This activity has the lingering residue of somebody who has read Teach My Baby to Read by Glenn Doman. I was so much enamored and then disillusioned with the so called “Gentle Revolution” that one of my inspirations for starting this blog was that so I could write the post Glenn Doman and Magical Thinking.
The premise of the book, that young children are capable of learning more than we give them credit for, especially when paired with an adult who is providing high quality instruction, is something that I still whole heartedly agree with. In that sense it was a very didactic book for me to read. But at least $100 later, I was left with the impression that I was being led on. “Buy the book and you can do this program for free. But if you buy the cards it will be even better. But if you buy the videos it will be even better. But if you pay thousands of dollars to go to our training it will be even better. ”
I did end up buying the book, cards, and video, but thankfully never spent major moola to see the training. What really bugged me was that even in the video, they never showed actual babies who could do these things. They just left you with the impression that if you were to pay to come to Philadelphia, then you would finally see proof that young babies could read, look at dot cards, and do multiplication.
Even now, even after I taught my son Bruce to read at an early age using my own nearly free methods, there is still a part of me that wonders…If I had broken my piggy bank and paid to go to the training in Philadelphia, would I have finally seen proof that this works? Would they have finally shown me babies who could read dot cards? I wonder if people who have been deprogramed from a cult ever have lingering questions like this. I’m sure I sound crazy even writing it.
But back to my new game for Jenna, this one is really easy, fun, and will work for your child eventually, but I can’t tell you an exact age of when. Every child is developmentally different. Jenna is 31 months old and it took her about 4 times, over two days, to reach 100% mastery.
The inspiration for this was that my husband reminded me that at age two and a half, my son Bruce was the first child in his coop preschool class to be able to pick out his name-tag off of the table, and other children’s name tags as well. Was he really reading them yet? Yes, from a Whole Language perspective, No from a Phonics perspective. I teach from a Balanced Literacy pedagogy which incorporates multiple methods of teaching children how to read. So I’m okay with doing some Whole Language activities, because I know that my kids are also getting a ton of Phonics.
For “Find Your Name”, I started out with about six cards, and worked up to twelve. Jenna’s name was on more than one card, and meaningful names from her family were on the others. Each time we played, I laid out the cards before her and asked her to hand them to me one at a time. “Give me the card that says Mom”, “Give me the card that says Jenna”, etc. If she missed a card two times in a row, then when I asked her a third time I pointed to the correct answer so that I could ensure her success. This is a similar to how I was trained to deliver A-B-A therapy when I worked with children with Autism in college. Back then it was called Lovsas Therapy or Discrete Trial Teaching.
After four 5-10 minute sessions Jenna could pick out all the names with 100% mastery. The Psychology major in me found this really interesting. It was not necessarily easier to do this type of Discrete Trial Teaching with Jenna, a child who does not have Autism, but it worked a lot faster. I’m wondering if there is someplace I can go next with this type of activity, and my teacher brain is still crunching things out. Maybe this is how I can teach Jenna the quantity three…