A.T. asks from Provo, UT on March 07, 2009
"Your Baby Can Read" - Provo,UT
I watched a program on TV the other day called "your baby can read". Basically you can buy this program that has movies, books, and notecards that can teach your baby to read starting at 3 months old. The idea behind it is mainly memorization of words by seeing the word, hearing it said, and seeing a picture of the word (ex: seeing a girl, while seeing the word "girl" and hearing someone say "girl"). I have 3 month old twins and would love to teach them to read, and just have something to interact and play with them while they learn, but I wonder if learning to read this way is detrimental down the road when schools teach reading through the phonics method. Have any of you bought the program and used it? I think this method of teaching is called "whole word"? and I wonder if any of you have heard bad things about this method. My thoughts are that this can be a good way for them to learn words and build self esteem, but down the road they'll also learn the phonics method. Any comments would be appreciated.
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M.Q. answers from Colorado Springs on March 08, 2009
I wouldn't spend money on that. I did basically the same thing for my kids without buying a program. All I did was tape words up around the house on everything (door, window, lamp, refrigerator, etc.). However, they won't be reading at 3 months. It just makes it easier for them when they are developmentally ready to read. If they are phonetic readers they are going to learn best using phonics. If they aren't phonetic readers you have given them help by keying into how their brain works.
One more note: don't forget the importance of learning how to use glue and cut with scissors. Reading is not the only thing kids need to learn. Kids learn a lot by just playing.
K.H. answers from Denver on March 08, 2009
Every parent chooses to raise their children differently. I won't tell you what to do, only what I did. I liked the research on brain development done on children who had learned sign language as infants. If my memory serves me, it found essentially that a part of the child's brain develops that wouldn't otherwise do so. It's a part of the brain not used typically by most people. They have linked this type of brain development to advanced learning skills throughout childhood. What's more, because they learn how to communicate essential thoughts, they are much less likely to throw wild tantrums when they get frustrated; they simply sign what they need, you help them get what they need, tantrum averted.
My daughter, now almost 4, used about 20 signs routinely from the time she was about 10 months old (we started using signs with her at 7 months). She knew the alphabet at 18 months and had been speaking very well from the time she was just over a year old (she still used signs for several months even if speaking). She started reading 3-letter words on her own at 3.5 yrs, has an amazing vocabulary, can write her name well, and can write most letters of the alphabet. I'd guess this is where most 5-6 year olds are? Not sure. Who's to say, whether she might have been this advanced anyway, but I tend to think signing had something to do with it. We didn't focus on signing as much with my son, 19 months old, just because I was too exhausted and stressed out to think about it, unfortunately. He uses only about 5 signs routinely. He is developmentally right on track for his age with verbal skills, which are slower to come for most boys anyway.
Also, especially with my daughter, it was so much fun to finally understand at least to some degree what was going on in her little mind, the things she noticed, etc. We could actually have real conversations with her before she could even talk. It was so amazing to us.
I just wanted to throw out an alternative to early reading in case you were interested in learning more. Google for the research... I think you'll be impressed. Good luck!
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J.N. answers from Salt Lake City on March 08, 2009
Oh brother ... only in our society do we want to push our babies to grow up so fast. There is absolutely no need for a baby to learn to read. Even if successful, it will not put a child ahead in school. The most it does is stroke a parents ego to be able to say "my child was reading before he was 1."
Most child development specialists agree that children develop different things at different ages. Jean Piaget called this early age "sensori-motor" meaning that babies are learning through their senses and movement. They have no concept beyond the here and now, and have no sense of object permanance - if you hide something from view they no longer realize that it exists. Not very conducive to reading.
Erik Erikson called this age "Basic Trust vs Mistrust." According to his theory of development, a baby must first learn that he can trust and depend on caregivers to respond to his needs - when he's hungry he'll be fed, messy he'll be changed, etc. His task right now is to be dependent and be taken care of, feeling that safety and security.
Your boys will need to learn language before they can learn reading. Their brains are still sorting out the way sounds blend to make words, and what those words mean, and later on how to verbalise and use the words to communicate. There is so much for them to learn before they are ready to read.
(About learning to read):
As children start to get ready to read (probably around 4 years old), they will begin to undrstand that words are made up of sounds. Rhyming games will be important, and other games playing with words. They will begin to realize that the print on the page connects to the words they hear. The begin to recognize the different symbols (letters) and learn to name them. They can even start learning that the symbols also carry a sound.
In kindergarten, children continue to learn to hear the different sounds in words. This is the beginning of phonics. They also begin to learn "sight words" - the high frequency words in text, which are often phonetically irregular. (The, I, my, like, here, is, he, she ...) So there will be some memorization. They also learn word families to help them read easier (at family: at, cat, bat, sat...)
The method you are talking about was once called "see-say" method. It is rote memorization of words, without connection to patterns or phonetic features. It works for some children who have a good memory, but children need to also learn the skills to decode an unfamiliar word. If you decide, when your boys are old enough, to teach them some words, start with high frequency words. It won't hurt their learning phonic to memorize some words. But they are way too young to be worrying about it right now. Right now they need love and cuddles, food and diaper changes and rocking and singing. There will be plenty of time later for them to learn to read.
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E.W. answers from Provo on March 08, 2009
We tried the method using a book called "Teaching Your Baby to Read", which is probably far less expensive than a program, though you wouldn't have the movies.
A.B. answers from Pocatello on March 08, 2009
They have really great, cheap flashcards at the store that you can use with your kiddos. I use flashcards with my daughter and love it because it enables me to interact with her and be a part of the learning process. I don't think that learning this way could be detrimental later on...the more exposure to letters, words, and sounds the better. The absolute BEST way to teach your children to read is to read to them often, even now.
S.B. answers from Denver on March 08, 2009
I'm a child psychologist and just wanted to emphasize what the other literacy experts have said. Reading to your children at this age is crucial to their language development. But do realize they will not read until they are generally somewhere between three and five no matter how many flashcards you show them. At age three months they can barely distinguish anything but faces and that's all they are supposed to be doing developmentally. But they do recognize your face and voice, and the more time you spend talking to them, the better. Buying expensive programs is a scam - save your money. Play good music of any kind, read books from the library and talk and cuddle your child face to face as much as possible.
K.M. answers from Denver on March 08, 2009
I have this program and have been using it for 8+ mths. I use the DVDs every morning. I don't use the slide cards very much - my son tends to break them. He really likes the DVDs and I like them much better than other so-called educational baby videos. My son has not yet learned to "read" from the program but it has had a tremendous impact on his vocabulary. I also have a few phonics related programs too that I will be starting soon (my son is now 2) but I think the Your Baby Can Read program was a better place to start for younger kids. I have done research on the timing and methods of teaching kids to read and I continue to believe the program is OK to use.
J.F. answers from Denver on March 08, 2009
I have never heard of the system, but I have been working with my daughter since she was about 3 months. I have flash card with pictures, shapes and colors and I have always spent time with her going through them. I don't MAKE her do them, but it is something fun we do together. When she gets bored and crawls away lessons for the day are over.
Our biggest challenge right now is she wants to eat the cards.
I have never thought it would hurt her down the road and I never really thought of it as teacher her to read...
It is just a good time for her and I to spend together, to get her little brain to think a bit, to see some pretty pictures and show her learning can be fun.
She is only 10 months old so I am interested to see how fast she will pick up on things over the next few years, but I am not putting any pressure on her or me about it. If it never helps her out one bit, I still enjoy the time we spend together.
I don't think you need to spend tons of money on a kit when you can get flash cards yourself or make up things around the house...
Don't stress too much and just have fun learning with them.
J.L. answers from Denver on March 08, 2009
My hubby and I bought this same dvd set for our twins when they were about 9 months old, which was the first time we had heard about it. We tried to show them the videos daily as it suggested, but as you probably know, life is busy, and days/weeks would pass and they didn't see it consistantly. They were interested and enjoyed them when we did play them, but honestly, I think they must be played for the child daily or it kind of defeats the purpose of buying the videos. We read to them daily, and still do, which I think is just as important. Our twins will be 4 in May and are currently in their first year of preschool. My son has known his alphabet, by both sight and could say the letters, since he was 18 months. His twin sister is a different story... she is stubborn and likes to learn things when SHE is ready so she had no interest (and still doesn't) in learning her alphabet. She can sing her ABC's and can recognize about 1/2 of the letters, but she is more interested in playing dress up and being a princess. Soooo, I guess the bottom line is, if you feel you can devote this time each day to show the videos to your duo, it may be worth while, but for us, it turned out to be expensive occasional entertainment. A lot of it depends on the child. Personally, the Letter Factory by LeapFrog has been a great video that our twins still watch today. We bought that when they were about 21 months old.