From my observation, this is my finding on how young kids recognized words. They recognizes a word as a BLOCK, which is make up of a presentation/shape of a group of alphabets in specific print, font and colours. If they were exposed to the same trend of a word consistently, they will be able to remember it. In this case, LOGOs are most easily recognized and remembered by young kids.
Young kids cannot relate alphabets with words, hence not able to grasp the relation of alphabets forming words. Young kids can spot the different alphabets in a word and named the alphabets, but not necessary know how to read the word or spell it out according to the alphabets sequence.
SIL bought JS a Hard Rock T-shirt when she was two. She can easily recognize the word HARD ROCK ever since then (because of the orangy circle as the background) She can even spot the tiny logo on the label and tell me is hard rock. I am sure if given her an AH LOK CAFE logo, she would say is HARD ROCK.
JS can easily spot the words PETRONAS, GIANT, JUSCO, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, GYMBOREE, HP (She always say Mummy’s office work – used to bring her to my office) from any pamplets and newspaper, now she can even recognize the these words and tell me what it is eventhough the font and colours are not the same as the original one and without picture. But when I ask her to spell it, she can’t.
We were at the reception desk at a shop.
JS happily saying “MUMMY, SAMSUNG” Naturally I turn to look outside the shop trying to look at whatever billboard she’s mentioning, but I can’t see any.
She said “there, at the computer”
True enough, when taken a closer look at the back of the monitor screen, there is this word encraved to it. It’s not even obvious, but she seen it. (She recognized this word when we went to pick hubby from work, along the way there are many sign boards showing the way to the plant)
Driving along Federal Highway.
JS ” Mummy, look AMERICAN IDOL”
JS’s pointing the signboard showing “FORD” (It’s blue oval, with WHITE BORDERS and WHITE FONTS – exactly like te American Idol logo)
ME: ” No, it’s FORD”
JS knows when we have reached at our Taman, not because of the landscape. I asked her why she knew, she said :” There is the sign saying “LH” (short form taman name – have to be discreet for security reason) on the clock tower”
JS can spell ONE – SIX. But asked her to write it down, it seems too taxing for her. She has merely done this by memerizing, chanting it, not through understanding that the words is form by putting the alphabets together.
From the above scenarios, I can now understand why there are so many different flash cards available in the market and claims that the method works and kids can know how many words by what age. But with flash cards, one need consistency, and it does not quarantee understanding. It reminds me of those Chinese education, a lot of memerizing , dictate a paragraph by heart. (背死书,默写). It’s just a matter of spoon feeding. The western education approach emphasize on thinking and questioning and understanding. I think the phonetic approach in learning words is better, as once the kids master these skill, they can easily recognize new words by themself and can even easily spell out bombarstic long words with true understanding of the relation of alphabets and words.