Before I get into how I taught my child to read, I would first like to point out that my child is not gifted nor has she ever been assessed by a professional and given the label 'gifted'. Miss S has been taught to read through a process which I am now doing currently with my youngest daughter. I have also taught her other things like maths, which is for another blog. What I am hoping to do is to DISPEL THE MYTH That children before the age of 5 can not be taught to read.
I first started with Miss S when she was 3 months old. We started with a program called Your Baby can Read. (Which I will now refer to as YBCR) We followed this program methodically doing exactly 8 weeks of each DVD plus I did all the flashcards and books that came with the program. By 6 months Miss S could differentiate between approximately 20 words. By the end of the programme she knew all the words and what they meant.You could hold up the card 'mouth' and she would open her mouth. Hold up another card like point and she would point. You get the picture. By the end of the programme S knew all the words (approx 150-200).
I thought YBCR was and is a great programme I also felt that this programme was not enough and as Miss S was 10 months old when we completed the programme I felt she needed something more as YBCR covers a lot of single words it does not go into couplets e.g (White hair, blue bricks) to building into phrases e.g (I'm standing up) to sentences. Please also note that I also introduced in this time Baby signing time which she learnt to read all the words off those DVD's to. I taught my DD1 Sign Language (ASL) as she was pre-verbal it was how I knew that she knew what words she was reading and she could sign what they meant.
At this point it is where most 'well meaning' people say it is not reading it is only memorisation if the child can not phonetically sound out a word it is not reading. The definition of reading and this is from The Free Dictionary is as follows
1. To examine and grasp the meaning of (written or printed characters, words, or sentences).
2. To utter or render aloud (written or printed material): read poems to the students.3. To have the ability to examine and grasp the meaning of (written or printed material in a given language or notation):
As you can see the definition of reading does not say you must be able to phonetically sound the word out all it states is that you are able to examine the word and understand what it means. I do not knock the teaching of phonics I do believe it certainly helps in teaching an older child to read whether it is necessary or not in the teaching of a child under the age of 3 is still up for debate. Why? you may ask when we were taught to read through strong phonic instruction is because if you show an under three approximately 200-500 words and their meanings a lot of those children intuit the phonic rules without formal instruction but not all. The child is able to sound out the word without hours of formal instruction.
I will discuss the next thing I did tomorrow night in Part 2.