Here’s H. reading a random page from Jones’ History of Western Philosophy. Recorded last Nov. when he was 4 years, 5 months.


A few comments about this. First, obviously, he must understand very little of this text. He seems intrigued by books he can’t understand, like the philosophy books on the shelves in my office, but he doesn’t get them down often. If I recall correctly, I just noticed him on the floor of my office, probably after his nap, getting out a philosophy book, and my videocam was on the bookshelf, so I just grabbed it and made this video. I think this establishes that he has mastered the phonics of English pretty well — so, again, this is something little kids are capable of being taught to do. But it is interesting to me that he misread “psychology” as “physiology.”  Clearly, he’s seeing a long, difficult word he has rarely seen (“psychology”), and matched it up by shape to a word he has seen only maybe a few more times (he might have seen the word “physiology” in one or two of our books about the human body).  But he’s capable of using phonics to correct his “whole word” reading.

If you want to know how we got to this point, see How and Why I Taught My Toddler to Read.


Preschooler (H.) reading from David Elkind’s Miseducation: Preschoolers at Risk yesterday (Dec. 28):