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No, Your Baby Can't Read

early childhood education

Learning to Read?

Have you seen the TV commercials for “Your Baby Can Read?” It’s the one which features babies who appear to be actually reading. It’s a pretty wild sight.

The “Your Baby Can Read” program promises that almost any child can learn to read before they enter kindergarten.

But even if the product works, I can’t see what’s to be gained by teaching babies to read. What’s the rush? Besides, according to NBC News’ “Today,” the system doesn’t deliver on its promises.

As part of their investigation into the “Your Baby Can Read” program, “Today” interviewed 10 of the nation’s top child development and language experts. None of them believed that “Your Baby Can Read” really works. In fact, none of them believed that babies’ or toddlers’ brains are developed enough to actually learn to read (until they are 4 or 5).

“They memorize what’s on those cue cards … It’s not reading,” said Dr. Nonie Lesaux, a child development expert at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Still, despite the evidence that the program doesn’t work, parents continue to fork over $200 for it in hopes that it will give their child an advantage. The company has sold over a million kits.

A hardcore group of parents are defending the early reading program in the comments to “Today”‘s story saying that it really did teach their children to read.

Again, I have to ask: what’s the rush? There is no evidence that children who learn to read before kindergarten fare any better academically in the long run.

What do you think? Would you like to try to teach your preschooler to read?

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photo: flickr/nitdoggx

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