(Written by Sarah Aiono) A few years back I stumbled across an advertisement promoting a revolutionary new product designed to have your baby get the edge among their peers by developing their reading skills prior to being able to actually talk. This program operated by using flash cards, books and DVDs to teach word recognition with infants. It operates on a rote-learning approach, and has largely been successful by buying into many parents anxieties that for their child to be successful in school, they have to have a ‘head start’ from their peers. That, by speeding up their learning, they will be ready for whatever school-life will throw at them.
Unfortunately word-recognition is only one of the variety of skills needed in order to be a successful reader. In fact, anyone who has learned a second language can attest to the fact that there is a difference between being able to recognise a word, and actually understand its meaning within the context of a complicated sentence. Being able to recognise words visually does not assist anyone when they come across an unfamiliar word which requires some form of decoding in order to be able to sound out the unfamiliar. In summary, having the ability to recognise words on a flash card does not make a child a reader. [Read more...]