Experts generally agree that taking all opportunities to read books and other material aloud to children is the best preparation for their learning to read. The pleasures of being read to are far more likely to strengthen a child's desire to learn to read than are repetitions of sounds, alphabet drills, and deciphering uninteresting words.
As you consider whether to move a child into formal academic training, remember that we want our children to do more than just learn how to read and write; we want them to learn in such a way that they become lifelong readers and writers. If we push our children to start learning these skills too far ahead of their own spontaneous interest and their capacity, we may sacrifice the long-range goal of having them enjoy such pursuits.
Each of us must come to care about everyone else's children. We must recognize that the welfare of our children and grandchildren is intimately linked to the welfare of all other people's children. After all, when one of our children needs lifesaving surgery, someone else's child will perform it. If one of our children is threatened or harmed by violence, someone else's child will be responsible for the violent act. The good life for our own children can be secured only if a good life is also secured for all other people's children.
In both cooperative learning and project work, the teacher encourages children to talk to one another. This helps them pay attention to each other's efforts and ideas. Children take to these kinds of exchanges very readily, but the teacher really needs to encourage this interaction.
Young children are unlikely to have their self-esteem strengthened from excessive praise or flattery. On the contrary, it may raise some doubts in children; many children can see through flattery and may even dismiss an adult who heaps on praise as a poor source of support-one who is not very believable.