I am so tired of seeing the Your Baby Can Read commercial that has been running on TV since before Christmas. For anyone who lives under a rock and hasn’t seen it, it shows parents flashing cards with written words in front of their babies, and the babies can supposedly “read” the words. But, they’re not reading them in the sense that they can sound out the words phonetically; it’s what I’ve heard called “repetitive word recognition”. They’ve seen them so many times that they know what those specific words are.
That’s why I found an older blog post today, Experts Agree! Really, Babies Don’t Need to Read, to be interesting. The author gives several opinions from experts, researchers, and educators who think teaching a baby to read is not only a waste of time and money, but maybe even harmful to natural brain development.
This makes me feel better about not jumping on the latest bandwagon. My husband and I were both early readers, and I’m sure that by reading to our boys and trying to instill a love of learning, that they’ll read when they’re developmentally ready. That’s basically what I recently told a well-meaning friend who bought the program for her son and really thought I should use it with both of my boys so that they would be reading by age 3. I think it’s a waste of time.
I have the same opinion on starting sports and music lessons at age 3, but I won’t go there. Let’s just say my twin sister and I spent two years in the beginning piano book and shed a lot of tears because my mom (a piano teacher with a music education degree) felt pressured by my grandma to give us piano lessons when we weren’t ready. Things went a lot better when were about 7 and had the ability to sit still and practice.