I’ve always felt that I missed the boat with Gavin when it came to teaching him how to read using Glenn Doman flash cards. By the time I really understood how to teach him to read the Glenn Doman way, Gavin wasn’t into flash cards any more and it seemed pointless to flash cards to a child that wasn’t paying attention to them. Since then, I’ve always been on the look out for other fun ways to teach him how to read. Even though he loves books, he doesn’t appear to have any interest in learning how to read.
When I spoke with his teachers at Kinderland, they explained that they place more emphasis on learning how to write before learning how to read. They felt that Gavin was still young and that reading would come later.
Why am I so obsessed with teaching Gavin how to read even though I know that he will eventually learn how to read at school when he’s older? Why the eagerness to teach him to read before the average age? That’s because I agree with Doman’s philosophy that the later you start a child on the reading path, the harder it will be for them. A child who learns to read at an older age never really catches up to the children who learned to read at a younger age.
I learned to read late. I think I must have been about five or six when I started learning to read. I can still remember my mother trying to teach me to read using those “Peter and Jane” books – it was a very painful experience for me. It was a struggle and I hated it. Even though I did eventually learn to read, I was and still am a very slow reader. I can take up to a week to get through a regular novel – something most people can finish in a day or even a few hours – and that’s talking about a book I want to read.
I don’t want my kids to have this experience. I want reading to come easily for them. I want them to enjoy learning to read. The Glenn Doman flashcard method seems to be working well for Gareth currently, but I have yet to figure out a method that works well for Gavin.
Gavin enjoys playing Phonics Quest and he’s also learning to recognise new words playing the game. However, the method of learning is haphazard at best. He only plays the sections of the game that he likes and skips the other parts. Nevertheless, I think that’s better than nothing.
Gavin also loves to watch Word World which is a TV program that teaches kids how to read and recognise words. All the objects on Word World are created out of letters. For instance, the dog is drawn from the letters d-o-g. For this reason, I’ve been encouraging his collection of the Word World DVDs. Again, it is questionable how much he learns from this program, but my philosophy is: as long as he is picking up something… Perhaps the sum of all the programs he plays with and watches will equal to a whole.
Recently, Gavin has been more open to receiving flashcards again. I don’t know whether this is because he watches me flash cards to Gareth on a daily basis or whether it is because of what he learns at Heguru. Regardless, I’m jumping on the opportunity to show him more. I’ve been using the words and pictures I created on PowerPoint (originally created to teach Gareth what the words refer to) with Gavin. So far so good.
If Gavin continues positively with the stuff I’ve created on PowerPoint, it might be worth while getting a subscription for the BrillKids reader. BrillKids has a whole series of picture and word flashcards on computer with a year long program to follow. To be honest, I’m beginning to wonder if BrillKids might have been the better way to go instead of the Glenn Doman reading kits because they have pictures which teach babies what the words mean. Glenn Doman teaches a whole series of words that mean nothing to a baby unless you teach him what the words mean. The only advantage of Glenn Doman flashcards is that the font is a lot bigger which may be easier for a baby to read.
Another program I’m thinking of trying with Gavin is Click ‘N’ Read which received the gold award for the 2009 Top Ten Reviews and has quite a number of favourable reviews from other parents. It is currently on promotion for $59.85 (normally $99.95) and has a 60 day money back guarantee. If you’re a teacher at a school, you can get a free trial for 15 students up to 180 days. It is a research-based program following the research literature on effective reading instruction summarised by the National Reading Panel. If you complete the entire course and find that you aren’t happy with your child’s reading progress, they will also refund your money.
Alternatively, if all fails, I found a place called Vital Years which teaches reading and writing to children from two years old. I don’t know much about them except for what they have up on their website, but it is something to check out and a last resort for my desperation.