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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,<br><br>
I was just telling someone the other day about the theory I read on this board that kids are not ready to learn to read till their corpus collosum forms, and all the implications of that- when lo and behold my almost-three-year-old crossed her legs.<br><br>
I had just told someone that kids didn't do that till five or older, so I was suprised.<br><br>
Then I asked dd the next day to reach over her head and touch her opposite ear (I demonstrated) and she did that too, thought she had to reach behind her head a bit due to her arm being too short.<br><br>
So- if anyone out there has a toddler- how does the leg and arm crossing/corpus callosum forming/reading connection seem like it's going for you? Does anyone with older kids remember when their kid started doing those things and in what order.<br><br>
I was a very early reader- learned from Sesame street, and I remember a pic of me at like 4 or 5 in summer camp with all the other kids, and I was the only one with legs crossed. Not sure if that was connected.<br><br>
(The leg crossing thing may be solely a learned trait- maybe I did it early to copy my mom and dd is doing it early to copy me.)<br><br>
Interestingly- dd has recently started to "sound out" the pretend words she writes and her pre-writing is looking more like letters, though she still doesn't recognize any letters.<br><br>
I'm not pushing reading other than the occasional game and reading books together- but I find the brain development concept compelling and want to know if it feels true from others' experience.<br><br>
Thanks! Sorry so long!
 

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I've never heard of the leg-crossing sign. Do you mean sitting criss-cross? Dd has been able to do that for a long time, but she is not nearly a reader.<br><br>
She, at 4, is still reaching around the back of her head a bit to grab that ear <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Maybe I just got sitting cross legged in my head as a cross-body thing. I meant dd was sitting with one leg crossed over the other- the "lady-like" kinda way.<br><br>
So your daughter reaches behind her head too? I suppose it's a spectrum of development between not being able to cross body parts at all and having completed brain development.
 

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Er, what? My daughter started reading at 3 (easy words - cat, mat, etc that were phonetic, mostly spelled on the fridge). I started reading around that age too. We played games once or twice a week - no flashcards or that business. I think if a child shows interest, it's not pushing but following interest. Reading is one of the most wonderful things in life - I don't see it as "work." I imagine other parents probably feel that way about all sort of things - math, gardening, cooking, etc.<br><br>
My daughter does cross her legs when she sits on a chair on on the floor, but I supposed she was just copying me.<br><br>
I have never heard of this corpus thing, though. I think each child is on their own unique timeframe and it's not a good idea to either push forward or pull back.
 

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Hiya! I think it was me you were refering to who posted about the corpus collosum? My teacher did say that some of the children would grab their ears, but have to reach either around the front or back of their heads in order to do so <span style="text-decoration:underline;">before</span> the corpus collosum closed. Sounds like your kiddo is doing the same thing <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> She never mentioned sitting cross legged, but yes, it does sound like a body crossing thing. And of course her age ranges were meant for the majority of children, I read very very early, and I don't quite understand *how* but my 20 month old knows the differences between numbers and letters (he doesn't *know* which number is which, but if he sees a number in print he will point to it and start counting. He will not do this with normal alphabetic text). So there must be more to it than the brief one class lecture she gave.<br><br>
loraeileen, no worries! The corpus callosum is simply a band of tissue that grows in the brain and connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain. It does not finish growing until a child is about 4-6, and my teacher was speaking of the fact that children can *not* read until it is closed, and *has* been closed for at least a year, hence not until 5-7 years of age. She spoke very passionately about how stupid it is for preschools and kindergardens to push reading so hard on these children when for the vast majority of children it is not developmentally appropriate. She totally 100% agrees that learning to read should be following the child's interest. So this isn't about pushing children into reading prior to them being interested or ready but rather showing proof that children shouldn't be pushed and shoved into reading before they are ready.<br><br>
Oh I just did a search and it may not have been me who you were reading about this from, a few other posters have broght it up too. But anyways here's the thread I wrote about what the corpus callosum is in more detail if you're interested: <a href="http://mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=269633" target="_blank">http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...d.php?t=269633</a>
 

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(The link I provide below takes you to a pdf file, so don't click if you don't want to download! I swear I've seen a non-pdf form of this article, but I don't know where, and can't find it now.)<br><br>
This all reminded me of the article in a Waldorf newsletter on <a href="http://www.sacwaldorf.org/documents/PNInternetVersionOct132004.pdf" target="_blank">You and Your Child's Health</a>. The segment I'm referring to is about halfway through this 12 page newsletter. It, too, talks about the corpus collosum, and further ways (besides the reaching-over-the-head thing) to tell if a child is ready to learn to read. I thought the info about having to learn to read with the rightbrain, intuitive side if learning before the corpus collosum was closed was interesting. Sounds like some people easily make the switch when it eventually develops, while others don't.<br><br>
A couple of years ago I read a book entitled Smart Moves, which brought up a lot of the Brain Gym info. Does any of that touch on this subject? It was a library book, so I don't have it at hand to look at. I know Brain Gym has much about crossing the midline.
 

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I read the article. It's interesting but seems to imply that it's all but impossible to read before you can skip (among other things). Obviously not true since some kids learn to read before age 3. Clearly there's plenty we don't yet know about the brain and how it works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yep, the brain is largely uncharted.<br><br>
I was really struck by this when I took a neuroscience course. It was like learning the 5 things we actually know, and the rest was totally unknown.<br><br>
It was like trying to learn math when they only numbers you understand are 5, 11, 14 and 32.<br><br>
I am totally fascinated with the idea of brain development and learning, though. Wish we did know more.
 

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You know, whenever I read these discussions I also wonder what cultural assumptions we're making. Our reading and writing is based on a system of 26 letters which represent 40 (or so -- really, I forget the number) phonemes. What if our system were different?<br><br>
mommyofshmoo, I love your math analogy.
 

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I'm finding this all very interesting! I learned to read well by age 4.5 and have an abnormal brain structure with an incomplete corpus collosum, so I think it is a bit of a stretch to say conclusively that the corpus collosum needs to be fully developed before a child can learn to read...<br><br>
That said, a nearly four year long study into research done on brain development in Britain last year found that practices such as controlled crying, and emotional neglect of children (i.e. telling a child to stop crying, rather than dealing with the situation causing the distress, for example) affects and impairs corpus collosum development and how the children are able to express and deal with strong emotions... So, perhaps these practices also affect the child's educational development?
 

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Since you asked, this is not true to our experience. My oldest knew what sounds individual letters made at 18 or 19 months old and he taught himself to write a few months after he turned three. He doesn't read, but he is able to sound out small phonetical words without visual cues. He is not a very graceful or physical child. I just asked him and he is able to do the ear thing, but only with his arm behind his head. When I asked him to cross his legs, he crossed his calves rather than putting his leg up over the knee of his other leg. He's only recently begun to learn how to balance on one leg for any length of time and he cannot skip.<br><br>
The problem I have with the article and some of the Waldorf stuff is the use of what seem to be blanket statements, like "Children *need* to be able to do xyz before they do 123". I also was puzzled by the bit on the left brain not really developing until age 7 or 9, when it's been my son's strong-suit since age 1. He's much better at left-brained stuff than right-brained; he's a visual-spatial learner. So the article does not account for the exceptions to the rule or even acknowledge that there are exceptions. Furthermore, it talks a great deal about making kids learn reading/writing, but does not explain why or how some children *teach themselves* how to do it. When my son started writing a year ago, we were floored. With the exception of complying with his occasional request to write an example letter for him, I haven't taught him anything. Yet, he writes and writes well, although he doesn't have all that balance and crossing stuff down.<br><br>
Still, I was intrigued by some of the physical parts of the article. Maybe I'll try to play some of it with my son, like play at how long we can balance, to see if it helps him at all.
 

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Aw man, I hate to be the thread killer on this one. It was an interesting idea, even though I'm not convinced of it. I didn't like the absolute tone of it, like how it was presented in the article without doubt. I am curious what kind of brain research is backing this or if there is any...<br><br>
The whole left brain thing (age 7 or 9 the article references) is fascinating me, because, as mentioned, my oldest boy is a left-brain thinker and has seemed to be like this from 12 months or so. What are some left-brained skills? This is what I have, but I'm totally guessing:<br>
*pattern recognition and manipulation<br>
*jigsaw puzzles<br>
*numbers, one to one correspondence, adding and all that (memorization tricks don't count).<br>
*shapes, spatial awareness, seeing things within things<br>
*sense of direction<br>
*construction<br>
Actually, isn't music left-brained?<br><br>
I don't know. The ideas presented in the article just seemed to be presented so definitively and I don't think all kids develop the same like that.
 

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I find this thread interesting as my daughter does not have a corpus callosum but reads fanantically. She is mentally retarded - actually the movie Rain Man was based on the characteristics of a person with no corpus callosum not autism as many people assumed - and she reads and memorizes everything instantly. Its not incomplete, its not there at all, confirmed by MRI. I'm just a bit confused.
 

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Sumrsafire, I think that falls into what mommyofshmoo said about her neuroscience course -- there are about 5 things we know (or think we know) and the rest is speculation.<br><br>
LeftField, I'm totally with you on the dogmatism in some Waldorf. What strikes me as interesting is that Steiner wanted people to draw their own conclusions, and was trying to go against rigid attitudes in scientific study (or other studies, for that matter).<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/slinggirl.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Slinggirl"> (dd wanted this smilie in here)
 
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