Hey, I have an interesting question which I am x-posting in special needs forum, but thought the homeschoolers may have interesting insight as I had first read it here that it may be unwise to teach a child to read too early.
I have two sons ages 3.5 and 1.5. My 3.5yo has Down Syndrome. We started very early with him exposing him to the alphabet, letter sounds, introducing sight reading. Up until now we have done so very casually. He is not home taught, for now we have him in two different preschools. One is special ed (M,W,F), and the other (T, TH) is just a regular preschool. He is doing lots of pre-reading learning at his special ed school, and we have also begun a home learning program with him on a more formal basis. Kids with Down Syndrome tend to be very strongly visual and tactile learners, and learn to read best by sight reading. We feel like we are on the right track with him introducing reading early, so that is not my question.
What I am wondering is about my 1.5 year old. Learning in our home is very fun. We don't do any drills or flash cards. We mix things up quite a bit. We do use 15 minute DVD's with sight words and alphabet letters and sounds, and both boys watch them. In total we probably spend 20-25 minutes of time working on reading skills a day at home, about 4 days a week. That time is spent together and both boys enjoy it very much. If either of them is just not feelin' it, we skip it. Our 3.5yo is doing a great job picking up letter sounds and naming a few letters. What I had not intended to happen is that our 1.5yo is also picking up the letter names and in some case the sounds too. Is this okay? I mean, if it is a fun time together interacting with each other is it okay that he be learning this stuff? The program does not use phonics. It does sound out the words, but it is designed specifically for kids with Down Syndrome to teach them to sight read.
Our little guy is actually doing a lot of things early because he has kind of become the unintended participant in many of our older son's therapies. IDK, what do you guys think? He does pretend play very well, he seems emotionally very grounded, and a well rounded, spunky little guy. Anyway, I just wanted to know what other folks thought about this. Thanks!
Kim. My heart is full! Wife to Ray, Mama to 3 boys! "Big C", our boy with designer genes, "Little C", and "Baby M" 11/2010.