I recently posted Moose’s little brain explosion on my FB page. It went something like this – “Today Moose’s brain tripled in size, he learned 12 new words, can do a 60 pc USA puzzle by himself, and can name 6 of the states on said puzzle… ”
I received lots of great comments of the “Way to go Moose!” variety and several Likes. But after posting and reading it back, I realized it comes across as bragging about my kid (which all parents do, right?!) I also realized there were probably those who were rolling their eyes, thinking what is Val doing? She is pushing her 2 year old kid too hard already, or maybe thinking I am wasting his precious toddler years teaching him things instead of playing with him. Indeed one of my own family members said not to push him so hard, that children will learn naturally.
A few months ago, I would have agreed with this family member. In fact, I met a girl who was doing the “Teach Your Baby to Read” videos with her 16 month old. When she told me how incredible it was and it really worked, it peaked my curiosity. But the price tag of this video system turned me off, and I convinced myself this wasn’t really teaching kids to read, it was simple memorization of the pattern of words, etc etc.
When Moose turned 2, I thought about picking up another day or two at his “school” (Mom’s Day Out at a local church). He was really exhausting me. Moose was a fairly early riser (for me anyway), had stopped taking naps months ago and wasn’t into TV. Any parent who stays home with their kids knows there are only so many games you can play, books you can read, and classes/storytimes you can take them to. I thought again about the TYBTR video, but again, Moose doesn’t like TV, he would rather interact with me. So I went through the library and found Glenn Doman’s “How to Teach Your Baby to Read” book.
I won’t bore you with the details of the book, but I would highly recommend it to any parent with small kids. As Doman explains it, we should think of reading not as a subject you teach in school, but as an extension of talking. For the majority of small kids, they learn to talk by listening to us and mimicking, but the amazing part is their ability to figure out the nuances of language all by themselves. They didn’t learn by us sounding out words to them slowly, they didn’t figure out different ways to say things by us teaching them how to conjugate verbs. I remember the first time Moose said, “Daddy is going to work?” I said, yes, he is. Then Moose said, “Daddy is working?” again, yes. Then is said, “Daddy is at work!” The only phrase I ever said to him was “Daddy is going to work” – Moose figured out the rest by himself.
So according to Doman, if you simply show them written words, they will learn to read. Now, I am not an educator nor do I have any real expertise on the subject of teaching kids to read, but if you think about how we, adults, read, it makes sense. While we may have used tools like phonics and sight words in grade school to learn how to read, the majority of us don’t need use these tools to read on a daily basis, unless we run across a word we are unfamiliar with.
I was so amazed by the books and that I just had to learn more. So I signed up to attend a weeklong class at Doman’s Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential. It is tough to explain, you really have to read about it yourself. For the next few days, I plan on updating my blog nightly to share what I’ve learned (and how I am coping being away from Moose for a week!!)