Glenn Doman: How to Teach Your Baby – Part 1

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So I finally bit the bullet and decided to buy the Glenn Doman flash card kits for reading, math and something else called “Bits of Intelligence”.  Yes, it was a hefty investment but I reckon it is a small price to pay if it can help instill a lifelong love for learning in my children.  Since they are going to have to spend the rest of their lives learning, it makes sense to start them off correctly.

At two months, Gareth is still unable to focus sufficiently to begin the proper program.  The kits contain black and white “visual stimulation cards” which are designed to help babies focus.  From the reading kit, there is a series of some thirty visual stimulation cards of black and white images such as a fish, a square, a star, etc.  One card is shown to your baby ten times a day and a new card is introduced each day.

The math kit comes with twenty black and white dot cards.  The dots are larger than the dots on the red dot cards.  These are intended to stimulate your baby’s vision.  Similar to the black and white images from the reading kit, you are supposed to show your infant one black and white dot card a day – ten times.

By the time your child reaches three months, you can begin the reading and math programs.

Glenn Doman Reading Program – Part 1

Glenn Doman - reading

Begin with five words from three categories.  For instance, the categories might be “parts of the body”, “fruits and vegetables”, and “family members”.  So in total, you would have fifteen words.  Flash the cards to your baby once through and that is considered one session.  You must allow at least 15 minutes to lapse before flashing the cards again.  In one day, you should have three sessions.

By the end of the fifth day, retire one card from each category and replace it with a new word from each respective category.  From the fifth day onwards, continue to retire one word from each category and adding a new word until you have finished introducing all the new words.  Before flashing the cards, always make sure you shuffle them to change the order of the cards to prevent your child memorising the cards by their order.

Glenn Doman Math Program – Part 1

Glenn Doman - Math

Begin with the first five dot cards – numbers 1 to 5 on day one.  Flash them once, three times a day.  On the second day, introduce another five dot cards – numbers 6 to 10.  By the fifth day, retire two numbers and add another two numbers.  Continue until you have introduced numbers 1 to 100.  Again, it is important to shuffle the cards each time before flashing the cards to your baby.

In between sessions, play with your baby, read to him and engage in other activities.  Currently, I’ve interspersed the sessions with physical exercises for Gareth and reading storybooks for Gavin.

With Gavin starting the program so late, I find that I can only get through one session with him a day.  Since it is important to follow your child’s lead and not force the lessons, I’ve decided that in this case, less is more.  If all we can do each day is only one session, then at least that’s better than none.  Whether that will be enough for him to pick up, we’ll see.  At the end of the day, I want Gavin to find learning fun – not a chore.

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

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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 Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (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.

25 thoughts on “Glenn Doman: How to Teach Your Baby – Part 1

  1. Hi Shen Li, I stumbled upon your blog while researching for early childhood education. Thanks for generously sharing your experiences! I’m keen to start the Glenn Doman reading and maths program for my 12-mth old son. Where can I buy these materials and how much do they cost?

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  2. Hi Su – I bought mine from Glenn Doman Baby:

    http://www.glenndomanbaby.com.my/home.html

    They are located in Heritage Village near The Mines. You don’t have to visit them there, you can just contact them and ask to purchase their products. They can deliver to your door.

    Alternatively, I’ve also seen the products at “Blue Dot Baby” in Bangsar Village 1. Prices are quite steep though. The reading kit was about RM1700 and the math kit about RM1k.

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    1. Cheng Boon – yes you can. However, according to Doman, they should be shown separately. I.e. show the word card first. Then show the picture card after. Do not show a flash card with both word and picture on it because the picture draws the attention of the child away from the word.

      For very young children, I think pictures are essential because a lot of words might have no meaning to them if they have never encountered them before and do not know what they mean.

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  3. HI
    I am a bit confused about teaching reading by this method. Can someone help me out please?
    When starting to read books, every book should be checked for new words, those should be made into cards and “flashed” before starting with the book. Since, in my understanding, babies learn from cards to read whole words – if I taught my baby words “eating” and “sleeping” (for example) would words “eats”, “ate”, “eaten” “sleeps” , “slept” etc. be separate words and need to be taught separately? What about other languages where there’s a lot of conjugations and word changes with gender, time and lots of other things? (like French and Russian for example) Or is it expected that babies/toddlers will figure those out by themselves?
    Also – can I teach Mandarin via Flash cards if I don’t speak Mandarin (I am scared that my pronunciation attempts will be very bad and baby will remember those, rendering all of it useless, rather then the correct version), if so – any tips please.
    Thanks a lot!

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    1. Hi Katja,

      I have found that it is actually not necessary to put everything onto flash cards. If you have already completed the Doman program, you can just continue reading the books to your child. Your child intuits the rules – e.g. eat, eats, eating, eaten; sleep, sleeps, sleeping, slept. The more exposure to written words you give your child, the faster your child will learn. If your child is repeating back to you and reads incorrectly, or uses the incorrect word, just gently correct and move on.

      My other languages experiences have not been good. I use Little Chinese for teaching another language because I don’t know how to pronounce. I think if you cannot speak the language yourself, it is important to get a native speaker to teach it or at least use a recording that you can copy rather than you trying to figure out how to pronounce the words and pronouncing them incorrectly. Your child will learn what you teach – pronunciation and all.

      Hope that helps.

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  4. Hi Shen Li,
    may i know is there any Glenn Doman Programm carried out in any center or kindergarten in Malaysia??

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  5. thanks for the free cards! i was just wondering, i have been flashing cards to my LO but without really a program. do you think it is ok to start doing the math and reading program at the same time? if so, what do you think is the best approach? LO just turned 8 months.

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    1. I started both programs together at the same time so I don’t see why not. You should play it by ear and see how your child responds and adjust accordingly.

      The original Glenn Doman program doesn’t contain pictures. I added them in because it was obvious my son wasn’t interested in words that he didn’t know the meaning of because he hadn’t seen it or was not exposed to it yet. The pictures helped to make the flash cards relevant. I usually show the word then the image but I do know that some parents do it the other way around so I guess it really depends on what your preference is.

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  6. one more thing, how do i proceed with the flashcards that have pictures. Should I show the picture then the word right after? then does this mean that I will be flashing 30 cards (5 from 3 different categories = 15; x2 as one is for the picture the other for the word) thanks a lot!

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  7. Hi madam,
    My baby jus 7 months old. I started Glen doman reading for my baby in English. But my native language is different. Shall I start both languages for my baby or only in English. ? If it’s not confused means shall I show cards in two languages on one day or in different days..

    Mam I have a another doubt u said testing will not done with babies..If so how we come to know that the information what we shown was given to babies.?coz each day I’m showing cards and he also watching. But don’t know whether he understand it or not . Is there any way to check that ?

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    1. You can teach both languages at the same time. You can run the lessons together or separately. Babies have a huge capacity for learning so you should not worry about confusion.

      Doman believed that testing had negative effects on a child’s learning. That’s why he said don’t test. You can try games, like – which card says “insert word”? Other than that, just keep teaching and have faith. You will know what your child knows when he surprises you by recognising words while you’re out. Like when they can recognise words on a menu at a restaurant or a sign. The reason I discourage testing is because we want to see progress and we are impatient for it. Our whole body language changes and babies pick up on that. The last thing you want to do is discourage the learning. So be patient and wait for your child to show you when he’s ready.

      The other thing to be aware of with teaching two languages is that your child may take longer to show you what he knows. That doesn’t mean you should only teach one because it is best to start early if you want to develop the ear for the sounds of both languages. Since your baby is 7 months, this is the perfect time for it.

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  8. A few years ago I purchased the reading kit. I recently had my first baby and would like to implement the kit. However, I need a timetable showing how to show the words to baby. The book is not clear what to do after day 3.

    Day 1 – 1 set (family mem) of 5 words
    Day 2 – 2 sets (family mem and body parts) of 5 words
    Day 3 – 3 sets of 5 words

    How do I.proceed on day 4, 5, 6, 7 ?

    By Day 8 or by day 5 should I start retiring 1 word from each set AND adding a new word?

    Please.could you share a timetable of.sorts with me

    Thanks
    Nasreen Sain

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    1. Sorry, Nasreen. I don’t have a timetable that I used. I just followed the Doman plan. Show each set of words three times a day for five days and then retire. Our maximum was 3 sets of 5 words each day. I recorded the date on the back of the cards when I started flashing them and retired them after five days.

      Eventually, after I completed the Doman program, I switched to BrillKids Little Reader, which I felt was more complete and easier to keep track of. I wrote about it here: https://www.figur8.net/2012/01/03/reading-brillkids-little-reader/

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  9. Hi Shen Li,
    My baby is 7m old. I want to apply the reading program. And as you shared, we can show her words first and then pictures so that she can get the meaning of the words. I wonder: which one is easier to help them get the meaning – the word and the picture on the same or different card? And how many times should I show the pictures along with the words? (First time of introducing the set of words or whenever I show the set). Thanks

    Like

    1. For words that your baby is familiar with, there is no need to show the picture. But when teaching new words, a picture will help her understand what the word is. Doman’s program never included pictures, but BrillKids Little Reader (https://www.figur8.net/2012/01/03/reading-brillkids-little-reader/)- the flashcard program that I used includes the pictures and the words on the same card.

      As for how many times? Doman recommended something like 15 times for the same set of cards. I felt that was too many times. My son would get bored and he wouldn’t want to do the program. After that, I cut back the frequency to about twice a day for 3 to 4 days. I found it was better to get through the whole series of cards, then cycle back to the first set again at the end. This method is better because the brain learns like a scaffold. A repeat exposure some time later (the time between the exposure is important) will build on the old memories and reinforce them. I hope that makes sense.

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  10. Hi madam my lo is now 9 months old .I started reading and math program a month back..During the start of the program my baby saw the cards and dint show much reaction. But nowadays wen I show the reading cards he started to blabbering continuously along with me and I have a doubt whether he hear the words what I said .how can I clarify it ?
    And also wen I show the dot cards he started smiling and kick my hands continuously ..what it means whether he is not interested in seeing cards?pls explain it mam

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    1. I would suggest that you try not to read too much into your child’s reaction. If he’s paying attention and watching, I would just keep going. Keep the sessions short and make your voice cheerful and fun. Make it an enjoyable bonding time for the two of you. Don’t expect results and a reaction. The more you demand it, the less they will want it. The time it takes for each child to show what they’ve learned is different. Be patient and have faith in your child’s ability to learn.

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  11. Hi madam, I’m from India and my native language is Tamil .my baby is 10months old.shall I start
    reading program with my native language first and then to English?.for native language shall I start with some basic words which are often used..?after introducing how many words I should start couplets and sentences and also home made books.?

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    1. You can do bought languages together. Initially, you will expect a slower pick up while your child processes both languages but later on, the progression will be much faster. You need to go through the common words first before you can start couplets. Once there is enough vocabulary introduced, you can start couplets. For instance, you need to have introduced colours and clothing items before you can do couplets, like “blue shoes”, “red hat”. So go through as many word lists as you can first.

      Alternatively, I recommend using the BrillKids Little Reader program – the timing is all set up for your already.

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  12. Does anyone have experience on how to handle a baby that doesn’t seem interested in the flashcards?
    I’ve been showing him 15 Glenn Doman reading flashcards daily but he looks away the moment he sees the cards in my hands.

    Like

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