Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why are you teaching a 4 year old to read???

In case you missed my previous posts on Charlotte Mason methods for reading instruction and my hope to teach Punkin to read using those methods, let me bring you quickly up to speed. My older two daughters learned to read fairly early (4.5 and around 5 years old) and they now read exceptionally well. So, when Punkin began asking to learn several months back, I noted her interest. However, she was not even four yet, so I also did my best to distract her and basically stall. That worked for a little while. But, the time has come :) Punkin is ready to learn and I am eager to try out Miss Mason's reading methods for the first time.

If you are familiar with Miss Mason, you might immediately question the legitimacy of beginning so early on with reading instruction. CM lessons cannot begin until the child reaches age six, right? That's right. Well, sort of ;) I'll quote the following passage from Home Education:

Time of Teaching to Read, an Open Question.––Reading presents itself first amongst the lessons to be used as instruments of education, although it is open to discussion whether the child should acquire the art unconsciously, from his infancy upwards, or whether the effort should be deferred until he is, say, six or seven, and then made with vigour.

I at least see a window here. On the same page, Mason holds up Susanna Wesley as a pattern we might consider following, and she began reading instruction on each child's fifth birthday. Just something to consider :)

If you're interested, here's a play-by-play of our first lesson.