Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Using Games to Teach Reading Skills to 4 Year Olds

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have devised teaching games that are capable of teaching Swedish children as young as 4 years of age early reading skills. It is likely that such an approach could lead to even earlier learning of reading skills, in some children.
Previous research has shown that children’s reading development can be stimulated with structured and playful language games from the age of six. In a current three-year study, researchers at the University of Gothenburg are exploring the effects of having children as young as four participate in such games. The hypothesis is that young children who are actively stimulated in their development of so-called linguistic and phonological awareness end up better prepared for dealing with written language.

...The preliminary findings indicate that the phonological training had an effect immediately following the training, and that the effect can be observed one year later as well. ‘The children in the intervention group had a higher level of phonological awareness. They were for example able to identify and manipulate speech sounds. Rhyming is one example of this. The ability to recognise the form of the language is something that researchers know is important for early reading development,’ says Senior Lecturer Ulrika Wolff, who is heading the project together with Professor Jan-Eric Gustafsson. Since the studied children are still in pre-school, they are not yet being taught the art of reading. The researchers are planning to follow the same group of children for a few years once they start school in order to investigate the more long-term effects of early intervention on the development of reading and writing skills. Doing so will show whether or not the children who have not received the training are able to catch up with the intervention group. _UGothenburg
The more headstarts you can give your child in terms of skills acquisition, the more dangerous he can ultimately become. Reading allows one to acquire knowledge independently, without another person supervising or dictating the terms of learning.

The Swedish researchers once again point out the importance of game play in early childhood learning. Infants and young children are attracted to play, and are able to focus better in a play-captive state. This relationship of play and learning can remain in effect throughout childhood and into adulthood, although the "play" of adults can be harder to recognise as such.

Human brains develop according to a schedule, which is determined by the interaction of the child's genetic complement and the child's lifetime history from conception, and earlier (congenital factors affecting gametes and gestational environment).

As critical periods come and go, brain plasticity occurs at variably optimal levels. If parents have not prepared the child's environment for specific critical periods, much of the potential can be lost. A better prepared environment will boost the child's plasticity during particular windows of development, giving the child a head start -- and thus an extended lifetime with regard to specific skills and competencies.

Multi-competent children become multi-competent adults. And that is very dangerous to the powers that be, unless the powers that be happen to closely resemble the original writers of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. But in the modern world, that is most unlikely.

Train your children to be powerful and dangerous. But prepare them for the backlash which is likely to be ginned up by the status quo. H/T Science Direct

No comments: