Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Engelmann's Give Your Child a Superior Mind

I can't say that I whole-heartedly recommend Give Your Child a Superior Mind: A Program for the Preschool Child, by Siegfried and Therese Engelmann, because I have quite a few reservations about it, not least of which is the old-timey racism*, but for what it's worth, the guy does actually offer a structured plan for early childhood academics, which is nearly impossible to find anywhere, outside of maybe Montessori's stuff.**

* Example, so that you might judge for yourself: "There are many environments within our culture. Each makes different demands; each manufactures a different product. The lower-class Italian environment does not expect much from the child (in terms of independent behavior, toilet training and language) and the lower-class Italian in America shows the effects of his passive environment. In fourteen studies cited in 1958 by Maslan, Sarason and Gladwin, 'Italians consistently fell near or at the low end of the continuum (sometimes below Negro groups selected for comparison).' "
** Richard Gentry's Raising Confident Readers: How to Teach Your Child to Read and Write--from Baby to Age 7 also seems to be scientific, sensitive and largely non-insane

Anyway, just so I could process this book a little, mentally, I outlined their "curriculum" recommendations beginning at 18 months. I skipped the detail on the reading because I think it's largely obsolete and/or better explained in Englemann's other, more famous (and still in print) book, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

When I get a chance, I'll also compile a list of the Englemanns' multitude of declarative sentences about what "the child should know" by "age X." These statements are absolute anathema in contemporary early childhood education, so it's refreshing to encounter the Englemanns' wild and crazy standards of yesteryear.

  1. Naming objects
    1. Names for parts of the body
    2. Common objects
    3. Learning names of animals
    4. Names of uppercase letters
    5. Names of lowercase letters
  2. Qualities, actions, geometric shapes, and relations
    1. Color
    2. Light and dark
    3. Hot and cold
    4. Action words
    5. Action words of the senses
      1. Sight
      2. Hearing
      3. Touch
      4. Smell
    6. Geometric shapes: Triangle, circle, square, rectangle
    7. Position relations
      1. In
      2. On
      3. Next to
      4. Behind
      5. Over
      6. Under
      7. Around
      8. Between
      9. Others: Against, through, in front of
    8. Comparative words
      1. Big-little
      2. Fast-slow
      3. Tall-short
  3. Counting
  4. Introducing right-left
  5. Stories
  6. Music
  7. How Things Work: Vacuum cleaner, kitchen range, washer-dryer, typewriter, piano, light bulbs, beaters, toasters, coffee-maker, knife sharpeners, can openers, et al.
  1. Reading
  2. Arithmetic
    1. Counting objects
    2. Picking up blocks as they are counted
    3. Counting out a specified number of objects
    4. Counting to thirty
    5. Counting backward from ten to zero
    6. Number symbols through 10
    7. What number comes next?
      1. Counting every other number
      2. What comes after any given number
      3. Skipping pattern
      4. Backward pattern
  3. Facts and statements about the world
    1. Facts about the child's formal relations with others
      1. Name, address, phone number
      2. Familial relationships
    2. Time concepts
      1. Tomorrow, today, yesterday
      2. Days of the week
      3. Months of the year
  4. Qualities, actions, geometric patterns, and relations
    1. Before and after
    2. First and second
    3. New and old
    4. Same and different
    5. Because
    6. Patterns
    7. Visual inferences
    8. Right and left
    9. Right and left turns
  5. Identifying the planets
  6. Identifying dinosaurs
  7. How things work
  8. Objects
  1. Reading
  2. Mathematics
    1. Algebra problems
    2. If-then propositions
    3. Multiplication
    4. Area of rectangles
    5. Telling time
    6. Fractions
    7. Division
    8. Money
    9. Column addition
    10. Column subtraction
    11. More about the relationship between the terms of a problem
    12. Multiplication and division
  3. Spatial Relations, Inferences, and Practices
    1. Spatial relations
      1. Playing spatial games
        1. Fascination checkers
        2. Regular checkers
        3. Tic-tac-toe
        4. Three-dimensional tic-tac-toe
        5. Chess
      2. Judging distances
      3. Directions
      4. Interpreting maps
    2. Inferences from statements
    3. Practice in skills already mastered
    4. Factual knowledge
      1. Mandatory: Human body
      2. Optional: Child's interests

Further reading: What Your Toddler/Preschooler Should or Could Know, According to Engelmann's Give Your Child a Superior Mind


  1. Lists like this just feed my crazy. :-)

  2. An abridged version of "Give Your Child A Superior Mind" is available on the author's website The first part of the book and the author's prologue is here...

  3. To help make learning to read fun and engaging, our reading program includes lesson stories that are matched to the progress of your child's reading abilities.

    These lessons stories are part of the learning program, and comes with colorful illustrations to make learning reading fun and engaging for you and your child.

    These are the exact same stories and step-by-step lessons that we used to teach our own children to read!

    Find out here: Teach Your Child To Read?

    Best rgs