To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of some of the most popular early reading methods to give you an idea of their main principles and differences. You may find that a particular one is perfectly suited to her child’s learning style and preferences, or even that a combination, rather than just one, of these techniques is much more effective in teaching your baby the written word.
Glenn Doman’s Flash Card Method
Glenn Doman is a physical therapist who developed an approach to treating children with brain damage in the 1950s in the United States. As his research progressed, he discovered that the same type of accelerated learning method that he used with children with brain injuries can be applied to normal children. In fact, he believes that all babies have genius potential that, if developed properly, can surpass that of Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein. To harness this potential for genius, children must be adequately stimulated from infancy by their parents, who are invariably the first and best teachers for the task.
Using flashcards, Glenn Doman devised a progressive method of reading instruction that follows a particular consistent schedule. The size and order of the reading materials are especially important how to teach phonics at home. The younger your child, the bigger the words on flashcards need to be in order to fit his immature eye-brain path. He begins by showing simple words that are meaningful to your baby, such as those that relate to personal, family, and home environments. After a certain number of times, continue with the pairings (made up of 2 simple words that your child has learned). Then move on to the phrases and finally to the sentences. At this juncture, parents should add storybooks to the mix, always making sure the words are properly separated from the pictures to keep their child’s primary focus on the text.
The best time to start the reading program is when your little one is 6 to 24 months old. Parents should remember, as Doman always emphasizes, to teach only when their child is happy and open, and to do so with a loving and enthusiastic attitude. Flashcards should be shown 3 times a day and gradually exchanged after 5 days for new ones, to prevent children from getting bored. In keeping with the child-centered approach of his program, Glenn Doman recommends that the time required for each reading session be short, around 5 minutes or so. The key is NEVER, NEVER pressure your child.
Robert Titzer, an American professor, is a well-known child researcher. His video of his 9-month-old daughter Aleka, showing her ability to understand all the words on the flashcards shown to her, continues to amaze people around the world.
What Robert Titzer advocates is the multisensory method of teaching reading, which is based on the principle that by stimulating as many of a child’s senses as possible while teaching him to read, the easier it is for the child to remember words. For example, when teaching your child the written word “cheese,” the best way is to let him see, touch, smell, and taste the object as he sees and hears the word “cheese.”
The advantage of this approach is that the variety of stimuli makes it more interesting for a young child. It also helps to engage different types of children, from visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (movement) learners. As this method places much more emphasis on understanding the meaning of words, it allows us to assess, for example, through the physical gestures of a child, whether she is able to read a word, even before he can speak.