To really understand how this works, I recommend that you get a copy of Glenn and Janice Doman’s book, “How to teach your baby to read”. The hardcover copy has dropped to $15.61 at amazon.com, and the paperback can be had for under $5.00 used. But to get started, here’s the basics.
Write first words in large letters in red ink on sturdy posterboard. Think really Large! Like six inches! This is because baby vision is not 20-20, and you want them to be able to see it well. And they are more attracted to red than black. Try “mommy” and “daddy” for the first words, as these are often the first words a baby learns to say.
Show the “mommy” card quickly and set it down. Play with your baby. Do patty cake, or kissy games, or “this little piggy”. Then flash the card again and say clearly, “This says mommy”. Set the card down and play for another couple of minutes. Repeat one more time, then the lesson is over. You spend only a few minutes total, but show the card three times. Repeat later in the day, several times a day, for a week.
Do the same routine the next week with the word “daddy”.
The third week is a big challenge. You flash one card and ask your baby what it says. If he says the word correctly, praise him! Get real excited. Jump up and down, clap your hands, kiss him profusely. This is a big deal! But if he is wrong, just go back to step one and begin again. He’s a baby! Give him a break!
Once your baby recognizes Mommy and Daddy correctly, you can move on to more words. Now the letters can be slightly smaller, five inches, I think. It’s been 26 years since I read the book. I don’t remember the next sequence of vocabulary words taught, either, although I don’t suppose it really matters. You could teach words as your baby learns to speak them. If “highchair” is part of his vocabulary, then make a word flashcard for it.
That’s the Glenn Doman approach, in a nutshell.
He now has other books available, as well. “How to teach your baby Math” and “How to teach your baby to be physically superb” really caught my eye. I’ll be ordering them soon, and posting a book review of them as well.
If you’re really interested in early reading, you might want to check out this website. I just discovered it this morning, but I’ve emailed them and asked for a free demo so I can learn more about it. I’ll let you know what I learn! The demo is free, though, so if you don’t want to wait, go ahead and order it yourself.
I think teaching a baby is exciting, but the most important lesson is not reading, or math, or physical fitness. I think the most important thing gained from these activities is the close bond you build with your child.