Many parents tried flash cards to teach Chinese reading. I certainly did for my elder daughter “Charlotte” when she was ~3-4 years old, now 12, but not for my younger one, “Georgia”, now 9. And many will continue to do so.
Regardless of the merit of flash card, I think there is a potentially interesting way to try flash card to “accelerate” Chinese reading for a few anxious parents, based on the work of Glenn Doman (1919-2013), founder of The Institutes of the Achievement of Human Potential outside of Philadelphia, and co-author of a series of “The Gentle Revolution” books, such as “How to Teach Your Child to Read”. The flash card part of the Doman method, as it is called, is based on using BIG flash card to teach infants and toddlers to read, do math/arithmetic, recite knowledge, etc. The institute also works to rehab “brain injured” children through pattern therapy, with criticism of effectiveness; but that’s a different story.
I had the pleasure of meeting Glenn Doman around 2003 in one of the courses the institute offers. Here is one of his videos:
In terms of the Doman flash card method, it is best to start at 0-24 months old, the earlier the better. Repetition and quickly (1 second or less) going over the cards are the name of the game. As with all things, preparation often takes longer than the “instruction” itself. Here is one non-offical website that points out the salient aspects of the method. To modify the program to Chinese, I think parents can start with radicals, then character, words, and finally sentence (sequence of cards).
Do I think it’s an overkill? Yes. Do I think it is necessary? Absolutely not. Do I think it can work for its intended purpose of accelerating character, phrase, and sentence recognition through pattern recognition? Yes. Do I think it can make a great reader out of your child? Yes, and no…. That will depend on the CLE, amount of reading practice, and the effort/priority you place from the time your child is ~ 4-12 years old.
I sure would like to see someone try. It will certainly make a very interesting and instructive blog (+ business opportunity?).