How To Teach Your Baby To Read - Glenn Doman & Janet Doman

Jonathan brought this home from the library to his pregnant wife, who was immediately taken by the adorable cover photo and only slightly later excited by the book's content. It's a large-print book that's easy to read, and the methods outlined for introducing a child to written language require more posterboard than intellect. Nevertheless, it is fascinating to think of starting to teach written language just as soon as, and in much the same way as, spoken language. The book proclaims great success and is actually very believable. You get a little incredulous when the letters selected for excerpting at the end are all from parents of glowing geniuses, but nevertheless the authors make a point of reminding you that the goal is not to create a super-brain, the goal is to give the kid what he wants, namely, the opportunity to take in as much information as possible as early as possible.

What also really interested me were the origins of this work. Doman's team (working in the 1950's), was made up of people from many disciplines who were interested in helping children with brain damage. They began to develop techniques that allowed children identified as "idiots" by the medical establishment to read as well as normal children twice their age by the time they were four (to cite one example). Seeing that children who had lost as much as half of their physical brain matter could equal their peers, they began to wonder why children with "twice as much" brain could not excel even more. That question is what eventually led to this book.

I think the ideas make a lot of sense - that since language is forming in the child's brain all the way up to age 6 (and gets harder to teach thereafter), and since kiddos are naturally curious about everything, it certainly can't hurt to introduce written language as early as possible. I would like to try it with our baby when s/he arrives and see what can happen. You just never know. :)

Fed to robyn's brain | May 14, 2003