I've always thought I would love to teach my child to read, basic math, etc; instead of waiting for him to learn it when he starts school.

Do you have any experience doing it? Tips? Some good book about teaching him early all that stuff? Some didactic toys for this end? Appropriate age to start?

asked 05 Oct '09, 12:26

JJJ's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

edited 06 Oct '09, 14:20

For teaching basic Math, (once the digits 1-10 were learned) we used our fingers to count and to deduct to begin with.

Also we found that it was a great way to do Math "addition" and "subtraction" by refering to things that she was familiar with to begin with.

How many are we in the room now? Then asking if Daddy left the room how many would we be, and then if Daddy and Nana were to come in how many would we be? When she gave correct answers this also showed us that she was actually concentrating and visualising what we were asking her.

We also touched upon "division" in the same way, talking about objects and things she was familiar with.

I think with Math, the secret is to make it enjoyable, from the start :)


answered 05 Oct '09, 14:01

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

Great way to encourage abstract thinking also. What age did you start?

(05 Oct '09, 15:52) JJJ

Between the ages of 3 and a half and 4. She is now 5 and understands 0 and negative numbers too, and still seems to enjoy it!

(05 Oct '09, 18:57) Emi

I love "Here come the ABCs" by They Might Be Giants (as do my children). Great songs to introduce them to letters. We've got "Here comes Science" on order...

I would definitely start with letter sounds and the alphabet rather than trying to teach whole words. Likewise learning to count and then recognising the digits is the first point of maths. We've found that our kids have enjoyed learning about the first letters of their names as a starting point.

"I spy" is a good game when you're on walks or in the car, once you've got to the stage of knowing the letters themselves. Getting the first letter of a word usually isn't too hard (leaving aside sounds like "ch") even if full spelling is a lot harder.

When you're reading with your son, point out any words which come up a lot in his favourite books - if you can point to the same letters each time and say the same word, he'll eventually latch onto it.

Do you have nurseries or schools in your area which you could talk to? I'm sure they could give help and advice. Apart from anything else, it would be useful to try to teach the same system that your son will be using when he gets to school. It would be confusing for him to learn one set of phonics at home and a different one at school.


answered 05 Oct '09, 13:27

Jon%20Skeet's gravatar image

Jon Skeet
accept rate: 35%

I agree with all Jon has said, particularly the last paragraph! We also used the wooden alphabet and number puzzle toys from early on and our daughter was able to recognise the letters and spell out her name. I would recommend those too.

(05 Oct '09, 13:41) Emi

I started reading How To Teach Your Baby Math: The Gentle Revolution (Paperback) and it looks very promising, we'll start next week after I am done, but the book (even though a bit old) seems to make a lot of sense.


answered 05 Oct '09, 17:47

webclimber's gravatar image

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Glenn Doman has a set of books, Teach Your Baby To Read (and other similar ones for math, etc.). Sometimes the claims in it are a bit grandiose, but it does seem to work.


answered 05 Oct '09, 16:07

lgritz's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

For reading

My wife has been doing "Explode the Code" books with my 4-year old son for a few times a week for a few weeks and he is now reading three-letter words pretty well. Can really recommend it. BTW our son is the one who keeps pushing us to do the books with him...it's a blast for him.

For math

Beginning stuff really should work without materials, use your fingers or toys or something to teach simple numbers and addition and subtraction.


answered 05 Oct '09, 17:20

epaga's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%

There was a program featured on the American TV show 'The Doctors' called 'Your Baby Can Read' that is interesting and apparently remarkable at getting kids to be early readers. They said that if you start them as early as 6 months that by 12-14 months they will be able to comprehend the basics. I went our and got some basic flash cards - letters, numbers, small words, animals and colours and started doing these with my 13 month old. She is already picking up some stuff like copying the animal noises and things.


answered 06 Oct '09, 02:57

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

edited 06 Oct '09, 02:59

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Tammy ♦♦

My daughter is 20 months and she can already recognise and name 6 letters, I do a new one every few days and keep repeating them- using their phonetic sounds. She also has a basic grasp of counting 1,2,3. We make a game of it and I take any opportunity to point out a 'b' or a 'p' or such and she lights up when she gets it right. So I say go for it, ASAP.

For research check out some of the Montessori methods and I read a book "How to Raise a Brighter Child" by Joan Beck which was insightful. This site 1 was also useful. Good luck and enjoy.


answered 10 Oct '10, 06:40

carl's gravatar image

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edited 10 Oct '10, 19:57

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Tammy ♦♦

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Asked: 05 Oct '09, 12:26

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Last updated: 14 Oct '10, 16:22