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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I saw an infomercial last night for teaching your baby how to read... it had like 18 month olds reading from books on their own, have to be honest it kinda weirded me out but I'm wondering if anyone else has seen this and plans on "training" their baby from a very small age to read? I'm so curious now I might try it if anyone else has positive remarks. My first opinion of it is that with society aging our children to quickly as it is, do I really want her to read by 2 and be able to understand things that maybe I don't yet want her to read, say on newspaper covers in the stands on the street etc? Also what if my kid isn't yet talking a lot, would this cause her stress in terms of mommy forcing her to speak and read at an age when she's just babbling still? (13 months old). Hmm...
 

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I don't plan on doing anything like this for my baby. I think there's already too much pressure on a lot of kids to achieve, achieve, achieve at a very young age. We'll do baby sign language so she can communicate with us at least a little bit before she's able to talk, but I don't feel like she needs to read until she's older. When she's developmentally ready, she'll probably teach herself--that's what I did.
 

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I can only offer a perspective from someone who was an early reader. I know that I was reading by age 3 and that my grandmother played a big role in that. She would teach me the alphabet, numbers, etc. I wouldn't say that I was pushed, but mostly encouraged. I read age appropriate books and I remember being ahead of the general reading level of my class once I started school. I don't remember reading newspapers at an early age, however, I think that even if I could recognize or sound out a word, it wasn't like I had nearly enough life experience to fully understand the context of what I was reading. I would say that in my experience, being an early reader wasn't traumatic, but lead to me being a lifelong booklover. I say all this just to point out that reading at an early age isn't necessarily a bad thing, however I think it will all depend on your child's rate of development and how you as a parent handle this.
 

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You'll probably get more replies in LwaB.


I think that you can teach a baby/child almost anything as long as it's FUN for the child. When it's not fun, then time to move on to something else.

We taught our daughter how to spell her name very early on -- I just made up a song on how her name was spelled. Easy and fun and by the time she was two, she could spell her name. I wasn't actively trying to force her to spell her name. I just made a silly song and from it she was able to learn how to spell her name.

I think it is possible for some toddlers to learn to read at a very young age, but I think focusing on trying to force them to learn isn't the best approach, necessarily. I see nothing wrong with constantly sharing knowledge, so long as it's fun. But forcing something at a young age? Not good.
 

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I really think such things are nonsense. If you want to do something with your child or encourage their language skills get a hold of the book Einstein Never Used Flashcards for a really interesting read and encouragement to let them develop naturally. I have a friend who is a linguist and she also agrees that these early learning things for babies are complete rubbish and a waste of money.
 

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My husband and I are total book worms and both were earlyish readers. I suspect our kid will follow us, but we won't be "training" them by any means. The plan is to read to them all the time from a wide range of materials, not plop them in front of the TV, and not do the babytalk thing. I strongly suspect reading will take care of itself; it did for me
 

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Also, what bajamergirl said. I remember reading Dr. Seuss when I was 4, chapter books like Little House on the Prairie by 6, and devoured Jurassic Park 3x over in 4th grade. I was reading way ahead of most of my grade by the time I entered kindergarten, and I didn't find it traumatic at all. Heck, I wasn't reading age-appropriate stuff at any point, and it wasn't a problem. For instance, Jurassic Park was my favorite book at 9 (I swear); the violence didn't bother me in the slightest, and I simply didn't get/glossed over the DNA stuff. I read Stephen King's IT at 10 or 11, and didn't notice the sexual stuff; I even glossed over the sex part at the end too (and if you're familiar with IT, you know what part I'm talking about).

Obviously, you'll know your kid best, but I find that kids can handle a lot more than their parents think they can. I was never disturbed by what I read, and my parents gave me free reign in their library.

I was also never encouraged or trained to read, and I doubt it would have worked if I was.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Its awesome to have some other perspectives, my sig likes the idea of teaching a young baby to read, but I think its more for him about being a talent show than whether or not she'd actually enjoy getting from point a to point b, I told him it weirded me out and that I'd rather have my kids develop naturally, because when I was younger I remember to like learning on my own more then having someone teach me. So I guess whatever suits your child's personality and level of development for it would be appropriate but I'm choosing to just sing songs and read the books to her myself and point to the words so she understands that I'm letting her follow along. Thanks for the discussion!
 

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I don't plan to do this, but there is a whole institute in Philadelphia that claims to be able to teach babies to read with flash cards (don't know if it's the same as the infomercial). I thought it was BS but it came up at a dinner party, and a friend had some experience with that system. Apparently her mother used it to teach her to read at a very young age, and she was convinced that that had something to do with her and her siblings' academic achievement (she has a PhD from Harvard, FWIW, and is just generally a well rounded intelligent person). I have no idea how the flash card methods compare to just being an early reader, but it was an interesting perspective!
 

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I can't stand that infomercial! It gets me so worked up. I think it is a way for (SOME) parents to just show off at playgroup or something. "Oh, yea, Johnny can read already, even though he just turned two..I have a book right here, show them, honey!" I just don't understand WHY you would want your 18month old to read. They have a million other things that they can do that are much more beneficial to their development at that young age. Plus, if they truly do learn how to read before the age of say, 3 or 4, what are they going to do when they go to school? I taught in schools and there was a lot of emphasis put on learning how to read throughout 2nd or 3rd grade. The kids who were not struggling with reading were just bored and turned unruly. I can't imagine some poor kid being bored to tears while half the class time is spent on something he already knows.
 

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I think I saw the same infomercial! I know I was a bit curious!
 
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