A libertarian inclined blog for teachers and learners of all ages. Comments, emails and links to other educational stuff welcome.

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Next entry: Irina Tyk says beware snakes
Previous entry: A national plan for classroom surveillance
Friday January 11 2008

Tomorrow I will be attending a get-together-stroke-training-course for all the teachers and teaching assistants involved in these Supplementary Schools.  Among those addressing us and improving us will be Irina Tyk, the head teacher who wrote the Butterfly Book.  Earlier this week an email went round saying: Do you have a copy of the Butterfly Book?  This was because, last month, the Daily Mail gave it a write up, and ever since then demand has been ferocious, and all copies were needed for pushy parents to buy.

I do have a copy, and will be bringing it with me tomorrow:

imageimage

My copy has a blander cover that the one you get to if you follow the link above.  That version has an elaborate picture of a butterfly on the front.  But the bland cover is more appropriate, I think, because the content is similarly lacking in extraneous illustration.

I suspect that the Butterfly Book illustrates one of my Deep Educational Prejudices, which is that commentators on education are divided between those who were confused at school and those who were bored.  Tyk was definitely in the confused camp, if this prejudice is correct.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll get to ask her.

In the first version of this posting my photos made the Butterfly Book look as if it was printed on gray paper.  I have now corrected this, with some photoshopping.

Brian,

Would this book in your opinion be helpful for the under-five beginner (with parental assistance)? Or if not, are there any approaches or texts you would recommend?

I have no intention of being a pushy parent, but my son has started showing interest in reading and writing of his own accord, and I see no harm and a lot of benefit in encouraging him (in a non-pushy manner)

thanks
Alan

Posted by Alan Little on 12 January 2008

Alan

Yes I probably shouldn’t have said “pushy parent”.  I meant it in a good way, but I suppose most people see it as pushing a child where it doesn’t want to go.

I think the Butterfly Book is very good, although I don’t rate myself as any kind of expert on such things.

It is strong on exercises that improve reading and writing skill, but not, to start with, so strong on enjoyable stories.  If your son would like to get started reading and is eager to try doing what that takes, relatively painlessly, then I’d say give it a go.

At the training course, Irina Tyk, the author, was the main speaker, and was most impressive.  Summarising what she said brutally, her message was, get the book and do what it says.  It works.  I believe her.

I entirely agree about encouraging children to read and write as soon as they are showing interest.  Children vary a lot, according to every parent I know (without exception) who has had more than one.  But, the sooner they can start reading and writing without grief, the better.  I should imagine that just by sharing a house with you, your son is completely sold on the value of doing this.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 12 January 2008

By the way, something else I learned about the Butterfly Book today was that almost all the recent rush of orders for it, following the Daily Mail plug, have come from parents and grandparents, and almost none from schools.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 12 January 2008

"Pushy parent” is indeed a tricky term. The worst interpretation, I gues, would be parents who drive their kids to Achieve, Achieve, Achieve whether they want to or not, and make the poor little sods stressed and neurotic. A bad teacher might well use it to mean a parent who puts pressure on a school to remedy deficiencies in the way a child is being taught.

Others could take it to mean simply parents - like me - who believe in taking an active role in encouraging their child’s development, but without pushing the child to do more than it is ready for, whilst at the same time always trying to make it clear that Daddy’s attention and approval aren’t dependent on whether he can read the word or ride the bike. It’s a tricky balancing act.

My attempt to be non-pushy but cunning yesterday was to stop Jack’s writing session while he still wanted to do more, (a) so that he doesn’t run out of ability to concentrate and (b) in the hope that he’ll then be more motivated to do more the next day.

I checked amazon.de in the hope they might have the Butterfly book in stock - sometmes they do still have things that are out of stock in the UK, but not this time. So I have it on back order.

Posted by Alan Little on 13 January 2008

I agree with Alan. Each child is different and the parent should not be too pushy.

Posted by Indian Moms on 24 February 2008
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