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Is 'Your Baby Can Read' a Scam?

Posted by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 6:13 PM
  • 12 Replies

Is 'Your Baby Can Read' a Scam?

Posted by Sasha Brown-Worsham
on April 13, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Most parents would do anything to give their child a leg up in the academic world, right? So, it's no wonder that parents have been shelling out hundreds of dollars for the Your Baby Can Read program on DVD, replete with flashcards and other systems allegedly created to help even babies as young as 3 months learn to read.

But are these babies really reading? Child development experts from Harvard, Tufts, NYU, and more say no. These babies are just memorizing and the parents who buy into it are being duped.

I am with them. This is a lot like the Baby Einstein hype of a few years ago. Parents will do anything to keep their kids competitive, but in many cases, they may be hurting them.

Susan Linn is the executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a group which has filed an FTC complaint that Your Baby Can Read is misleading propaganda and also "poses significant health and safety risks to infants" who sit in front of TVs and computer monitors. Linn told MSNBC:

If parents follow the Your Baby Can Read instructions, after 9 months, babies would have spent over a full week of 24-hour days in front of a screen. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under the age of 2. So does the White House task force on childhood obesity.

Raise your hand if you think putting a baby in front of a TV is helpful? I'm guessing most moms are still sitting with their arms by their side. We all know it isn't and we all know we shouldn't do it. So why would we do it just to teach our kids to read?

As the parent of a precocious reader who became interested in letters as a baby and taught herself to actually read at 2, I know it's tempting to push kids further and further, but the fact is children gravitate toward what they love. My daughter is 4 and knows how to read, but has no interest in numbers. My son has no interest in letters or colors, but is fascinated by numbers and what they do. I don't push either of them. Learning should be fun and it should be independent.

Memorizing is a great party trick, but it isn't actually reading. It isn't sounding out the words and learning (and loving) the letters. That takes passion and desire and you don't get those things by forcing a 3-month-old into a chair in front of the television.

We want our kids to love to learn and to seek it out themselves. We can present opportunities and let them gravitate toward them. There is no need to push a motivated child. They will seek what they're interested in and that is the way to build a lifelong love of reading and learning in general.

Do you use tricks to teach your child to read?

 

by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 6:13 PM
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Replies (1-10):
mollysmom328
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 6:18 PM

Oh I LOVE this article!

clapping

This is exactly what I tell anybody who is even remotely interested in using "Your Baby Can Read".

Amy614
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 6:21 PM

Probably a scam, but definately (IMO) not the way to teach children to read.  You will get pretty much the same outcome by sitting and reading with your child for 5-10 minutes a day.  After 9 months of stories, children can often 'tell' the story from memory.  It might not be perfect, word-for-word, but they will know what is going on well enough to be able to tell someone who doesn't see them daily. And they get the benefit of time with you, the parent, which can never be replaced by a television or DVD program.

imapepper
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 6:25 PM

My son is 3 and is learning to read as well because he loves letters, words, books, numbers, anything to do with reading.  He did not get that way from watching your baby can read.  However, I do think your baby can read MAY be doing what it says it is.  Yes, it is teaching memorization, but it also teaches decoding because the babies begin to recognize patterns.  Really learning to read is not learning to sound out words, have you tried to sound out words in our English language?  It is almost impossible to do!

However, I have also read that while your baby can read teaches babies to read at an early age, other children eventually catch up.  Being able to read earlier does not make them better students throughout school, just maybe the first couple years until the other children get to their level.

I think reading should be a bonding experience though and think it much better to teach your children to read and show them the joy of reading; a tv should not.

feralkitten
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 6:25 PM

i personal think the worlds gone mad trying to teach babies to read . there more to life than learning to read and right there other things like solicitation , coordination . I'm very very badly dyslexic so no amount of money or flash card wouls help me but t people has spent more times about working on what i was good at rather than what i was rubbish at maybe i would not have been such an unhappy kid

i think kids should be playing and enjoying life and learn to read when there 4 or 5 , because i will tell you something being smart dose not make your happy

mollysmom328
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 6:46 PM

I have to disagree.  I teach Kindergarten and 1st grade.  It is very possible to teach children to read by learning to sound out words.  In the beginning they are learning patterns and how to decode (which is NOT done by memorization!) then eventually they can use those tools to figure out the words that are harder to sound out.

Quote:

Really learning to read is not learning to sound out words, have you tried to sound out words in our English language?  It is almost impossible to do!


mommyhonu
by Mary on Apr. 13, 2011 at 6:52 PM

 my mil bought this program for my lil guy and I refused to let him do it. she kept insisting that it works cuz my sil's grandson watches it & loves it. needless to say I told my mil that I wouldn't be doing that and that reading is just as good or even better then that program. I also told her that it's just sight words and going to give him a harder time in school when it comes to learning how to read. (she's still mad at me about it, think I'm gonna have to print this article. Just to get her off my back)

housefullofkidz
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 6:53 PM

 I like my kids to be babies when they are babies. They will learn to read when it's time. I am in no hurry :-D

mommyhonu
by Mary on Apr. 13, 2011 at 7:09 PM

 me too

Quoting housefullofkidz:

 I like my kids to be babies when they are babies. They will learn to read when it's time. I am in no hurry :-D

 

Honeybun09
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 7:10 PM

I think the whole thing is pointless LOL!




babyluver
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 10:28 PM


Quoting housefullofkidz:

 I like my kids to be babies when they are babies. They will learn to read when it's time. I am in no hurry :-D

I agree. I can't get her to sit still for the flash cards and she just wants to take off with the book. Sometimes I put the video in to see how she'll react but I haven't noticed any difference. She's not reading and I don't expect her to for sometime. She's only 19 months old for heaven sakes!


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