or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Very Early Reading - Page 2

post #21 of 35
mamaat40, I think that any system like the one you describe would be fine if used in play and exploration. Personally, I wouldn't set aside time to use flashcards in that manner, but I'd let my child play with them and enjoy matching and sorting them - which is what they like to do with picture dominoes etc. If it is play, then it is going to be an enriching experience. If a child is interested, he or she will want to get out the cards and play with them, if he isn't, then maybe the time isn't right.

I would be extremely wary of cards using phonics with very young children. As somebody else said, early readers learn by whole word recognition - they tend to be strongly visual learners who can easily learn to recognise the shape of a word. These children usually have to learn phonics at a later stage. (I didn't learn phonics until I was in college, they were a mystery to me as I was an early whole-word reader). Peronally, I don't think that 'teaching' reading using phonics has a place in the very early years. A phonic sound with its spelling is an abstract concept that doesnt have a place in the very early years, in my opinion.

The brain is phenomonal and we are only just discovering what it can do. There is no reason to assume that even children who are not naturally visual learners cannot learn to recognise whole words if they are exposed to them. It makes sense to use family names etc first. Dd learned to read my name from a name badge at our music class. The first I realised it, was when she started spelling it out on the fridge with her fridge magnets when we got home! Now she can recognise our family names and picks out words like 'daddy' and 'mummy' from books of her own accord.

I have no doubt that these systems work, but I think that they should be play and discovery based, not used in an overly structured manner. And above all, the child has to learn to love books, otherwise the motivation to learn to read independently is not going to be there.
post #22 of 35
Thanks Parismaman, SeaMama and Britishmum for the words of wisdom......being read to, around books a lot, love of books most important. Of course I want ds to balance emotional intelligence too, and the more i thought about my friend and her situation with her son the early reader, something about how structured and invested she was in him being an early reader seemed a little off to me. Whereas just following your child's lead and perhaps playing with words and letters now seems more natural --- thanks!
post #23 of 35
mamaat40 - how wise you are!

Playing with letters satisfies that part of dd that wants to learn to read. We've ended up with letters on the fridge, abc puzzles, letters in the bath, two sets of alphabet bricks - in fact, letters all over the house! This has come from her, since she grabbed the first set in a toy shop and wouldn't let go. They are a 'toy' like anything else, she gets them out as she would get out the lego or her dolls to play.

This is so important, by handling the letters themselves she is using the sense of touch and learning kinesthetically, not just visually. Within a couple of weeks she could name all of them, which pleased her enormously. Now, of her own accord, she will sort out all the letter Bs from each set, or all the pink letters, or bring me some of the letters from my name or her name, etc etc.

I see nothing wrong with providing these materials as toys, even if your child doesn't ask for them, and incorporating them into his or her play. But that is different to going through flashcards with a tiny tot. Children learn through play, so I would tap into that natural propensity to learn, not use a formal system.

Flashcards can be fun - we have a set from Baby Einstein of animal photographs, but they need to be kept for play, in my opinion. And alongside all this, reading, reading and more reading!
post #24 of 35

Social Skills

Hello everyone, I have been working as a preschool teacher for eight years, and I have seen a lot of amazingly bright children. Children that are very bright seem to be able to absorb knowledge naturally from the world around them. A sensitive preschool teacher will keep bright children stimulated by monitering their interests and providing them with experiences to nurture thier natural instinct for learning. That being said, the most important learning that occurs in the preschool years is the aquiring of social and emotional skills that enable the child to deal with others in an empathic manner. Children, no matter how bright, need to learn how to deal with other human beings in a compassionate environment. To me this is more important than whenther or not a child is being stimulated cognitively.
post #25 of 35
zipworth!! Where were you when I was in preschool??? Are there more of you? If yes, will you send some here? Perhaps there are even college professors?? The teachers here seem only interested in making 'good, hard workers' to work in tomorrows low paying jobs.

I think what you said is sooo important. If teachers were this way in every grade/level of education, imagine the difference. Children who were not shunned/shamed and could develop their full intelligence.

Well, this is probably a different thread, so just to stay on topic, I was also an early reader. For third grade I did my book report on a VC Andrews book I had found on the street, talk about watching what your children are reading LOL! I went to a Catholic school, so you can just imagine the consequences of that.

I agree with earlier posts regarding rounding out one's education. Or at least working a little harder on the weaker aspects.
post #26 of 35
Zipworth, I love what you said! My ds (very early reader - reading at 4th-6th grade level now) is graduating from preschool this week and starting k-garten in the fall. The reason we sent him to preschool is to become socialized, because he went in being pretty much "ready" for kindergarten scholastically, but he definitely needed socializing and the 2 years he has been there have accomplished just that. It seems that for many people these days, preschool has become "prep school" for kindergarten, academically speaking, and then I think you lose out on those wonderful few years where school is pure fun.
post #27 of 35
Zipworth - I totally agree.

What does worry me though is that so many people seem to think that cognitive development and social learning have to be mutually exclusive - ie that if a child is learning to read and write early, they must be missing out on play and developing social skills.

The 'I want my child to play and not be made to learn' attitude misses the point, in my opinion. Work and play are the same thing, and different children have different play - or work - needs. You can't 'make' a child learn anyway, what you do is offer the stimulating curriculum and let them follow their natural course - which is to learn!

A good preschool caters for all aspects of child development and treats children as individuals. I like your description of a sensitive preschool teacher very much!
post #28 of 35
I also think Zipworth's description of preschool is wonderful. I attended a wonderful preschool that definitely supported my ability to learn instead of TEACHING. One of the things about it that I appreciate most in retrospect is that the unstructured part of each session, between the structured activities at beginning and end, was called Work Time. We could work at drawing pictures, running, observing the gerbils, doing puzzles, dressing dolls--the work of children.

I was a precocious reader, too. I think my parents did a good job of encouraging my interest without pressuring me. One of my earliest clear memories is learning to read, when I was 3. I had figured out that the words on the page somehow told the adults what the story said, but it hadn't occurred to me that I could learn that ability (I thought it was one of those things that would show up when I became an adult, like breasts) until we were at a yard sale and I asked my dad about a particular book, and he said, "That's a book that's used to teach children to read." I then insisted on having this book. My dad told me the title, Tip (which turned out to be the name of the dog featured in the book), and I guess the fact that it was just one word and the fact that I knew a book's title was printed on the cover combined so that I suddenly understood that the word on the cover of this book was the word Tip. I was enthralled! I went thru the whole book, finding Tip every time it appeared. I wouldn't let my parents read me the book; I insisted I was going to read it myself, and they humored me; every so often I would ask them to identify another word, and then I would go thru the book again with one more word I could read. I remember being so pleased to realize that the capital letter I when used all by itself was the word "I"! After a few days of being obsessed with this project, totally self-motivated, I could read that whole little book, and I just kept going from there. My parents claim (I don't remember this) that they came home from something once and found the babysitter struggling to respond to my demand that she spell "bicentennial" with the fridge magnets.

Not only did my parents not make a big deal of my learning to read, but they discouraged me from being stuck-up about it. Whenever I was acting superior to a kid who couldn't read, they would point out something the other kid could do that I couldn't, like jump rope. "Everyone is really good at something," they said. It was a much better attitude than that of one friend's mother, who seemed to take her daughter's athletic prowess for granted but was constantly raving about my reading. Not only did she say to her daughter, "Why don't you have Becca teach YOU to read?" but once she called me into the living room when they had guests and showed me off to the guests by having me read from her much-older daughter's textbook. (I didn't understand what I was reading, but I did my best to pronounce the words.) That hardly boosted my self-esteem, because although the adults were impressed, they were looking at me as if I were in a side-show! Ironically, what I'd been doing when my friend's mother had summoned me for this performance was reading a story to my friend, who loved it because her parents and siblings never read to her....:

Anyway, I think it's important to provide resources for kids to explore their interests and to give them help when they ask for it ("What's this word?") but refrain from making a big deal out of it. Let them know you're proud of what they've learned, but don't suggest what they should tackle next; just let it come naturally. Sounds like all of you with precocious kids are doing well at that so far!
post #29 of 35
Envirobecca - what a wonderful memory you have, and how well your parents dealt with your abilities.

I recall as a child being told to 'put that book down' and 'come outside and play like all the other children' - like I was some sort of oddball. It did nothing for my self-esteem, and made me even more reluctant to go outside and play!

I hope with my children that I will be able to appreciate that they have their own interests and preferences, and be comfortable in supporting them in what they want to do. It can be hard when their choices aren't necessarily what you think they 'should' be - but parenting is one big learning experience!
post #30 of 35

that is fantastic!

wow! Alex mostly will just pull the book away from me and wants to hold it himself. i am thinking of getting 2copies of some books, so he can hold one while i read.

you are lucky that much interest is being expressed!!!!

go with it!

i'd read to that baby all the time! how great!
post #31 of 35
My daughter has had a lot of word recognition since 24 months. Meaning she sounds out printed words she's never seen before.

I'm personally so sensitive about assigning labels like "advanced" or "gifted," etc.--and I actually limit her exposure to academically-oriented things (like reading) on purpose. That is to say, we read books together, but it's not a competitive exercise where I do it for her to "be ahead" of her peers. I know people like this--it's hard for me to be around them. My opinion is that they (toddlers) will learn anything you teach them, but it may not be the best for their particular stage in development.
post #32 of 35
My oldest was an early reader by age 3 reading primers. Because I had been a ps reading teacher and he seemed to want to read I taught him his basic sight vocabulary right away. It worked to homeschool him at home through preschool years, we did montessorri later so he could be with kids in a wide range of abilitites so he was not looked at as a freak/unusual, he was in 6-12 year old room by age 6 and worked with the 12 year old materials and friends but interacted with his age peers as well. We tried public schools but he did not fit in very well with his age group and was not challenged at all even by advanced classes.
Something common among kids that are very gifted is a lack of social skills. A popular point of view among some public school teachers is that early readers do have some advantage, but that by 3rd grade most children are on equal footing as far as reading skills. There are some really wonderful books about gifted kids out there and how to meet their special needs.
Another consideration is my son is now extremely nearsighted- he reads HOURS each day for the last 9 years, I did not take care to ensure he was getting large enough print early on and adequate light at night reading in bed.
He also read things that caused him a great deal of grief and worry, like an AIDS poster above a water fountain at a public place when he was 5, way too young to have to worry about AIDS. Be on guard with your young reader to look carefully at his world, not just prereading his books, but like the other poster said, watching not to leave the newspaper around, my son would also check our quicken and worry about the checking account if he could see that while I was typing on the computer screen. He even found and read the mortgage papers on our home.
Now we are homeschooling him again, he is happy with that. He is 13 and started some college classes this year. Based on my experiences with my oldest, we have not taught or pushed our younger children into reading just let it come slowly. I do not see it as a big advantage in any way.
post #33 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for you replies and discussion. It has been a few months and we are getting more used to the idea that dd has a different way of learning. We are also less concerned about the well rounded part when it comes to her other interests. She is falling into a pattern of having a topic to obsess over until she feels she's mastered it. We are just getting out of a water phase. lo. It was kind of ...well...wet!

Our main concern now is the social structure of most class rooms. Dh and I experienced the trouble of being the 'smart' kids in school. It sucked because we stuck out like sore thumbs in academics, but still had the same social and emotional needs as other children. We are not entirely happy with how our childhood educations were handled. So here we are reseaching the options early for dd in hopes of making entirely new and different mistakes than our parents and teachers made with us. :
post #34 of 35
I have some points from my childhood. I read really early too. I always loved books, and my parents did the 'Teach Your Baby To Read' with me (not diligently, but just for fun). When I was 4.5 I read all of the Little House on the Prairie series. It benefitted in some ways. I coslept with my folks and the whole reason I left their bed so early was because I wanted to stay up late with my reading light reading! I loved reading. However I got labeled "gifted" upon entering school. None of my teachers expected anything out of me because they just expected I knew it. I got wisked through school not having to so much as bring home a book, even from Advanced Placement classed, cause the teachers figured I knew it all and spent time with the kids that were having trouble. So I hit college not having a clue how to study and I sunk. It took me a year to realize that while I had great potential, but all that meant squat if I could study and use it. So I see the labeling on kids a certain way could be damaging. A little story on the other end: A kid a went to school with, Jeff, was labeled in grade school as ADHD and leanring disabled, etc. A few years later they realized the problems he had were because he had a hearing loss. The school system already had it engrained in their head that he was a trouble maker, and he got crap all through school. One teacher actually told him he should just plan on working construction instead of taking the time to apply to college. Well he did, graduated with 4.0 in audiology, got into the best masters program in the nation, and is just completing his doctorate. When we have our ten year reunion I cannot wait to see the look on that teachers face (that told him not to apply to college) when his name is on the card as Dr. Jeff XXXXXXX. Oh the dangers of labeling.

My godness what a long post!. Sorry!
post #35 of 35
I was one of those kids taught to read at 2, and, well, I guess that the best way to say how I feel about it is that I will never do that to my own child.

Long story short, it caused me many more problems than it was worth. Yes, I'm a good reader, but I'm not the "genius" my parents and teachers thought I was at 6 -- and then were dissapointed that I turned out just to be "above average." : I had a really hard time fitting in with the other kids, and my school years weren't happy ones.

So in our house, there are lots of books to look at, but no flashcards. Ds knows the letters that make up his name, and he knows what the word "thomas" looks like -- his train is his favorite toy. I'm far more interested in him learning how to get along with other kids than I am with his learning his ABCs and 123s. The preschool I want to send him to next year is a play-based program.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Learning at Home and Beyond