Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Your Baby Can Read: Does it help or harm?

Video: Someone demonstrating part of the program with their infant.

So what do you guys think about this?

From their website,, I quote what they claim:

How It Works

A baby’s brain thrives on stimulation and develops at a phenomenal pace…nearly 90% during the first five years of life! The best and easiest time to learn a language is during the infant and toddler years, when the brain is creating thousands of synapses every second – allowing a child to learn both the written word and spoken word simultaneously, and with much more ease.

Dr. Titzer says the current practice of starting to teach reading skills in school is too late and children benefit greatly from getting a much earlier start since a child basically has only one natural window for learning language -- from about birth to about age four. During this period it is easier for a child to learn any type of language including spoken, receptive, foreign and written language. The earlier the child is taught to read the better they will read and the more likely they will enjoy it.

Studies prove that the earlier a child learns to read, the better they perform in school and later in life. Early readers have more self-esteem and are more likely to stay in school. Meanwhile, a national panel of reading specialists and educators determined that most of the nation’s reading problems could be eliminated if children began reading earlier. 

 Berk (2001) states: "Much research confirms that overloading children with input leads to disorganization of behavior. Excessive stimulation also causes them to withdraw as they try to shield themselves*...These findings help us understand...the detrimental impact of excessive adult tutoring on young children...They also raise concerns about the recent proliferation of expressive commercial early learning centers, in which infants are barraged with letter and number flashcards...Rather than optimizing early neurological growth (as proponents claim), these efforts to jump-start young children can inflict considerable harm, robbing hem of a healthy start on the road to maturity"** (Awakening Children's Minds, p. 25).

"Your Baby Can Read" sounds controversial  then. What do you think? Let's hear what you have to say about it (feel free to leave comments).

Citations inside Berk Quote:
*See, for example, Roe, K. V., Rose, A., Drivas, A., & Bornstein, R. (1990). A curvilinear relationship between maternal vocal stimulation and three-month-olds' cognitive processing: A cross-cultural phenomenon. Infant Mental Health Journal, II, 175-189. Also, Isabella, R. A., & Belsky, J. (1991). Interactional synchrony and the origins of infant-mother attachment: A replication study. Child Development, 62, 373-384.

**For further discussion of why intensive early tutoring is at odds with contemporary knowledge of brain development, see Bruer, J. (1999). The myth of the first three years. New York: The Free Press.



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