Saturday 4 June 2011

Teach Your Baby to Read

I finally found some time to write about this. As you all know I use the Glenn Doman's Reading Program with Maimoonah to teach her how to read, and I am writing this post in request of some sisters who wanted to know how I use this with Maimoonah and what is her progress so far. What I am going to write here is 100% my view and how it has worked with my daughter. Please do keep in mind I am not by any way saying that this is the best method to teach the children to read. I am going to only share my experience with my daughter and how it has effected her Insha Allaah! Every child is different and every house hold is different. So please see what is better for your child and facilitate the correct learning methods Insha Allaah!

To know about this program you must read the book "How to teach your baby to read". But to get a brief idea you can click here and here and read Insha Allaah. I advise all of you to read the link first before continuing to read here Insha Allaah, so that you have an idea of the program.

Basically this is a program they developed for brain damaged children and later after they saw the results they thought if the brain damaged children could read well using this program, then surely normal children could do better. This was the gentle revolution.

Ok, now that you have read how to do this program let me tell you first that I did not stick 100% percent to the instructions given. For example I did not use flash cards. I printed out each word on an A4 size paper and put them into a binder. Also I did not stick to the sessions according to the book. Rather I showed her words from the ring binder may be three times a day some days and may be more or less on other days. I did not stick to sessions. According to her moods I just flashed the papers. Also I did not remove any words from the binder rather Maimoonah wanted to read all the old words too, so had to keep them all. I started this program knowingly after reading Glenn Doman's book when Maimoonah was 2 years and 5 months, but I have been doing this with Alphabets and few words since she was 1 year old. So first I showed her about 100 words through the binder and after that I started writing on the whiteboard. I used to take some words from a book and teach her those words for the week, then I gave her that book to read with me and she could identify the words and was able to read the whole book.

I have not used any pictures nor videos nor DVD's for this. Lately I used the Power Point Presentation, but Maimoonah mostly learnt through white board and my writing. I use to teach her in print as well as writing. After she learns words from the white board I type the same words on Yahoo Messenger and she reads. When I first started this programe I never asked her to repeat anything, but later she would insist that she wanted to read and now she reads masha Allaah.

I used to always think how would she know if she had to read the word when it is all in upper case (Glenn Doman says write the words as you see in print, meaning write in lower case and write the first letter capital when it is a proper noun etc etc), but masha Allaah now she is able to read the upper case words too. I guess when they grow they can understand that both are same , Allaahu A'lam.

I have not taught her phonics but I taught her the letter sounds before I officially used this program. She knows the letter sounds but I do not think she uses that to read, Allaahu A'lam.

Maimoonah always loved to read and I have not seen her stressed or bored with this method. when I know she is losing interest I just stop.

The main issue with this method I think is that you have to be consistent and keep providing lot of reading materials. If you lose consistency they may forget and you might have to start all over again. And do not just flash words only. When they are able to read few words try making small sentences and a small story books with few words. I prefer not to have pictures at the beginning as I noticed the concentration is on the pictures and not on the words. So I avoided pictures. But now Alhamdulillaah she learns to read through books so pictures do not distract her.

Give lot of praise from day one. It goes a long a way throughout the program. Alhamdulillaah they feel so proud when they have accomplished a small mission. Reward them a lot and show lot of love and praise. Please do not get frustrated and you will only get frustrated if you ask your kids to repeat. I know you will want to do this to test them but do not do. Patience! You will see the reward soon Insha Allaah!

As much as possible include the child's name in the sentences. The kids love to read something to do with them : )

I used to think that Maimoonah is sometimes reading through memory and also reading without comprehension. But I used to change words and write some silly things like this sometimes to see what she does!

So she actually laughs before she reads aloud, or she will ask me why did he get lost? So I knew she knows what she is reading!

The Cons (what I see)
  • You have to keep track of the words you have taught
  • You need to be at it
  • You need to take your effort
  • If you are not organized its difficult and you may confuse the child
  • If you leave the programe for some time the child will forget and you might have to star all over again

The Pros (What I see)
  • Organizing does not take a lot of time
  • Its a stress free learning for the child as well as the mother
  • Since you are starting at an early age you have no deadline to meet
  • it is not time consuming
  • you do not have to write out a whole curriculum for this :)
  • The end result is achievable at an early age if you have started early
  • You do not have to waste your time teaching children to read when they are 5 or 6 years. You can spend time in actual learning by then Alhamdulillaah!
  • Children develop self esteem when they are able to read.
  • And you do not have to spend anything much : ) (I have seen there are packs for sale with flash cards, dvds, audio and all that now, but I prefer this simple method of writing :)

So it has been a year since I started this with Maimoonah and Alhamdulillaah I am satisfied with her progress. And now she learns faster too through books. Since she reads books now the words keep repeating and it makes it easier for her Alhamdulillaah! But I think there is a long way to go! And need consistency throughout bi idhnillaah!

This is what I could think of for now. If I have not answered any of your questions please do leave a comment and will answer Insha Allaah! Hope and pray this will benefit all of you who are interested Insha Allaah!

PS: Masha Allaah this has become a nice discussion so far with some nice comments. Sisters please do participate and let us know your experience as this would help all of us bi idhnillaah!


The Sub-Domain said...

Assalam u alaikum

U know what ! Every child is different . SubhanAllah

I have started doing progressive phonics and jolly phonics with subhana but I feel I must test this method too.

Do u think it's alright to use different methods altogether ?

The goal we want to achieve is that start reading on their own.

What do u think?

U told me tht u will start the phonics after whole words , n u know m also thinking to take these methods altogether.

Is that all possible ?

Umm subhana

Homeschool Diary said...

Asalamualaikum wa rahmatullah,

I’ve been reading a lot about this method. I have read many good testimonials regarding it, but I’m still not 100%. I think as you mentioned each mother has to trust her own instincts and for me the phonics method of doing it seems more systematic and logical. It worries me that if the words that are learnt aren’t constantly reviewed then the child may forget, where as with phonics there is only 44 sounds to memorise and then almost any word can be read whether it has been encountered or not, the child just has to remember the phonic sounds not hundreds of words. The whole method just feels wrong.
In saying that, now my son has a good grasp of the alphabet sounds and is progressing on to other phonic sounds and reading, I will probably use the method of quickly going through words(firstly the most frequent ones) in a folder just as you have described to speed up his reading. Mashallah your post has been very beneficial for me and very thought provoking and it has made me question my methods. I think we must always question our methods to make sure they are right for our kids.
I know you have spent loads of time already describing some of your teaching methods but please can you give some more advice. I specifically wanted to use the Glen Domann method for teaching Arabic as I’m not a native Arabic speaker, we don’t know any native Arabic speakers so my kids won’t hear Arabic used at all except when I’m reading Quran. I have already started and use powerpoint to flash through pictures and words…5 a day, 3 times a day before adding some more words. I intend to just go through the slides with my daughter (1.5) and son (3) and then should I just wait for a few months to see results without doing any further Arabic work? Also you mentioned just writing a word on a piece of paper without pictures. I think I have to use pictures as otherwise we won’t know the meaning…I don’t just want to learn to read but also to learn the language. Do you think having the words written on paper is superior to powerpoint.
Sorry about the long comment and I look forward to reading your advice on teaching Arabic. A big Jazakkallahkhair sister. I pray this all counts as Sadaqah jarriah for you.

Monika said...

Assalaamu alaikum,

Jazak Allah khair for this post ukhtee, as you know I`ve tested this method briefly just recently and it made my son feel comprehension regarding reading in a whole new way masha Allah. Im waiting for the book to read more on the method insha Allah.

And it was interesting to know how you did not follow it 100% regarding let hear re read the old words.. I have done that too regarding arabic/word flow and was a bit doubtful if I did anything wrong, but as they did not seem bored at all and asked for the old words I continued to use them anyways, as you say each mother and child needs to find their way :)

Barak Allahu fiky

Umm Abdarrahman said...


Jazakillaah khairun Umm Maimoonah for the post. These are my views of the method.Alhamdulillah it is about 3 months since i have started the glenn doman method with my 3 year old as well as my 9 month old boys. Masha'Allaah i do find that it helps in vocabulary . I have read Glenn Domans book on how to teach your child maths and even how to teach your child encyclopaedic knowledge. And I am doing the math dot program as well with them. So i show them a set of Arabic cards, english cards and math dots. My 9 month gets very excited the moment i show him the cards and so is my 3 year old but he gets a little tired .he likes me to introduce more new words. what i do is keep a record of the words and go on for a week and retire one card from the list and keep adding new words. I do agree with sister umm maymoonah that picture do shift the concentration. so what i do is once i have flashed several times the card in front then I go on to show a picture if necessary. but i started off with words he knows by hearing which makes it easier. it is a very stress free way for a child i must agree. I do not ask him to repeat . But I do see that he knows them and recognises them when he sees it. I have taught him the alphabets and its sounds. I do teach him phonics but i do not emphasis a lot on it. I do phonics with him side by side but at a very slow pace. but if i had to compare both i would say hes learning the glenn doman way of words faster as well as big words like refrigerator/shoulder/bellybutton etc quickly. We do Arabic words as well related to topics that we are studying or sometimes i take words from the Surah that he is memorising and then go on to show him in the Mushaf. That really makes him happy. To sum it all up. this method is working very well with both my children. The 9 month old when he is shown to cards and for testing sake if i ask him one of them he points out to the right one Masha'Allaah. By the aid of Allaah alone this has helped us. Walhamdulillah . Wallaahu'Alam


Umm Maimoonah said...

Alaikum salaam warahmathullaah Ya Akhawaat.

Alhamdulillaah this has become a nice friutful discussion masha Allaah!

Ummi Subuhana, according to Glenn Doman , he says not to teach phonics at the beginning. If you are following this method then he says its ok to teach phonics after the child has learnt to read through his method.

But as for me I am not too sure if I would confuse the child if I teach both, so I have decided to wait till September and see how it goes and slowly introduce phonics then Insha Allaah. Also as Umm Abdar Rahman say may be you could try out both at the same time, Allaahu A'lam.

Amatullaah, yes I understand your concerns and many sisters tell me the same too. Phonics is something permenant and this method is not very stable. But I have seen 3 wonderful children who have been taught only this method from the age of two and now they are over 10 years and doing very well in reading as well as Hifdhl and all the other subjects. Allaahu Baarik lahum! And their mom is my cousin and she did not teach them phonics and they later went to school (by the time they enter school they should have already learnt to read according to Singapore stnadards, so the school did not teach them how to read) and continued studies. They did not forget anything till today Alhamdulillaah! So for me they are living examples and so far its working well with Maimoonah too!

With regard to Arabic, since I am not a native Arabic speaking I must admit I am very slow. I found it difficult to make cards until I got the Learning Roots Word Flow. But I know if I put a little more effort I can do more. When it comes to Arabic for some reason I feel phonics in Arabic will be better for maimoonah as the rules are very clear and not confusing like English. English is a very irregular language. But Arabic is something that is clear cut rich and no room for confusion. And I have seen with Maimoonah she is picking up the fatha kasra method of reading fast. So for Arabic I intend using both methods Insha Allaah!

Umm Aadam, jazzakillaah khayr for the comment and I hope both your kids do well, Insha Allaah!

Umm Abdar Rahman a big jazzakillaah Khayr for sharing your point of view! Really appreciate!

Umm Suhailah said...


As Salaamu Alaikum

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh how could I be behind on a post lol! I didn't even know you post this - I just came on to see what you guys did for week 4 of the curriculum. Lol...........ok to the post

Baraka'Allaahu'Feekum for sharing the pros/cons with this method. I've been waiting for this post- because as my sister you tell me what to avoid in methods or books that have something unIslaamic. May Allaah azza wal jal reward you for this Aameen.
As far as I know- you seem to always look out for me- sending me e-mails- advising me or warning me. So you are my sister.
I say this because I decided to use this method- but I wanted to know from a sister's perspective that's striving upon the manhaj to tell me what to avoid.
Now over the past week/weekend since your last post about "Q&A" I have decided to use this method (completely). Even as we speak I'm looking at the rules on these flash cards.
As far as I know- it appears to be something that will work well for the girls and Allaah knows best.
Zainab will be starting Monday along with the girls learning single words- and perhaps Susu will do couplets- and Yara single words---*still reading*
Love you for the sake of Allaah. and Baraka'Allaahu'Feekum for everyone sharing their ideas..........this is a very good example of sisterhood :)

Umm Maimoonah said...

Alaikum salaam Umm Suhailah
Barakallaah Feekum! Yes indeed all of us are really sisters in this dheen Alhamdulillaah, we are so far away yet so close upon the Manhaj of the salafus saalih and striving to earn the pleasure of Allaah by cooperating with each other upon birr and Taqwa Insha Allaah. May Allaah protect this beautiful sisterhood and guide us and bless us in it. Aameen!

I am sure your girls will do well Insha Allaah! Especially Zainab since she is small and you will be surprised Insha Allaah she would read like Maimoonah when Zainab turns two Insha Allaah! But remember never ask her to repeat. A little later may be after a months or two she would point to her "Nose" when you show her the word "nose" Insha Allaah! So have fun! and May Allaah make it easy for all of you and give you success. Aameen!

Umm Suhailah said...


Argh lol that no repeating will have to sink in real soon Mashaa'Allaah- example of Monday: "Okay guys so what's this word" lol!!! *shakes head* Today will strive to not ask them to repeat Aameen to your dua :)

Lisha said...

Assalamu Alaikum, thank you for sharing this on my parenting page, today!

Umm Maimoonah said...

Alaikum salaam Lisha, you are most welcome.!

Unknown said...

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