Wednesday, May 2, 2012

When to start reading

Today I thought I would address a question that came to me via my Facebook page.

"Just wondering what your thoughts on the baby can read program? And when is the earliest to introduce the basic phonic sounds? Is too early failure later?"

This is one of those loaded question that can start a whole firestorm.  I have not used the product baby can read but I can give you my opinion on early education.

I do think that too much "curriculum based" education can cause boredom later...but...more than that, consider this....

I think lots of people want to get their children "started" as soon as possible to get the jump on all those other parents who are "lagging" behind.  We get the impression that starting earlier can get our children to places quicker.  I don't believe this is true...especially if you want a child who isn't just book smart.

Constructive play offers so much to children.  Playing blocks with a child and counting the blocks as you place eight of them on the tower is so much more helpful to a child then having the child be able to recognize the image of the number 8 on a piece of paper.  It takes much longer for the child to learn the concept of one to one correspondence and understanding that units come together to make a sum then it does for them to memorize the image of the number 8.

Some children come to school with the knowledge of the image but have no concept that eight items together also means eight.  Schools have the resources to teach the child the image...schools don't have time to teach the concepts that guided play offers.

 That's why I believe the best way to teach is through play and experience.  If you want to teach your child alphabet sounds, start with the first letter of their name.  "Ben's your letter "B".  When you put an alphabet puzzle together, point out his letter.  In town on signs, point out his letter.  Start to give that "B" a sound.  "B"  "B"-en.  They start identifying other things with "B" B-en's sound. b-ed, b-anana....before long Ben is going to know that his name as well as bed and banana all have a "B".

Before long, he'll be ready for a coloring page....or printing practice page...or beginning sound activities.

 When they are ready move onto a new letter..."G" for Grandpa.  The greatest part of it all...there is no curriculum...nothing you need to buy...just you, your kiddo and a little quality time...