Tell me if you have had this thought:
"OHMYGOD MY CHILD WILL NEVER LEARN TO READ AND WILL THUS BE RELEGATED TO LIVING IN MY BASEMENT AND TAKING WORK AS AN ASPIRING SERIAL KILLER IF I DON'T GET HIM/HER TO RECITE ALL THE LETTERS OF THE ALPHABET IN THE PROPER ORDER AS WELL AS SPELL HIS/HER NAME PROPERLY"
Yeah, I thought so. Now it will surprise none of you that Emily has been learning avoidant for the entirety of her life. I like to think it is her special way of sticking it to her parents, the over achieving and overly educated. I truly think she gets a kick out of answering "I don't know" in a plaintive voice when asked simple everyday questions.
When she was 2, I asked her teachers to assess her for color blindness. Yes, it is rare in girls, but this child answered "Lello" (Yellow) to every color question I asked for a solid year. I became convinced she couldn't see color.
"No," her teachers told me, "She pointed to the correct color blocks when we asked her to help us get them. She knows her colors."
Later, it was days of the week. Emily refused to tell you the days of the week. Now, I do know that when she feels pressured she does experience a strange type of aphasia - her brain shuts down and she blanks out. During these times, information retrieval is a moot question. But this was simple refusal to play our little game. Nope. She wasn't interested.
Letters and Letter sounds have proved challenging - even to this day. If she is rushing - and her brain is constantly rushing - she doesn't slow down enough to hear the sounds in words. If you try to get her to slow down, she just starts throwing out random guesses as to what letters are in words. This means her spelling is atrocious. Even words we know she KNOWS are habitually misspelled. Part of her early issue, of course, were the chronic ear infections. During the first 18 months of her life, she heard everything as if she were underwater. Knowing what I do about brain development NOW, I would have pushed for the tubes to be placed Much earlier than 18 months. That was 18 months of experience and synapse development she will never get back and once the window on some of these fundamental senses (hearing/sight) close, there is no recovery.
However, she is a great reader and her comprehension is through the roof. Her issues have remained in the "mechanics" of writing.
So, why I have provided a synopsis of Emily's development as a reader/writer? Partially to show you that development will not be rushed, regardless of what a parent or preschool or kindergarten teacher can do. There is no magic bullet to reading and writing except that of Time. There is no magic curriculum that will teach your child to learn to read before they are ready (and I am going to address this issue too - Readiness).
Getting your child into the right program, or the best program or the most exclusive program means very little in the larger scheme of things. Sure, they may have a bigger variety of experiences to draw from (which is ow we increase knowledge) but there will be no acceleration in ability - just like baby walkers don't teach a baby to walk.
(I am halting this post here, and will post the second part tomorrow)