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At 22 months, my eldest was given two alphabet crepe rubber puzzles. Within a month she could identify both upper case and lower case letters by their sound, because she made her parents sit with her and tell her what each one was, over and over, and delighted in playing games with us where we'd ask her "where's the letter that makes the W sound?" and she'd pick it out.

It was fun. She enjoyed the time she spent with us. But it didn't get her reading.

She began reading 2 1/2 years later, fluently, and within 5 months of that (before her 5th birthday) was reading the first Harry Potter book independently. I don't think the crepe rubber puzzles did it, nor do I think it was the games with mom and dad. She was developmentally programmed for this kind of early intense interest in and aptitude for breaking the code of written language.

I hate electronic teaching toys and so my kids don't have them. While they might help kids get certain tangible early academic skills a bit sooner, they're not likely to make much overall difference to a child's educational success. The rate of acquisition of pre-academic skills really doesn't matter much in the long run, particularly not if your child isn't going to be forced to keep up, shine or flounder in an age-levelled classroom. My daughter has an unschooled friend who first managed the Harry Potter #1 as an independent read five full years later than she did... and both girls (now 11 years old) are wonderful, highly literate, erudite, interesting, talented and well-educated.

Miranda
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
I may be misunderstanding you, but one of the best indicators of prodigious intelligence is the capacity to read at a precocious age,
I believe the research shows the following:

Early spontaneous reading is indeed associated with prodigious intelligence and higher academic achievement. Early reading instruction (whether electronically or via real human beings), on the other hand, is not associated with higher academic achievement.

Miranda
 
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