Thursday, September 11, 2008

Are you a flasher?

Have you succumbed to that inevitable parenting trap of flashing cards before your newborn/infant? Guilty! My mother, who is very much into all these early childhood education (she owns a kindy) bought me a very expensive set of flash cards when I was pregnant the first time round. These were plain white cards with big red words on them. That's to learn to read. For maths, there were plain white cards with big red dots.

Then we both got really excited at the thought of my baby learning to read, and went through Glenn Doman's How To Teach Your Baby To Read. Glenn Doman's technique was built on the basis of brain-damaged kids learning to use their brains again. So his premise is: if a child who is brain damaged can learn to read superbly, imagine the potential of the average child! His book is well-written, with many examples of how kids thrive at his centre. Even Tony Buzan's Brain Child borrows from Doman's principle.
After the theory and examples, the books gives step-by-step instructions on how to flash the cards to your child. I started doing it around the same time I started signing to her. I had no way of gauging whether she could read or not, but I kept at it. I only did it for 5 minutes at a time, and about 3 times throughout the day.
It became a little bit difficult when I had to go back to work, but I tried to keep it consistent.
Then when my daughter started crawling, and later walking, it became even more impossible. She won't sit still for me to flash even two cards. After several weeks, I put the cards away. I am thinking whether I should bring them out now and start again. She can 'read' storybooks, and she loves sitting down to draw, so maybe it's about time.
Another book that I am reading, Einstein Never Used Flash Cards, doesn't say you CANNOT flash them cards. Rather, it explains how children learn. It talks about their readiness to tackle a new skill, and there's no point shoving anything down their throat of they're just not ready. So I will try the flash cards again, and see if my daughter is ready this time.

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