I am a mommy to this bright, super active and headstrong 25 month old toddler . Our Early Learning journey started when Ed was 5 months old. While searching for picture books for him on a local classifieds site I saw an ad of a preloved Glenn Doman Reading kit for sale . Having never heard of Glenn Doman or the concept of teaching babies to read, I was intrigued and bought the reading kit just out of curiosity.
The Start Of Early Learning
The kit came with the book “How to Teach Your Baby to Read” by Glenn Doman. As a new parent, I was already reading countless “How to” parenting books and thought of this as just another one. But reading this book changed my entire perspective on early childhood education. It emphasized the importance of early learning not necessarily early education but how important it is for a parent to be your child’s first teacher and to give your child opportunities and a stimulating environment to enhance and support their natural ability to learn.
Although we did not follow all the Doman early learning methods in the year that followed, I feel that discovering the Glenn Doman books and products when Ed was only 5 months old was the best thing that could have happened for us as it gave us an understanding of the importance of starting early.
Your Baby Can Read and other products by Dr Titzer
We used the Glenn Doman flashcard reading kit for a few months and when Ed was around 8 months, we started watching a Dvd with him called “Your baby Can Read” (YBCR) by Dr Robert Titzer. YBCR is based on learning to read by using the “whole word” approach. There are several debates for and against reading using the whole word Vs phonics approach. Since I am not an expert, I would not like comment on the subject but based on our personal experience I feel YBCR did help Ed’s reading skills.
As part of his Early Learning, I was also teaching him baby sign language using Baby Signing Time Dvd’s from 6 months and Ed was signing lots of everyday words such as “milk”, “water”, “cat” dog” etc by the time he was 9 months old. Even though he was not talking I knew YBCR was helping him to read when he would sign the word “Dog” or “Cat” when he saw it on the screen or in books.
Over the next one and a half years, we used several different products and techniques to keep things interesting and fun and followed Glenn Doman’s principle of “Stop before your child wants to stop” . We used some more of Dr Titzers early learning products such as “Your child can read”, “Your baby can Discover” and “Your child can discover” kits which came with flap books to reinforce what he was seeing in the videos.
Little Reader and Little Math by Brillkids
When ED was around 14 months we started using the “Little Reader” and “Little Math” early learning software by Brillkids. Ed loved the “Little Reader” and he looked forward to every single session. Besides reading, I feel it helped him to develop a very advanced vocabulary for his age.
Our experience with “Little Math” was not positive and Ed never showed any interest in watching it. The software is well designed and I feel Ed’s lack of interest could be attributed to his general disinterest in quantities and numbers at that time.
After our experience with Little Math, I felt that we needed to have more fun with maths. After reading a highly recommended book called ” Marshmallow Math” we started following a complete play based approach in maths . This book is full of great ideas and makes math so much fun for young children and toddlers. Ed can confidently count up to 20 and sometimes beyond when he is in the mood. He has learnt this solely through play and everyday activities such as counting steps or when lining up his toy cars and counting them with me.
We don’t use “Little Math” with him anymore but will consider introducing some other formal math program such as “Right Start Math” or ” Singapore Math” at a much later stage probably if he develops an interest in the subject.
Over the next few months we followed a layered learning approach of using early learning DVDs such as leapfrog , Meet the sight words, Hooked on Phonics and early learning toys like the leapfrog magnetic fridge phonics etc to reinforce what he was learning.
This multi- learning approach is very effective with Ed as by using different methods and products for teaching the same concepts it reinforces his learning and keeps the process refreshing and fun for him.
The Best Free Reading Program
Few months back we started using another brilliant free reading program called ” Reading Bear” developed by “Larry Sanger“. What a fantastic product! If you are researching reading programs I highly recommend that you look into this one. It is a phonic based program and since we like to follow a mixed approach of whole word and phonics with Ed, it has been a great addition to our reading practice. The video/slideshow format with clear descriptions focusing on word meaning and context also makes this a great vocabulary booster. The voice over is very clear and can really help in help in improving pronunciation, especially for non native English speakers.
Where Are We Today?
By no means is our son a genius and neither is that our goal. We are happy that he loves to read and displays a very advanced vocabulary for his age. His encyclopedic knowledge and ability to comprehend his environment is outstanding for a 2 year old. He enjoys learning and loves being introduced to new books and activities.
He loves music and has started displaying a keen interest in instruments after we did the trial version of the “Little musician” software with him. We are now considering buying the ”Soft Mozart” software to teach him to play the piano.
This is our story and as Ed’s parents – Our biggest reward as Early Learning parents has been to see the joy and excitement with which he learns without ever knowing where learning starts and play stops. It is priceless watching him proudly displays his knowledge of new concepts and words he has recently learnt or successfully using sign language to communicate what he cant yet vocalize.
For him, his magnetic letter E is as magical as “Noddy” his favorite book character or any of the Disney Cars Movie characters he loves so much. If he was asked why, I guess he would say he loves the sound the Letter “E” makes or how much fun it is to spot his favorite letter when he sees it in road signs or juice cartons.
The Early Learning Debate
Contrary to what some may believe, we as Early Learning Parents are not pushy parents who torture our children to read as babies or do advanced math calculations as a toddler or play instruments or worse of all- are on a mission to make them a Little Einstein or a Baby genius. For us “Early Learning” is about giving our son the greatest gift a parent could ever give their child ” The love for learning “ .
(Please click here to read updates on what we have been upto with Ed since writing this initial post)