Adapted learning method
Teaching Even Younger Babies How to Read: The New Experience.
In the experience I have developed with my three children, I created an Adapted
learning method based on Glenn Doman’s described first four steps:
– The visual differentiation (how to prepare the material);
– The proper vocabulary (cards which reflected the daily reality of the baby);
– The vocabulary of the family environment (which reflected the objects which the
baby came in contact with at home, for his daily interactions), and
– The vocabulary to build sentence’s structures (articles, prepositions, and
Sentences were not introduced as the Doman method suggests for the 5th step. The
other steps, including the 5th, were suppressed in our experience, due to our
circumstances, since the babies’ own preferences suggested that these steps would
be skipped, indicating what the brain needed or not to experience. When the babies
completed reading the whole vocabulary, also knew the alphabet and already read
elementary school books, traffic signals, and billboards in the streets.
However, the reading assimilation process was global, since steps 5, 6, and 7 of
Doman’s method were introduced simultaneously to steps 1, 2, 3, and 4. To explain
it better, while I played with the babies the game of the cards, the whole family
showed them reading as an object and how reading presented itself circumstantially
in a community context (in the TV, the media, and the traffic signs).
The brain itself created mechanisms to find similarities and dissimilarities between
some letters and others and some words and others.
As the process of stimulation in a family environment followed its course, the
assimilation by the babies of the words which reflected their accommodation of
contents ended up resulting in connections of objects and the objects’
representations, in such an impressive velocity that when the babies were two years
of age, they already could read and demonstrated a passion for the game of
reading. The babies also demonstrated that they were ready for writing. By the same
pleasurable process, which they felt while playing with an object until they tired of
it, the babies played with words. However, the difference became that words were
part of a very vast grouping, which led the babies to combine them, discover them,
and the game kept extending itself until the babies demonstrated that they could
We realize that this game of learning will never come to an end, since it started as
early as with a baby, the human being will tend to try to manage it for his whole
This leads us then to say that teaching the child to read only at 6 years of age is to
take away from him/her the opportunity of discovering the learning game of
reading at the stage at which it could be best experienced – at the earliest age,
when the brain elaborates its first mental schemes, and in which the mental
activities still were not restricted in their development within the natural and
It is very easy to establish the systematic of the method of how to teach a baby how
to read and to wait for each phase of development to occur exactly as we expect. It
is known that only the intention of the parents to teach their children how to read
early on, can already result in facts that would better distinguish their children of
those who did not try it. Even the most disorganized attempt will yield observable
results, which are the most positive and encouraging results, it is worth
highlighting! The procedure adopted needs to be very disastrous or complicated not
to yield results. From the simplicity of this initiative, it is already possible to obtain
better results than if one would start to teach the child only at 6 years of age. At six,
it is already too late! The curiosity and motivational potentialities of the brain would
already by then be deactivated. The later you start, the harder it is the task to teach
to teach the child how to read.
Glenn Doman, in his book “How to Teach your Baby to Read”, affirms that the child
prior to 5 years of age is able to absorb a tremendous amount of information and
can accept information at an incredible rate. He says that the more information a
child receives before completing 5 years of age, the most he/she retains; and that
the child has tremendous quantities of energy for such. Besides that, the child at
this age group has a great desire to learn. He/she can learn how to read and wants
to learn how to read.
In my experience, I realized that the most important factor while initiating the
process is to be certain that the parent(s) will have the proper attitude and adequate
approach, or better, that the enthusiasm should be kept; and that the parent should
not pressure or retard the steps in presenting information to the baby. The other
factor is to be attentive to the size, format, and order of presentation of the material
to be read by the baby.
Also of importance is the observation of when to start each reading session and
when to end it. To start the session, the most adequate time is every moment in
which the baby is in a good mood. Do not take him/her to read while cranky, crying,
or dissatisfied. The activity of playing must be happy and playful both for the baby
and the parent.
The time to end the activity of playing – which is the main motivation of the method,
must be before the baby loses interest, so that in this way we can guarantee that the
baby will want to repeat the activity and live the moment of happiness of being with
the parent. During this moment, the baby enjoys the parent’s company and plays
with new knowledge and information. It is necessary to know exactly what the baby
is thinking, or better, to know his/her reaction in order to stop each session prior to
his/her desire to do so. The reader must imagine that this is impossible to be done.
But it is not so. After a few sessions, it is possible to perceive exactly when it is time
to distance the baby from the card. If you have more than one baby, you will see
that each one has his/her own rhythm, as I have found out with mine.
Eliane Leao, PhD
Adapted learning method (c) 2006
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