Originally Posted by moominmamma
Do you have evidence that it is easiest to learn to read early? I've never seen any. I've seen evidence that if a child is in school and doesn't learn "on time" that there are negative emotional and self-esteem repercussions of being subjected to a curriculum that moves relentlessly forward on the assumption that literacy has been attained. But that's a problem with school's assumptions (one not applicable in a homeschooling situation) and not evidence of waning literacy learning ability. In fact, in Scandinavian and eastern European nations where literacy instruction is delayed until age 7 or 8, literacy rates are higher and literacy-related learning disability rates are lower.
Well, sounds like Sweden is doing something right! I don't live in Scandinavia, though, I live in the U.S. and my children are not home schooled--other than in the "pre-kindergarten" years. "Forty percent of 8-year old Americans can't read independently, according to U.S. government statistics," says Robert Titzer in his YBCR "Parent's Guide" He is a researcher, so I'm sure he has referred to many studies regarding infant learning. There are 13 "references" in the back of his "Parent's Guide"
One he refers to in his parent's guide is "A comprehensive and longitudinal (long-term) study (Stainthorp, R. and D Hughes, 2004) contrasted early readers and regular students. The differences between early readers and regular students didn't level out. Instead, early readers improved their skills at a faster pace, causing an increaase in the gap between the two groups in reading and language arts and also led to improvements in other subjects. This is often called the "Matthew Effect," where the "rich" learners get richer and the "poor" learners get poorer.(Stanovich, K.E., 1986)" The accompanying chart is also shown on the yourbabycanread.com website.
Honestly, I put more faith into my own experience than "study results" and I think most people should. If you are getting good results from what you are doing and are happy, why do anything differently? I have seen too many school-aged children struggling with reading to take a chance that maybe my child would be in the 60% of 8-year olds who are able to read independently. It was my choice to take advantage of my children's interest and their neuro-plasticity and I have no regrets, and neither do my kids.
I read David Elkind's "Miseducation-Preschoolers At Risk" 20+ years ago and I agree that preschooler's shouldn't be pressured. That takes all the fun out of learning. I feel, however, that they suffer more from pressure when they are 8, 9, 10 and aren't able to easily do their schoolwork, than they would at age 3, sitting on their mom's lap happily looking at flashcards, pictures, and books, or sitting in front of the tv watching interactive educational video for a half-hour twice a day.