What is Global Reading?

Global reading (early reading, full-word reading) is a term that came to Poland twenty years ago with the book by its creator Glenn Doman, which is entitled "How to teach a small child to read" (Glenn Doman, Janet Doman, How to teach a small child to read, published by EXCALIBUR, Bydgoszcz 1992). From the moment it appears, it causes quite a stir.

Watch the movie: "24-hour kindergartens for children"

1. The beginning of global reading

First things first. Glenn Doman, an American physical therapist, in the 1960s developed a method of rehabilitation for people with brain damage. Satisfied with the results, he wondered how this method would work for healthy children. From that moment on, global reading began to be used in work with young children, first in the United States, then in other countries. Glenn Doman has received many state decorations in various countries. The Institute for Achieving Human Opportunities, which he founded in Philadelphia in 1955, is now run by Glenn's daughter, Janet Doman. The Institute promotes the idea of ​​stimulating the youngest in various fields of activity.

Reading books to children

A love of books can be instilled with examples. The child more readily reaches for books when seeing the readers ...

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The Doman's book (co-authored by Glenn Doman's daughter) sparked considerable interest among Polish educators and psychologists. Twenty years ago reading was taught in kindergartens, and the promising title of the book encouraged many teachers and parents to try to "play reading" with completely young children. Master Doman promised what sounded like a fairy tale - the child would read without knowing the alphabet. And it was so. Daily, a few-minute-long presentations of boards with words were recommended, and their content was quickly absorbed by the extremely receptive mind of children. After learning the content of the boards with one word, it was recommended to present two- or three-word phrases. Then sentences.

Everything was going smoothly. Until the child showed a new word. This proved to be an insurmountable difficulty. The toddler could read the word "eye" because he had seen it before. When he was shown the board with the word "eye" on, he did not know what was going on.

Since then, a period of discouragement to the method and harsh criticism of global reading begins. Some hailed Doman as a quack.

At that time, I was working in a kindergarten. I already had a specialization in preschool education, but I finished Polish studies earlier. It helped me a lot in understanding Doman's ideas. I wrote a letter to Janet Doman, in which I expressed my doubts as to the sense of leading children using this method in Poland, where the language structure is different and each word has many variations.

I received information that the main purpose of working with this method is to stimulate the right hemisphere of the brain, the ability to read (global - this is important!) Comes by the way and is a "side effect" of using the method, and when working with children of other nationalities, the specificity of a given language should be taken into account. I was also given a tremendous amount of global reading material and a "blessing" to try, try, try.

Since then, I have been working with Polish children, looking for ways to modify Doman's method to include what is different in Polish - extensive inflection.

2. What is global reading and can it be used to teach a young child to read?

Let me start by saying that there are two types of reading. One thing is global, full-word reading. A child, looking at the inscription on the cup with the cheese, after some time "reads" the name of the cheese. This is what happens with book titles, inscriptions above shops, and a child's name if we write them frequently enough. The child does not need to know the letters to remember the entire graphic image of a word. Treats the word like a pictogram. We adults also read pictograms globally, i.e. pictures symbolizing some content. At the sight of the crossed envelope with a characteristic wheelchair in the parking lot, we receive the signal: "Place for the disabled". Unnecessary inscription, right? This is global reading.

When reading in this way, the child does not reflect and does not even know yet that a word consists of letters. I compare this stage to watching and naming buildings made of Lego blocks, in which the little one does not notice individual elements. Oh, he sees the building and names it.

Another type of reading is analytical-synthetic "ordinary" reading, the one we learn in school. Here you need not only knowledge of the letters, but also the ability to fold them, which is a difficult challenge. It is the most difficult stage in the process of learning to read. Parents often complain that their child knows the entire alphabet, and when he sees a word, he cannot read it. Properly. It is different to learn the names of the letters, it is another to be able to synthesize them. This task is much more difficult and requires a lot of practice.

I come back to the question in the subtitle. Can Doman's method teach a child to read? My answer is yes, but it will be a global reading, not analytical-synthetic. The young man will have to learn the latter anyway, because without him it is impossible to go through life.

If so, why bother with global reading? Is it not yet another nonsensical duty that ambitious parents want to add to their baby by taking away his moments of play?

3. Advantages of global reading

My answer is yes - 20 years of exploring the topic allowed me to be sure that reading globally is great fun with only advantages. Conducted in an atmosphere of ease and joy (which is the basic condition), it gives children and parents a lot of satisfaction. Develops and deepens important mental processes - memory, perceptiveness, visual analysis skills, attention. It is not without significance that the daily sessions, even though they are only a few minutes long, are one more occasion for having fun and closeness with the child.

Global reading wonderfully develops the right hemisphere of the brain, which is underused, and is responsible for such important processes as intuitive, non-schematic reasoning, as well as visual memory. By stimulating its activity, we make the child remember better, reads faster, can count in memory perfectly, and develops musical ear.

I have not read one more anywhere, and I can state it beyond any doubt - children guided by the method of global reading sooner and more easily learn "ordinary", ie analytical-synthetic reading. They start to read unfamiliar words without tedious exercises and read fluently without voting, which can be seen in the videos that I present on the website.

It happens that parents express doubts as to whether a child who starts reading earlier than his peers has a poorer childhood than the one who does not read. Well, I don't see any danger in a five-year-old reading himself a book. I would see a greater danger in the fact that he would watch movies on TV or slouch at the computer for several hours a day. There are many adults among adults who read at the age of five or four. As a rule, they are people who love books and reading, with a lot of general knowledge, who need the reading process to live like air.

So let's summarize:

  • global reading is not a way to learn "ordinary" analytical-synthetic reading,
  • it is a transition stage between non-reading and ordinary reading, allowing you to learn the latter easier and faster,
  • develops and improves important functions of the mind,
  • is a great way to have fun with your child,
  • it does not require effort, effort, long exercises - a few minutes a day is enough.

In order for the benefits of global reading to become visible in the process of playing with a child, certain conditions must be met regarding the atmosphere in which the sessions are held. I'll tell you about it next time.

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