logical thinking, comparison, correlation and so much more. The Bambino level would be the place to start.
If you have some time we offer book bundles containing the titles recommended and others utilizing the skills in different contexts. The Pre K Book Bundle and Manipulative Block Set are good choices for a three year old.
If you are in New York your child will be taking the Bracken School Readiness Assessment (BSRA) in addition to the OLSAT®. Mathematical Reasoning Beginning and Can You Find Me? Pre K are great choices for this. If you read more about the BSRA you'll see that our recommendations there are very similar to those for the OLSAT®. The range of products sold here was chosen because of their ability to build thinking skills. The fundamental concepts that the BSRA tests for are integrated into the thinking skills activities included in the various products.
OLSAT® and Otis-Lennon School Ability Test® are registered trademarks of NCS Pearson (previously Harcourt Assessment Services). The recommendations made here are those of Think Tonight and are not endorsed by NCS Pearson.