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Babies Reading: Come ON!

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I'm not impressed by toddlers who can read. In fact, I think it's cruel and creepy.

Guest blogger Gina: When I entered kindergarten, I remember being one of the only students who hadn't yet learned how to read. I went home and told my mom about the other kids. She assured me that it would all even out and, sure enough, by third grade I was in the same reading group with those same kids I was previously jealous of.

Today my television was on in the background and there was an infomercial for Your Baby Can Read. On it were video testimonials including these:

I was shocked by the parents who think it's OK to continuously quiz their nine-month-old babies with flash cards -- forcing them to learn to read before they can even walk. Of course we want our children to learn at every stage of life, but why do some parents insist on fast forwarding the process? I feel like they believe their children will have some sort of leg up on other kids. What's so great about a leg up anyway? More pressure?

I also think it's a false assumption to think their children will go further than others. A few of those kids who were reading when they entered my kindergarten class found me on Facebook recently. Guess what? They aren't saving the world or writing the great American novels. In fact, they seem like shy, boring anti-social people who communicate through social networking sites.

And PS: If I saw a nine-month-old reading, I would think the kid was creepy and I'd cancel all future playdates. I'd rather my child hang out with kids who bang on Tupperware and eat their boogers. They have a lifetime of studying ahead of them. Isn't this the point of being a kid? Really.

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7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anna November 2, 2008, 9:04 AM

there is nothing wrong with having your baby learn early on it makes kindergarden all the more easier and reduces the chances of them being held back. Actually being held back is even more stress to a baby then reading a few flash cards. So what if you didin’t develope that quickly at first with reading, some kids don’t learn to read until they are 7. Don’t bump parents whose children just so happend to develope earlier then children in your family.

Anonymous November 2, 2008, 9:24 AM

early on? they can’t even SAY the words yet, they shouldn’t be forced to read. Besides, they aren’t actually reading… they’ve memorized the words. it’s no different from a color or shape. Reading is when you know the sounds each letter makes and can put them together.

Those parents need a hobby.

Jordan G November 2, 2008, 10:10 AM

I agree with the writer.This is cruel.

Lisa Russell November 2, 2008, 3:32 PM

Reading is fun, actually. No one says it’s creepy when a 3 yr old says McDonalds pointing at the McDonalds sign. I think if you were to read more about these programs, you’d see there’s no quizzing involved, and that there’s no forcing involved. In the Glenn Doman method, you just flash cards with giant words on them for 1-2 seconds at a time a few times a day. No pressure, no quizzing, just flashing and saying the words, like TV does. They learn because that’s what kids do. It’s not a replacement for the decoding skills taught in phonics, but it’s effective, gentle and not creepy at all. I’m speaking of the Glenn Doman method that’s been around for many years, I know nothing of the TV infomercial.

Anonymous November 2, 2008, 6:30 PM

Lisa, I think it is creepy when a 3 yr old says McDonalds.

mary November 2, 2008, 10:32 PM

Actually, I’m more concerned about how this affects a child’s learning later on. As humans, we were not “meant to” do a lot of close vision work. We were meant to look at distances, i.e. living an active life, looking at things in the distance. Now, we live in a society where everything is close vision, books, computer, and tv. I really do feel that this early ‘reading’ is not necessarily in the best interests of the child’s visual development. Vision is so much more than 20/20 acuity… there is a developmental process and doing a lot of close-work at a young age can affect the visual development.

Nicole April 20, 2009, 9:53 PM

Reading to your children at an early age is fun and fine. They will eventually pick up reading, but give them time. It’s a shame to make children grow up too fast. Stop to smell the roses once in awhile.

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