“I have a surprise for you,” a toddler’s dad says to her adorable self. He opened a book with large letters and explained that when she reads the correct word, she gets a treat. The treat varies from fresh fruit (like raspberries, 1 raspberry per word) to 1 M&M candy.
Noble prize laureate James Heckman researched early childhood development and calls this “parent-coaching”. He stressed early learning from 0-5 years (when it matters most, when brain develops for foundation of cognitive and character skills for life success). Quality early childhood education programs lead to the foundation of success, but can use parent coaching along with quality childhood programs make the most impact (especially if limited resources). Whole Child investment packages cognitive skills with character skills, such as attentiveness, impulse control, persistence, and teamwork.
Cognition + character = education, career, life success
Ever since the toddler was a bit less than one year old, she watched educational videos on alphabets and phonetics. Her parents constantly read and talked to her. They started with the alphabet, then phonetics, then words, and now sentences.
Some educational videos with alphabets include:
- Bounce Patrol’s “Alphabet transport” and “Alphabet Occupations
- ABC songs for children
A popular learning program from the U.K. is Jolly Phonetics, which has books and songs like “V is for Van.” Jolly Phonetics is a program for learning reading and writing by synthetic phonics.
Phonics is a key skill to master when learning to read; the method works by sounding words in letter combinations and sounds. When pre-kindergarten kids are instructed in phonics, their later abilities to read and spell remain ahead. Phonics knowledge enables your child to form letter-sound correspondences and spelling patterns.