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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My dearest freind's DS is 17 mos. and he is brilliant. he already knows shapes, colors, counts to 30 (actual counting, not memorization) has started letter recognition, knows his ABC's, can spell his name and speaks in 3-4 word sentences - he also knows the months, days of the week and the planets!!! he is an amazing child. Both of us have always believed in learning through play - it's not that she drills him to learn things - he just picks them up fast and is quite the little sponge.<br><br>
She is wondering how to foster his brilliance. Is learning these things so early and so fast indicative of later intelligence? Her DH is pressuring her to start him on a grade K curriculum already, which she feels confused about. On one hand you look at him and he's a baby, and other the hand he walks around the house noticing shapes and calls out "OCTOGON", or his "New Blue Shoes". Anyone have experience with this? Do you know any good resources I can send her to?<br><br>
TIA!<br><br>
~ Cheryl - extreme mama to Ellerie 4/9/02
 

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My dd is/was the same way! :) The best thing is to continue to foster his interests, but let him take the lead. My dd goes through phases where she's very interested in academic learning and then drops it for awhile in favor of learning a physical skill like standing on one leg or riding her tricycle. At this age just keep his brain active, which can be a challenge. My dd learned Octogon at around 18 mos. too. It was fun to see her startle people with it! lol!<br><br>
I doubt he has the coordination to write yet, so the pre-K stuff would not be appropriate even if he does know most of the material. He probably doesn't have the advanced concepts of being able to tell a story back again, analyzing it, etc. All pre-K skills that are in the workbooks.<br><br>
Some things he can do in the meantime *if he's interested*:<br>
-- opposites<br>
-- playing Memory with a few tiles (learn to take turns)<br>
-- counting higher numbers<br>
-- learning the sounds letters "say"<br>
-- finding shapes/colors in his environment<br>
-- read, read, read to him<br>
-- painting<br>
-- playdough<br>
-- doodling (paper, chalkboard, whiteboard)<br>
-- counting things in front of him (cookies, apples, etc)<br>
-- puzzles (my dd's into 24 piece jigsaw puzzles now)<br><br>
But DON'T PUSH HIM! Socially he may still be an 18 month old. My dd talks a lot too, but she's still a very typical 2 year old when it comes to not sharing, not playing real well with others yet. I have her in a preschool co-op with other 2 year olds where she's learning important social skills and group play, games, and songs.<br><br>
If he's truly gifted, the schools will recognize that when he enters school and will put him in the appropriate classes for his skill levels. Don't let her dh push him at a young age. No one cares when you get your first job if you graduated high school at age 16 or age 19.<br><br>
Darshani
 

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It sounds like she's doing great so far--why not just keep doing what she's doing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys - she aleady does all those things - she is just feeling confused, probably from DH's influence that she should be doing more - pushing him I suppose. I will reiterate your advice that she already IS doing what's best for him.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
thanks again!
 

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Maybe you could PM Charles Bauledaire. I've seen numerous posts from her talking about her gifted dd. She might be able to give you some advice.<br><br>
lisa
 

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I think student-centered learning is the only way to go, so trying to get this child to "fit" into a K-curriculum is irrelevant. If I were the mom, I'd see what my child was interested in and take it from there, instead of imposing what I view as important. For example, if he's interested in planets, I'd take him to the planetarium, maybe build some planets out of clay, etc.<br><br>
However, I would DEFINITELY teach him how to read (he's probably starting to on his own anyway). I would avoid emphasizing the letter sounds, as this can be confusing (going from abstract to whole) and instead, teach him to read whole words. A great and easy way to do this is to do language experience activities, like if he draws or makes something, his parents take dictation from him (so that he can see them writing as he speaks) about his work, then he can read back what they've written. They could get some sentence strip paper and label things around the house, things like that.<br><br>
The other thing I would emphasize is music, fingerplays, and poetry . . .great for brain organization, math, language, memory, etc.<br><br>
Finally, make sure the parents let him get a ton of physical activity!<br><br>
Ohh . . .and I'm baised, but I'd definitely get him started on learning a 2nd language if he doesn't speak one already!
 

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I'm in a similar situation with dd and I recently bought a book called <i>Bringing Out the Best: A Guide for Parents of Young Gifted Children</i>. It's out of print, but readily available used from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fexec%2Fobidos%2Ftg%2Fdetail%2F-%2F091579330X%2F002-1525284-0525618" target="_blank">Amazon</a> and presumably elsewhere. The 1991 edition is the most recent. It's full of great suggestions about how to provide an enriched environment without pushing academics.<br><br>
I adamantly disagree about teaching him to read though. I'd wait until he either demands it himself or learns on his own. Things are going to progress quickly enough with this kid, why rush it even more?
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I adamantly disagree about teaching him to read though. I'd wait until he either demands it himself or learns on his own. Things are going to progress quickly enough with this kid, why rush it even more?</td>
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I still stand by my statement . . . for one, learning to read is not very different from learning to speak. We expect young children to make sense of the very complex world of spoken language, and most children succeed without formal intervention. The same is true for reading-- children deserve the opportunity to learn to read at an early age. Notice that I said "opportunity," which implies that choice, not force, is involved.<br><br>
Also, I would guess that this child IS demanding it-- I know that my daughter asks often to be read to, and that IS how children learn to read. What I'm suggesting is very far removed from a skill and drill regime, which is what might come to mind with the idea of "teaching reading." How could creating a print-rich environment or taking dication from a child be something that you are adamantly against?
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by USAmma</i><br><b><br>
If he's truly gifted, the schools will recognize that when he enters school and will put him in the appropriate classes for his skill levels.<br><br>
Darshani</b></td>
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On what planet does this actually happen?
 

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Mizelenius:<br><br>
Forgive me, but reading aloud, creating a print rich environment and providing other early literacy initiatives ARE different from "teaching to read." It is the latter phrase to which I'm responding and apparently not to your intended meaning. One can make the case that almost everything one does helps teach this or that, but this renders the word "teach" meaningless. The word "opportunity" is a good one. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Assuming the child in question doesn't have a learning disability (a possiblity despite of his obvious giftedness), it is unlikely learning to read will be a problem for him. Unless he asks, I personally don't see the need to label household objects, etc. because it seems artificial and forced (as opposed to reading aloud and enjoying a story together, an act which has other benefits than the "teaching" of reading). However, the other early literacy activities you describe are are sensible and would of course benefit all children, including this one.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Forgive me, but reading aloud, creating a print rich environment and providing other early literacy initiatives ARE different from "teaching to read."</td>
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I guess it depends on the teacher . . . these are all things that I did when I worked as an early childhood teacher, and I certainly consider them to be part of my "teaching to read" strategies.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Unless he asks, I personally don't see the need to label household objects, etc. because it seems artificial and forced</td>
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Of course, we are each entitled to our opinions, but I don't see the harm in labeling things, nor do I see it as artificial in a negative way. But, to each his/her own!
 

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If you read The Magical Child, you can get that author's perspective on why teaching a child to read too early is destructive to a child's development.<br>
I found this book to be excellent.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">If you read The Magical Child, you can get that author's perspective on why teaching a child to read too early is destructive to a child's development</td>
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Can you tell me how the author defines teaching reading? And what the author considers to be too early?
 

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Well, this post has gotten a little OT, but I wanted to reply to the original poster.<br><br>
Personally, I think the most important thing is to respond to where the child is...obviously he is initiating plenty of "academic" learning for himself! If he's so ahead of the curve, there's no need to push things any further.<br><br>
I guess I would also stress that you don't want to label a child as a "genius" or (IMO) "gifted" at 17 months! I think this can put a lot of pressure on parents and kids.<br><br>
If the parents want to encourage development, I would suggest focusing on developing social skills...as a former teacher and academic, I can tell you that this is the area where the smartest kids and adults seem to have the most difficulty.<br><br>
Most of all, she should just ENJOY her son!
 

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My brother was reading at age 1-1/2, so I can say that no matter what your friend does to nurture his intelligence, he will be SMART!!! My brother didn't even go to preschool at all... he was simply allowed to play and be a kid. He is a certified genius, his brain totally works in some wonderous way that I can't even fathom. Anyway, I would suggest not pushing him in any direction, simply allow him to take the lead, he will learn about what he wants to, and there will be no stopping him anyway. I think it is important to kids to just have a good childhood, no pressures.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by Mizelenius</i><br><b>Can you tell me how the author defines teaching reading? And what the author considers to be too early?</b></td>
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I'm sorry- I have loaned out my book. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">:<br>
I really can't remember the age for sure, so i'd hate to misquote him.
 

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My dd has/had some of those traits- she could speak in simple sentences on her first birthday (we thought this was normal) and by 18 months spoke like a little adult in complex sentences and huge words. She could also draw faces and animals by 18 months and at 4 amazes with her art skills, but has no more counting skills than average, although she can read some words at 4, that is pretty normal. We just play and she learns. I got her an easel and lots of art supplies, since that seems to be her gift and she spends hours making things.<br><br>
My nephew has Apsperger's syndrome, which gifted kids can have. He could count to 40 forwards and backwards by two and knew all the letters and their sounds and by 3 1/2 could read books (taught himself- was driven to learn it) and before four, finished the first grade Math book my sister got for him. At five he spent his days cross-referencing currency to countries and capitals in his room with the atlas. He's 6 now and the other day was playing "Who wants to be a Millionaire" with Zues, of all people and I remember discussing the dates of the old Kingdom in Egypt with him when he was four.<br><br>
My sister just gets him material she's intersted in and gives him books and computer software. Lots of trips to the library.
 

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Teaching the logical, left-brained thinking too early in a child's development can and will hamper the full creative processes of the right brain. If the right brain is allowed to flourish unimpeded in the first few years of life - Waldorf believes until seven years of age - the child will have esoteric understandings grasped that would be impossible to "relearn" later in life. These esoteric concepts foster the understanding of what we consider to be the deeper roots of intelligence.... ie, physics and metaphysics, theorum and concept development, and so on. It, IMNSHO, creates leaders and original thinkers instead of followers.
 

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On the late reading- some kids are just driven to learn early and it is almost unnatural to stop them. There are words everywhere- my nephew at 3 saw "house for sale" on a sign and shocked by sister by reading it to her. Some kids do need to read early, I think.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">On the late reading- some kids are just driven to learn early and it is almost unnatural to stop them. There are words everywhere- my nephew at 3 saw "house for sale" on a sign and shocked by sister by reading it to her. Some kids do need to read early, I think.</td>
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This is how my sister and I were . . . I learned to read in Spanish by about age 4 (not super early, I guess) , and then shortly after that taught myself to read in English.
 
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