nain, ten). You won't even be able to read phonetically!
The long "e" in English, for instance, can be written 12 different ways: On
the quay* we could see one of these people seize the key to the green machine and give it
to the chief officer who threw it in the sea. So word-cards should include the
most-used words, whether spelled phonetically or not.
The first cards should contain "labeling"
words - the nouns of the things children first see as their parents are telling them:
"That's your bottle. This is your dress. And these are your toes." Then when
they can crawl, roll over and walk, they can start learning the action words, both spoken
and written: "Let me see you roll over. Good boy, you can walk." Then come the
adverbs: "Roll over slowly." "See how quickly you can walk." And the
adjectives, too: "What a big, black dog."
But is too much early learning robbing infants of their
childhood? Glenn Doman gives the simple answer:
"We have a fail-safe law. We teach all
mothers this law. When teaching your child, if you aren't having the time of your life,
and the child isn't having the time of his life, stop, because you're doing something
wrong. That's the fail-safe law."
The early years are also the ideal time to pick up more
than one language, especially if you live in an area where other languages are spoken
regularly. Says Doman: "All children are linguistic geniuses - witness their ability
to learn to speak a language in the first three years of life. If they live in a bilingual
house, they learn two. And if they're born in a trilingual household, they learn to speak
Professor Diamond cautions that "love" is the
most essential ingredient in early childhood education. "I think that warmth and
affection is the prime consideration for healthy brain development. But from then on,
expose them to a great variety of experiences. Let the child choose what interests her -
and then move out from there."24
6. Parents as first teachers
So how can any parent become a better "first
teacher"? Or better still, a first coach and mentor? Obviously you can read books on
the subject, as you're doing now. But, like any other learning, hands-on experience with a
mentor helps. And again the world provides many models.
* In "English English" the
word "key" as in waterfront is spelled "quay". Dr. Seuss 'Beginner
books' are excellent for rhyming words that sound the same but are spelled differently,
such as 'fun' and 'done'.
Contents Page Preface