Friday, October 5, 2012

31 for 21 - Question from a reader about reading & math

A while ago, a reader asked some questions about teaching reading & math to her son. I thought I'd post my replies in case it helps someone else.  I only have my response, not the original questions but it should still make sense.

I found it very tough to really know what K was learning until she was around 2 years of age.  I tried very hard not to test her knowledge so really didn't know until she started becoming verbal enough to read out loud. 

I wonder if going back to paper flashcards would help your son.  We only switched to Little Reader on the computer when K was over 3.5 years & already reading simple commercial print stories. It seemed like she didn't learn nearly as well from the computer as she did with a laminated flashcard.

Even now, if K does not want to be tested she will either refuse to read or be silly & say completely wrong words so it is possible that he resents testing.

My other thought is that if you are repeating things too much & boring him, he may be losing interest. 

If he is losing interest it may be helpful to show the cards more quickly like this:

Fast Flashing

.  Do you use a flashcard with a picture?  That may help keep his interest. Also using a few less cards along with showing them as quickly as possible may help.  Always try to quit before he loses interest.  This may mean doing shorter but more frequent sessions.

As for math, I'm not really sure what is best.  We sporadically did a math program but probably because I didn't see as much positive feedback, I wasn't as consistent. We did do math dots but I'm not sure how well she learned them.  K did teach herself basic numerals before age 2 though & is just finishing a traditional kindergarten math curriculum one year ahead of schedule. 

The other important thing to remember about Doman dots & quantity is that the ability to see & identify large quantities is a not a skill that stays with babies except in rare cases.  This is why babies often start out with this ability & then lose it before age 3. The whole point is to give them a solid basis for later math skills.  Even thought they may no longer be able to instantly recognize quantities, other math skills should come more easily. I do think that most kids retain this skill until age 2 or 3 though so this may not be the case with your son. There is a great thread on BrillKids about this with replies from IAHP themselves.

To be honest, I can only think of one typical child that seemed to have great success with the Doman math program. I'm sure that there are others but I don't think that it is that common.

K is still doing pretty well with math so it is possible that her early math dot program helped some but it is hard to say for sure.

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