Monday, 29 June 2009

The beginnings of reading?

I'm hopeful that my attempts to teach Iona to read are beginning to pay off. Although she usually still tends to say "Mamma" when she sees all 3 cards, she is usually quicker to realise what "daddy" says. When I lay 2 cards out and ask her to find a particular card she is now usually able to do so, and on 1 occasion last week as soon as she saw the "head" flashcard she put her hands to her head!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

How to Teach Kids to Swim

From looking at the Brill Kids website ( I discovered that YouTube had some really good videos on teaching your baby to swim. One in particular proved very useful, as I had been wondering how to move Iona on from being comfortable being submerged to swimming on her own.

When we went swimming today I decided to risk trying to persuade her to float a bit towards the side bar. She was a bit clingy generally, so not too keen, but I was thrilled that, with a hint of support underneath, she managed to "swim" virtually on her own a short distance to the side. Now I have an aim for the next few sessions (not sure how many it will take): to decrease the amount of support until Iona is able to float / swim to the side from a couple of her lengths away.

Monday, 15 June 2009

More on reading

I've tried to show Iona the "Mummy", "Daddy" and "head" flashcards at least once a day since my last post. She now says "Mama" as soon as she sees them. Unfortunately, that's true whichever one I show her! However, when I show her "Daddy" and correct her that it's not "Mummy", then prompt her with "Da..." she excitedly says "Dada", so I feel that's some progress, especially at only 13 months old.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

On reading

A month or two ago I came across a website which had downloadable signs to put up around the house (URL to follow), to help babies / children to learn to read. I'd planned to do this for Iona, but not got around to it, so I printed them out and put them up. Unfortunately, several got torn down fairly quickly, but in the last week or so she's been pointing at some and asking "Tha?", so I've been telling her. She's also pointing similarly to page numbers and things like the "DK" logo on books. As she seems really interested, I decided that she's now ready to begin to learn to read, especially as her talking is coming on in leaps and bounds. This may seem ridiculously early, but my Mum taught me when I was 4, using Glen Doman's "Teach Your Baby to Read Kit", which I've inherited. According to this, and the site Brill Baby / Brill Kids (, now is quite a reasonable age to begin showing her flashcards, without any pressure.

Consequently, I got the kit out of the spare room, and found the large, red "mummy" flashcard, which is the one you're supposed to begin with. I showed it to Iona a few times yesterday and the day before and told her what it said. She was very interested, and pointed to individual letters, asking about them. Although I don't want to use phonics, as English isn't very phonetic, I felt I should answer her questions and tell her the letter sounds that she was asking about, while trying to maintain emphasis on the word as a whole. I also broke the kit's rules and showed her "head", as she's been extremely keen on that word for the last 2 or 3 days, and "daddy", which is one of her favourite words. We'll have to see whether that confuses her.

Today I got the "mummy" flashcard out and before I even had a chance to ask what it said she said "mmm"! Mind you, she did the same with the "daddy" and "head" cards.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Water baby part 2

Iona and I went swimming again today and had a great time - she hung on to the bar at the side on her own quite a lot today, and wasn't at all bothered by doing so. She's really come on in her confidence these past few weeks. I think I even saw a bit of a smile of anticipation when I started singing "Ring a Ring a Roses" with her, and she seemed to hold her breath just before we ducked down. Also, I encouraged her to float on her back (she's never that keen on that), and managed to take my hands away from under her for a split second. So that's officially her first time floating in the pool on her own!

It's been a couple of days of physical progress for Iona - yesterday she was standing up holding on to me and a couple of times I managed to let go of her for a very short split second before she wobbled and landed on her bottom!