Thursday, August 21, 2008


Hunter is really into spelling things these days. We'll be sitting at breakfast and he'll just randomly start spelling out the words on his cereal box. Today I found him sitting on the bed with his state words and was spelling them out, so I took a video.

He really likes spelling things these days, and I know it is going to help him with his reading. I wish that he would have learned to read before he learned his letters, but since he already knows them I'm going to make the most of it and use memorizing the spelling of words to help him remember that "ball" is not "bat" because "ball" is b-a-l-l and "bat" is b-a-t. Right now instead of simply reading the word "ball" he'll say it's something random like "bear" simply because it starts with a "b".

And and I know what you all must be thinking - "What? Learn to read before learning the alphabet? Isn't that, like, impossible?" Well, no, not at all. Reading is a brain function - we read whole words at once, not individual letters. That is why there are words that you have read a dozen times but do not know how to spell. Glenn Doman says to teach words before the alphabet (for babies at least), otherwise instead of the child simply reading the word apple they will exclaim over their old friend "a". I didn't quite believe him at first - it's against common wisdom! But I have found this to be ever so true. Hunter would see anything that starts with a "c" and say "Look Mommy! Crystal!" even though he knows the word Crystal front and back, and "car" looks nothing like "Crystal" - yet he would still exclaim over "Crystal" simply because he knew Crystal has a c in it. He would even do that with his own name and anything that had the letter "H" in it was "his name".

But, it's not the end of the world for him. He's not bound to remain illiterate for the rest of his life because he knows the letters of the alphabet and tends to focus on individual letters rather than whole words. Instead, I'm using letters as a way to help him memorize the structure of words, via spelling. Once he has memorized "c-a-t" he will always be able to read the word "cat" and know that it is indeed different than the word "car" or "call" or "can". Instead of focusing on the "c" (like he has been), spelling will help him to focus in on how the words are composed.

He has been having fun with it, and learning a ton of words simply by playing. I know this is going to be a breakthrough for him, as he is so interested in letters and will be able to stop getting similar words confused.

"The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me."
Ezra 4:18

Hunter is 3 years, 5 months old

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