Age 3-8

My Three-Year Old Learned to Read with Hooked on Phonics

We were stopped at a red light when my three-year old daughter said, “na-ka-ta”, reading the sign of a Japanese restaurant. I heard her and tears started to well in my eyes. For the past few months, I had been sitting with her at the kitchen table with the Hooked on Phonics book, teaching her phonics like cat, sat, nat.

Being an immigrant who did not learn English until age eight, I realized the importance of being able to read. I did not take it for granted or leave it up to the teachers. I wanted to show my daughter the possibilities after one learns to read.

Yes, a kid can start to read at age three. Why is this important? Your kid can get a head start on all the educational possibilities after learning to read. Your kid will always be above grade reading level, and be put in the better classes. This affects the education of your child more than you know. After teaching my child to read, I was able to make my child do workbooks for active learning. This allowed her to pass entrance exams to get into honors programs, top high schools and ace the SATs— and become an Ivy League university student.

I checked out the Hooked on Phonics website and they’ve provided a lot more material than was available to us 15 years ago, when I used the awesome tools for reading. I highly recommend that you check out some of the free samples and see what they can do to help your child learn to read.

Age 3-8 college

The Power of Incentives: How to Train Your Young Child’s Brain for Optimum Performance on Tests (Ages 3-8)

When my kid was three, I taught her how to read with Hooked on Phonics. From then on, I made her do pages of workbooks such as the NY state curriculum and Kumon math and English, all of which I ordered from Amazon. How do you make a kid do what you want? I did it with incentives. You want a new toy? Do a few pages of Kumon. Note that I was too cheap to actually pay thousands of dollars to the Kumon testing centers for them to watch my kid do workbooks when each Kumon book was only $10 on Amazon. I had to save money for the incentives!

You want to go to Hershey Park? Do some sudoku puzzles. A young child will do as he or she is told, especially when you offer treats. Then, before you know it, the kid will have grown into a bigger kid whose brain has been trained. This is akin to the dad teaching his kid how to hit a ball in the schoolyard. We all teach our kids what we know, and I know how to take tests. The test writers tend to test logic, and math and Sudoku train the brain to get used to thinking a certain way. You don’t need tutors when your child is three to eight years old. You need to build a foundation of basic skills and this is best done with active activities like workbooks with answers at the end. Save your money for when you prepare for standardized tests like the Hunter High School Entrance Exam, SHSAT and SATs.

Today, as a reward for getting into an Ivy League college, we are going to go shopping for a Canada Goose coat for those cold Ithaca winters, eat oysters at Docks for Restaurant Week and then go see Dear Evan Hansen (cheaper during Broadway Week). Yes, Broadway is back and we are showing our support with our standing ovation! Yes this is a pricey day, but incentives are very important. Also, see my other posts for my penny-pinching days.