Could you teach your baby to read?

Is your reaction, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”?  I claim that you can teach your baby, toddler, or preschooler to read–probably.  What do you say to that?

I was thinking about how my essay on baby reading hardly made a ripple on its first day out in the world, despite being announced pretty far and wide.  There was no negative reaction; but there was hardly any positive reaction.  There was essentially no reaction.  I’m not sure why that might be, but my best guess is that people don’t believe that there’s anything to it, not enough to investigate it much.  To be sure, a 140-page essay is a bit much to expect an instant reaction to, but what about the video, the flash cards, and the presentations?  Nothing!  My explanation is that people simply don’t believe that there’s enough “to” claims like “your baby can read” to warrant much caring, much less investigation.

Let me make several claims, each of which I can back up with a lot of argumentation:

1. It’s not just me.  Lots of people have done this.  You didn’t know that?  Read my essay, especially Part 2, and you’ll see.

2. It’s really reading.  By age 2 or 3, lots and lots of kids who start out with Your Baby Can Read (YBCR) and the Glenn Doman method and similar methods are able to sound out new words, and understand age-appropriate books.  By the time they enter first grade, those kids read well above grade level.

3. And no, it’s not because they’re geniuses.  I’m not a genius, and I’m sure my little boy isn’t either.  Lots of more or less average people have taught their little kids to read, and long before I found out about it.

4. I didn’t pressure my little boy into reading.  If you think that’s the only way to teach a tiny tot how to read, you’re just mistaken!

5. It’s not impossibly difficult or expensive.  Yes, I work from home and have some free time to help teach my little boy, but with the free materials out there now, and as the price of YBCR has come down, basically, you just have to spend some time doing this.  With the videos, or with looking at some powerpoint presentations or my flash cards…well, sure, it takes some time, and probably some money…but it’s not a full-time job or anything.  Think of it as a side-hobby.  You could get deeply into it, the way I have, but you could have a nicely positive effect without doing so, I’m very sure.

OK, folks, what else can I say that will make you take this whole opportunity seriously?

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About the author

Larry Sanger had written 163 articles for Larry Sanger Blog

I call myself an "Internet Knowledge Organizer." I started Wikipedia.org, Citizendium.org, WatchKnowLearn.org, ReadingBear.org, and Infobitt. I write about education and the Internet from a broadly philosophical point of view.

3 Responses to "Could you teach your baby to read?"
  1. Reply Tweets that mention Larry Sanger Blog » Could you teach your baby to read? -- Topsy.com December 14, 2010 08:16 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Elizabeth Blackney, Larry Sanger. Larry Sanger said: Could you teach your baby to read? I say: probably. http://bit.ly/fwol4g […]

  2. Reply Monique December 14, 2010 16:33 pm

    Sadly I’m not surprised with the lack of response. I noticed this even in my personal experience. At first I was telling everyone what we were doing and in my head was thinking “God who could pass up doing this with their child.” Well I was very surprised to see people pretended to be interested but then just didn’t do it, or right out said they were not interested. Is it laziness, lack of interest, I don’t know. I noticed the same thing with baby sign, but not to the same degree.

  3. Reply Larry Sanger December 14, 2010 23:54 pm

    My current line on this is simply that they don’t “grok” the opportunity. It’s like the Web back in 1995. Hardly anybody knew about it. Those who did know about it regarded it as a geeky thing. The vast majority of people, upon learning about it, just wouldn’t be able to grasp the implications.

    Basically, people aren’t interested in baby reading simply because they can’t take seriously the notion that babies can read. There must be something wrong with the suggestion — either they’re not really reading, or it’s a trick, or the kids who do it are geniuses, or the parents are damaging the kids by pushing too hard, or something. Any of these seems more likely than that babies really can be taught to read. That being the case, they don’t have to think any more about it.

    The nice thing, though, is that this is going to change. More and more people will see videos of babies reading on YouTube. YBCR, which is the white knight in this whole game, will come down in price, and decent free (or very cheap) alternatives will come into play. As a result, before too long, everybody is going to know somebody with a kid who read at age 2. From there it’s going to be all downhill. Sure there will be some resistance, but in time the inevitable pressure of brute facts (zillions of kids actually reading, and doing well in school afterward) is going to outweigh all the arguments.

    You know, along with YouTube, the real hero in this (mostly future) drama is the genius who decided to start the YBCR infomercials. You might find them obnoxious, and I think they use too much hard sell tactics and not enough appeal to reason, but heck, they’re infomercials! But it’s the infomercials that has got everybody talking about it.

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