Babies learn and absorb all that they see around them: they are constantly working at understanding their world. As a baby is open to understanding all that s/he sees, teaching some phonemes (sounds) from the things that s/he observes and experiences in everyday life is advantageous. If reading is introduced to the baby early-on, it can be a natural and exciting routine in her/his day and will therefore be unlikely to present a serious challenge later on.
Since s/he is already learning all the time, the building blocks of reading can be laid to pave the way for developing into an able learner. Being able to read means that from as young as 18 months, a child can begin to relate to the written information s/he sees in her/his surroundings as a way of learning and interacting with the world. Our view is that it is best to wait until the child has developed the ability to produce some clear speech between 18 to 24 months, and teach the phonemes which make up all of the words of the English language - there are 144 of them - having mastered these phonemes, the child can decode an unlimited number of words.
A research team at the University of Washington, found that with every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants learned 6-8 fewer new vocabulary words than babies who never watched the videos. These products had a strong detrimental effect on babies between 8 to 16 months old: the age at which language skills are starting to form.
Professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico, Dr. Vic Strasburger says "Babies require face-to-face interaction to learn". Leaders are Readers assert that teaching a toddler how to read should provide enjoyment when done in a manner free from panic and anxiety.
Parents can lay strong foundations for their child's future academic achievement in the pre-school years. Children identified as 'gifted' or at least categorised as high-achievers commonly arrive at school with talents and dispositions developed in environments enriched by their parents even before the child begins schooling.
We view the Leaders are Readers' role as that of facilitating parents in providing a stimulating home environment for their toddler. We believe our role is especially important for helping to raise achievement where families have traditionally not experienced going on to university, and the toddler is not attending a pre-school. Teaching a child how to read so that he or she can independently decode and understand written communication is good sense when, as is the case in the uk, where children by age 6 (Year 2), are required to sit written assessments in reading, writing and spelling. We help parents to close the gap of inequality in school readiness.
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