When should we teach our children to read?October 9, 2009 at 9:26 pm | Posted in uncategorized | 5 Comments
(authored by Bill Simons)
Can a child read at one or two years old? As crazy as it may seem, evidence points to a resounding yes. We only need to google “baby reading video” to find examples. But how young is too young. Glenn Doman, author of the popular book “How to Teach Your Baby to Read” tells us that we should start teaching our children to read when they are just infants. A month or two olds is prime time to begin delivering instruction.
Featured on the popular show 20/20, Mr. Doman showcased his technique with solid results. Children in the reading classes where in fact reading, and reading well. The three year olds were reading Dr. Suess books with fluency, while the five year olds where reading the newspaper. Doman tells us that visual acuity is not fully developed in most children until the age of two, making typical children’s books difficult to use. His technique is simple, much larger text is needed.
Doman argues that infancy is exactly the time that we should be tapping into innate reading ability. Up until about the age of three, the brain is creating new connections at an astounding rate, producing upwards to a quadrillion cell connections by age three. At about that time the early brain begins to shift focus, culling off connections which are not used or underutilized.
Many scientists today believe that the brain has critical periods for speech and language development. Research has shown that cats can be blinded by simply being kept in the dark when they are kittens. The eye does not mature like it should and those cells die off. Certain animals have been shown to have a critical period for imprinting on their mother, such as when ducks often come to follow a human as their mother.
This may also be true of children’s brains. UCLA’s Michael Phelps, a biophysicist and co-inventor of the PET scan tells us “If we teach our children early enough, it will affect the organization or ‘wiring,’ of their brains.” Phelps also notes that “Unfortunately, U.S. education does not take full advantage of this opportunity”. Psychiatrist Arnold Scheibel, former director of UCLA’s Brain Research Institute tells us that “the language centers of the cortex are not able to reach full maturity without proper stimulation”.
An area of great interest, reading is essential to the success of children in school and as adults. When consider the future of these children perhaps we should be considering much earlier interventions. 14 million people are illiterate in this country, and 63 percent of prison inmates can’t read. It obvious literacy has a great impact. Perhaps we should get to it a lot sooner! When are you going to teach your children to read?