'Your Baby Can Read'
by Beverley Paine, Nov '14
A friend shared the video "A dad is playing a game with his baby. But when I saw what it was I was floored." today and I watched it because I love watching babies and what they can and especially how parents interact with their little ones. Babies have so much to teach us about how we humans learn!
The 18 month old child is surrounded by large flashcards, words such as orange, shoulders, beetle, not your simple phonetic grade one level words! The father asks the child to bring him the card which says 'beetle' and the child looks around and picks it up and hands it over, saying the word at the same time. This happens for all the words except 'orange'. Stepping on the word and turning to look at the remaining words the child doesn't recognise the word. Eventually he spots 'shoulders' and gleefully picks it, saying "orange". His father points out the error and the child happily picks up the last word 'orange'.
On the face of it, it definitely looks like this 18 month old child is able to read. But reading is a complex set of skills that is much more than word recognition. At the very least it appears to be a great start in literacy for this youngster and the comments under the video indicate that others who have used the Your Baby Can Read program found it very successful.
Shape recognition is definitely on the pathway to literacy. I liked how the child handed his dad a circle shaped object before the word - clearly he has learned to recognise shapes. Some children learn shapes very early - I remember Ewan doing it reall y early (with the Tupperware shape sorter, soon after. I suspect shape memorisation is hardwired as it would have a protective and survival value.
I taught our eldest child using a similar idea - Glen Doman flashcards - in her second year for a few months until we both became bored with the activity. I'm not sure if it contributed much to her learning to read early (by three and a half): we were very hands on with all aspects of her early learning. Doman's theories and claims have been questioned and tested and found to be unsubstantiated.
Education, especially early childhood education, is a huge industry with lots of profit to be made... According to the US Federal Trade Commission Titzer through Your Baby Can Read sales grossed a massive US$185 million between 2008 and 2014 - an indication of just how much caring parents interested in their children's education are willing to spend to promote early academic success in their offspring. It's a very lucrative and emotive industry.
But heck, if it works for some children and the parents aren't overzealous or pushy and it isn't causing the child any harm, being involved and engaged and attentive and interested in the child's development is an awesome idea!
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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