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Are their any EFL studies on Japanese children who started reading within a year?

I am a parent. I teach English to Japanese children in Japan. I taught a fifty minute class of three Japanese children. They were one year and nine months old, when they joined. Two girls and one boy made up the class. All of thee mothers could not speak English. During the fifty minute class, the boy ran around and stopped only when he heard something he understood then he would participate. Of of the girls' mother let her run around, but made her sit randomly during class. The other girl's mother made her daughter sit the entire time. I pleaded with them to let their children run around because their comprehension will develop from hearing and listening. The boy was very proficient with a dictionary by the age of two years and six months old. The dictionary, we used, is "Junior Anchor" by Gakken. The next month the boys' mother said that he was reading books in English. We did not believe her. He was two years and seven months old. His mother continued to tell use about his reading skills. When he turned two years and ten months old, I gave him a reading test. I wrote
I am hungry.
What do you want to eat?
I want to eat an apple.
Here you are.
Thank you.
You are welcome.

He missed "thank" and "welcome" only. I placed him in a reading class with five and six year old Japanese children who were reading. He out performed them. Before I could really see how well he could improve, he quit, because he attended Japanese speaking classes. Since then me students average time to start reading within ten months. The average time to start reading for this year is less than six months. In five years some of my elementary students can created their own sentences, and understand grammar - not everything. The girl, whose mom was strict, publish a short story at 8 years old. I really need to find out more about this. I cannot be the only one in Japan whose students achieve so much in short periods of time. Please help.

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  • Nov 27 2011: Thanks for replies. I will search.
  • Nov 27 2011: I am not sure how much research has been done in this area but it might make sense to explore the Internet in depth (and don't be surprised if a lot does not exist by the way). My observations of small children in mixed language households or with neighbors that have children that speak a different language though may give you a clue...at age 3 up they very rapidly pick up another language, and, dependent on exposure, are fluent (to the extent they need to be) in a very short time thereafter. Exposure is obviously the key as well, in this case, play. How the process works I suspect is both a genetic trait (the time when we are most receptive to learning language) and environmental (what that language exposure is). An interesting test (and graduate thesis) would certainly be 4 children together who spoke only their native language) for a set period each day, possibly from 3 or 4 years of age on.
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    Nov 27 2011: Its more about how our brains develop than about the potential of the child. during the critical stages of brain development if you engage them in "thinking" games, games where they must solve problems and and propose solutions. the brain is actually rewiring iself to solve similar complex problems. they reason we are born with our brains partially developed is so our brains can be molded by our environments. this is a large part of the reason children of entreprenuers and millionaires tend to have pattens of success through the family. the principle of gene X environment interaction explains our misguidedness of our conceptions of intelligence throughout the years. its been provent that you can significanly raise the IQ of a human by exercising the brain to adopt new learning patterns. experiments have been done with mice in which they removed the intelligence gene for the variable and put the mouse in a stimulating environment and the mouse not only redeveloped its lost brain cells but even resulted in having a higher IQ than the control mice. old people with memory loss that were put into stimulating environments began to regain some of their memory. our brains are highly plastic. my point is that teaching kids to read at a young age is simply bragging rights for the parents, but if you teach the brain learning patterns your essentially creating a genious. albert einstein was a perfect example, his dad played mind games with him and tried to trick him alot as a kid. some studies claim that laughing has alot to do with learning becuase of the fact that kids laugh 400X per day when the brain is developing, people with fully developed brains only laugh 15 times per day. my theory is that the same burst of gamma rays that people have when they get a good idea, that gives us that high and makes our faces light up is the same thing babies experience as their brains are making connections and rewiring themselves. babies and kids have unlimited potential
    • Nov 27 2011: The development of babies' minds, as far as I am concerned should be a continuous thing even into adulthood. What slows us down are the clogging up of minds and bodies that cause us not to try. I cannot think of it noe, but there is a saying that we all use that bares witness to the fact that movement makes our brains active. The development of babies minds are great. I just wished they would have used all types of babies, because there are studies that all babies are not the same, and some are much more aware than others.

      I left out lots of other details. The video focused on phonics a bit. At a young my students seemed to know the difference between r and l, when they are heard. I was referring to phonics. I should have mentioned that. I teach phonics not words. From the phonics I have had the above mentioned student and other young Japanese students reading within a year. The fastest time is four months by a five and seven year old. My question is referring to the brains' wiring itself to absorb the new change in language to the point that young Japanese children can (tell me the phonics for my personal verification satisfaction) read well. Not all of them, but some of them take off from the start. I teach a class of 30 children in a kindergarten ages 5 and 6. In six months six students passed my phonics teat and started reading. One of those students reads well. I was wondering about the pace of the wiring. I asked on the wrong video I think. Thanks for your reply.