I saw an ad for a program to teach infants to read. This program had cards with simple words and the babies were reading it. I am assuming this is from memorization of how the word looks not that the child is actually reading. Is that actual reading in an child at 2?
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The commercials for "My Baby Can Read" do show the children acting out the words and pornouncing them. I still do not think the children are able to actually "read" a sequence of words, sentences, and comprehend what they have "read." I will say that the commercials are impressive. However, I don't understand why parents would want to even push such a thing on their children. I do not believe it will benefit the children in the long run, as it's mostly perhaps based on memorization and association, but not actual decoding, whole language, or phonics.
No program can teach a child how to read. The child has to want to learn to read, be verbally ready, and have a caring adult guiding him or her. You can't just plop a baby in front of the televison set or computer and expect a reader to come out. Your baby will learn to read if you read with her, and she is ready.
That's how reading begins with memorization of sight letters and words. Even if the babies only have the sight words memorized, they have already started learning a process that some don't begin teaching their children early enough. Now I don't know how expensive these programs are, but an innovative parent might be able to create the same sort of thing for his or her own baby with very little expense involved.
The "Your Baby Can Read" program is a program that includes books and DVD's. It will show a word, like wave, and then show a person waving. It basically associates words with pictures. I think it is certainly possible for it to help children to learn to read but I do not think that ALL children will learn to read by watching theses videos. I really do not think that it is possible.
I agree with the previous posts that such an advertisement seems highly implausible. Just last week, Disney agreed to reimburse parents who so desired a reimbursement for their investment in Baby Einstein videos which promise the same type of highly intellectual results in infants and babies. While there are certainly child prodigies among us, I would think that the best action a parent could make on the behalf of his or her child's development is to spend quality time with that child, reading, listening to music, etc.
Why not? My mother told me I taught myself to read at age three. The program is not just memorization if it's the same one I've seen ads for on TV. They show the word, the object which is the word, and the action the object does. This is connecting the object with the word which stands for the object. It's no different than the teaching technique Ms. Sullivan used to connect objects and the words that name them in Helen Keller's mind. I believe it is possible.
Perhaps there are programs capable of teaching very young people to read. But there are several issues to be considered before taking a decision to make an infant go through such a program.
- The word infant is used generally for babies less than one year old. At this age most of the children can't even speak properly. So what exactly will they learn to read.
- There will definitely be some differences in capabilities of children. Not all children will be able to learn as much, and as fast.
- What is the effort that will be involved on part of the child? What other activities will the child miss because of this? And is this accelerated learning to read worth all the trouble and sacrifice? I will not be surprised that it will have some negative psychological effects on the tender mind of very young children.
On face of it, my assessment is that even if there are some such programs these will not be of much practical use, and the mental pressure they put on the children can do more harm than good for them.
I can honestlyl say I have never seen an ad promoting teaching infants to read. Developmentally, this is pretty unusual - there are some children that it might work for - but I do not think the majority of infants will be that successful. As a Reading Teacher for small children, we find that many children who are born later in the year are the ones who have difficulties learning to read. Their brains are just not developed to blend sounds to make words. On the hand, many children are not being exposed to print during their pre-school/home experience. If more children had these literary experiences, they would be more prepared for school. Expose young infants to pictures, sounds, talk to them, read stories to them - dont worry so much about them learning to "read" - that's rididulous!!
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