reading early

It’s amazing, the length at which some parents – and their children – can go.
I just heard of this American family, living here in Malta, whose 2-year-old son can already read.
Mine – at that age – don’t even know the meaning of the word ‘read’.
Ok, their son may have learned to recognise words as images, because – back me up, those who know it scientifically – I believe, some children can ‘read’ at such a young age because they recognise the written word as an image, which they associate with a word.
They say ‘ball’ when they see one – they ‘read’ ball when they recognise the combination of letters.

Although the family insists that this is not the case, that their kid can actually open the daily and see what’s on Cartoon Network this afternoon, I hope they are wrong.
Because, why would you want your 2-year-old to be able to read?
What’s the purpose of that?
All the more media to hide from him, control the use of, and sensor.
And then, what is he going to do once he goes to school, while his classmates are learning how to read?
Memorize the Mendeleev’s table and argue it?
Research on molecular biology and, in grade 2, discover that there is no cure to cancer?
Then what?
By the time he’s 9, he’ll be so advanced that he’ll be mentally damaged.
No wonder American kids pop Zoloft, Prozac, or other serotonin reuptake inhibitors before they even turn 10. (for reference see research conducted by NCBI, Time’s ‘Medicating Young Minds’, New York Times’ ‘Pharm Land’, ‘Generation Me‘, and ‘Generation Rx’.)

Of course, evidence of mental damage, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, or any other sort of mental disorders don’t relate to the age at which our young learn to read, as much as it is due to a lot of anxiety and pressure they feel under.
Besides other factors and, I guess, genetics.
Media, societal, parental, peer, sibling, religious, more media pressure.
But, here I wondered – what’s the anxiety and pressure for?
Anxiety and pressure come from the endless competition for the perfect results in school, in sports, in appearance.
For the perfect school our kid will go into.
For the perfect figure our kid will flaunt.
For the perfect job our kid will nail.
For being the first at everything.
Including – reading.

I have an inkling that the parents experience pressure from and succumb to media messages about what constitutes a perfect kid to begin with.
The kid is unaware.
I mean, at 2, he is very likely to be peeing in a diaper.
Many parents feel pressured and put tremendous efforts in disciplining their kid into a societal role model, a royalty.
But how does that 2-year-old feel?
How will that race to perfection affect the child and his childhood?
Is this sort of race natural?
Is it essential?
Is it a reflection of how his adult life will turn out to be?
Not at all.
See Nurture Shock, Perfect Madness, Emile, or On Education.

Einstein certainly didn’t learn to read when he was 2 and he turned out quite well.
He didn’t even come out of his mother until 10 months later and not the usual 9.
For today’s standards he could have easily been classified as a retard.
I mean, such a late developer – shameful.
Churchill was dyslexic.
That really cast him as the slowest of the slowest of readers.
He was lucky to get away with it.
It’s beyond me to comprehend how on earth he wrote all his books.
Stalin’s left leg was a few inches shorter than the other, but then again, he was evil.
So, he’s really out of context.
My point is that, there is no point in a 2-year-old knowing how to read.
This is just for the parents to parade with and brag about at dinner parties and in the park.
How do you think the gossip about this American family’s 2-year-old son got to my ears in the first place?

I haven’t come across any scientific literature yet that can demonstrate evidence about any correlation between early readers or early talkers, for that matter, and success in adult life.

And what’s that 2-year-old doing right now, while my kids are throwing mud all over each other, while their father is desperately trying to water the plants?

He’s practicing reading?
Catching up on world news?
I’m mean, I know.
But for once, I feel sorry for someone who knows how to read.

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