uses & endorses

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This one’s for the benefit of the other parents with young children who read this blog; others can skip it.

A few months ago, a friend of mine recommended Siegfried Engelmann’s “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” to me, so I got it for our three-year-old. I enthusiastically endorse it. We’re a couple of months into the program now, and it’s a big hit with him—to the point where one of the most effective rewards for good behavior we can offer him is “an extra reading lesson tonight.” More to the point, it’s working—he’s reading everything in sight and figuring out how to sound out unfamiliar words.

He’s also said that when we’ve finished the reading lessons, he wants math lessons, and when we finish the math lessons, he wants Spider-Man lessons. So a few days ago I took another of my friend’s suggestions and got copies of the first two Singapore Math workbooks. (My son promptly grabbed the first one and started reading it.)

So: he’s got this ravenous desire to learn right now, and I’m happy to fuel it. But when you start looking into educational techniques to be used at home, particularly with preschoolers, you start falling down a couple of rabbit-holes. The cover of “Teach Your Child to Read” mentions another book by Engelmann, called “Give Your Child a Superior Mind,” which was published in 1966 and now usually goes for relatively dizzying prices. I just found one for a relatively non-dizzying price, and… yeah, it hasn’t aged terribly well, although it has a few ideas I might try with my kid. And now, looking into Engelmann’s own story, I’m finding stuff like this National Review piece, which includes the memorable sentence “Engelmann is a pariah in educational circles not because he grooms like a biker, dresses like a farmer, and curses like a sailor, though all those things are true.”

It’s very interesting where I am right now, but it does smell like rabbits.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas published on February 1, 2009 4:11 PM.

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