We've all seen those ads and infomercials on TV about teaching your baby to read. And, if you have a baby or a grandchild, of course you have asked yourself: "Should we be doing this? Is my child or grandchild missing out on an opportunity to get ahead in life?"
I have to admit, even as a reading teacher, these ads sound tempting, and the testimonials are convincing! But, common sense urges me to go back to what we know about reading. What does research tell us, what have the experts and researchers found to be true about learning to read?
It's no surprise to find out that there is no scientifically based research behind these "magic" reading programs. As we talk about in chapter 2 of Teach a Child to Read with Children's Books, there is no magic reading program, and certainly not one that teaches babies to read!
Of course components of the baby reading programs do work, and yes - some babies are recognizing words by sight, giving the appearance of "reading." But the facts and the research hold true: a baby's brain is just not developed appropriately to learn the key skills needed to decode and decipher patterns of written language. Furthermore, teaching only sight reading, as we have learned over the decades, sets children up for failure in reading success.
So, save your money on baby reading programs, but DO invest in good literature and time reading to the precious babies in your life! That is an activity that research does support.
For more information on baby reading programs, here is a well-written article by Sharon Linde, Education Blogger for SmartParenting