Glenn Doman Teaching Philosophies for Reading

There are several things to keep in mind when following the Glenn Doman flash card method…

  1. Keep it fun – always make sure that your child is in a good mood when introducing the cards.  Keep your voice bright and cheerful.
  2. If your child is sick, give the program a break and resume when your child recovers.
  3. Always keep your child wanting more.  In this case, less is more.  Don’t get eager to do more just because your child wants it.  The last thing you want to do is overdo it and put your child off learning.
  4. If your child or baby turns away – stop.  Don’t insist on continuing, just stop.  Resume again the next day from the point that you stopped.  Do not be tempted to repeat things from the start because it will bore your child and put him off future sessions.
  5. Just show the cards once and put them away.  Don’t make your child repeat after you.  (For some reason, Gavin always repeats after me, although I don’t expect him to).
  6. Avoid the temptation to repeat the cards too many times – boring your child with the same words over and over again risks triggering boredom.
  7. Make sure you wait at least 15 minutes between sessions.  (For Gavin, I found I had to make it longer between sessions or he would start looking away).
  8. Never let your child play with the cards.
  9. Avoid introducing letters of the alphabet.  Start with words as they are more useful and have more meaning to a baby than the letters of the alphabet.  Useful words with meaning will be more interesting to your child than a list of abstract symbols that represent letters which mean nothing to them. (Gavin learned to recognise the alphabet around 2 years of age.  I guess he was interested because I related all the letters to characters from Thomas and Friends – A is for Arthur, B is for Bertie the bus, C is for Cranky the crane, D is for Donald and Douglas, etc.)
  10. Start with words that mean something in their world, such as names of people they often see – Mummy, Daddy, grandpa, grandma; food they eat – cereal, cracker, water, milk.  Because these words have meaning in their lives, they will be more interested to learn how to recognise them.
  11. After going through the entire Glenn Doman reading program, it is believed that children will naturally learn to read more words on their own without requiring future assistance.  Although children are taught how to read using “phonics” at school, this system will be complimentary to the Glenn Doman method for learning how to read.
  12. After each flashcard session, play actively with your child as this helps him to retain the information he has just learned.
  13. If you are making your own cards, you have to make sure that the font is large enough for your child to read.  If the font is too small, your child may not be able to read it.  When you get to the later part of the program when your child is beginning to read books, you may find him struggling with certain books.  If that’s the case, increase the font size and try again.  The font size on the cards are actually pretty large.

Although Doman insists that the font must be large enough or the child may struggle to read it, I find that Gavin doesn’t appear to have a problem with small font.  Based on yesterday’s example, he is quite capable of reading text on a menu.  Nevertheless, it is still important to keep the words on the flashcards large because it helps your child to recognise the words more easily.  Small words on their own may be easily recognised by your child.  The real test is whether they can recognise the word printed in a smaller font.

Update: This post was written some years ago. Please see our updated notice on the Glenn Doman Program.

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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