Teachers, parents debate merits of teaching reading to kids under six

  • ngày 25/07/2017

 Education experts strongly oppose parents’ intention to teach their children under six years old to read and write, saying this is ‘antiscientific’ behavior. 
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But parents argue that if children cannot read before going to primary school, they will be timid and shy. Dr Vu Thu Huong from the Hanoi University of Education warned that by teaching children to read and write before the age of six, parents will destroy the children’s imagination and creativity.
Education experts strongly oppose parents’ intention to teach their children under six years old to read and write, saying this is ‘antiscientific’ behavior. 

Those children tend to subtly observe phenomena and discover special characteristics, while the children who can read and write do not, she said.  When Huong showed name tags to a five-year-old boy in her class who still could not recognize the alphabet, the boy could easily notice to whom the name tags belonged. “The boy always gave the right name tag to every child in the class though he could not read,” Huong said.  She attributed this to the boy’s good observation capability. He realized that the name tag with a pink line belonged to Bong, while the tag with a small scratch belonged to Tao. Also according to Huong, children who have not learned to read have active imaginations.    Huong and her co-workers carried out an experiment with a group of five-year-old children, including five literate and five kids who could not read or write. After seeing comics with large pictures and short narratives, the literate children related the same story many times. Meanwhile, the children who couldn`t read related different stories based on their imagination. When Huong wrote ‘O’, they thought of many things, from a circle to a tire. Meanwhile, the literate children would say it was the ‘letter O’. However, though Huong shows scientific arguments, many Vietnamese parents still think their children need to be taught to read and write soon. “If I don’t teach him to read and write, my son will lag behind his classmates,” Huynh Phuong Hoa, a parent in Cau Giay district, Hanoi, said.  Hoa said that Huong’s arguments are reasonable in theory, but not in Vietnam’s conditions. “The classes in Vietnam are overcrowded with 50 students. One teacher won’t be able to cover all of them. So you’d better to teach your children instead of relying on the teachers,” she said. Parents are rushing to enroll their children in reading and writing classes to prepare for the new academic year.

Le Ha

Source: VietNamNet

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