Teaching Babies to Read

In recent years there has been a growing trend in methods and in the methodology behind teaching a baby to read. Here we will review a few programs that claim to teach a baby to read (and some even claim to teach basic algebra before age 5).

First let’s clarify that studies regarding the reasoning or possibilities behind teaching a baby to read are hard to find. While most experts will agree that it is possible to teach a child to read while still very young, they will ask why you would want to. Some experts say that it is a feather in a parents cap and nothing more while other experts may say that this helps a child’s ego and therefore gives them a jump start.
Some experts argue that reading early is over saturation of a good thing, like giving a child too much of a multi-vitamin. The vitamin is a good idea but in moderation and at an age appropriate level. Dr. Paul J. Kinsella tells us in a Time, Inc. article as saying that a child’s seeing and hearing are so disorganized that if a parent pressures a child in this manner there can be serious emotional blocks built that may inhibit the child’s ability to read when the right time comes along.
With all the skeptics out there, one thing is for sure and proven by plenty of studies and that is that reading TO your child is key to their vocabulary development and future reading skills. The time spent together reading (and most likely even trying to learn to read early) creates a bond between child and parent and any time spent bonding like this is a good thing. Also, early learning is a good thing in general and although it may not be important to have a child reading at 10 months old, most of us would agree that children who know how to read going into kindergarten is a great thing.
Here are a two of the programs that promise results in teaching your baby to read:
  • Glen Doman and the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential offers a Teach Your Baby to Read book and program. The program comes with pre-made cards and instructions. The author states that you can use this as early as six months old. You are to do the routine with the child several times a day making it feel like play time with the parent. Much praise is to be given to the child and the increments of learning time are to be short. The book itself can be found for under $20 and it teaches a parent all they need to do to make the cards for the child so if you don’t want to purchase a whole kit you really don’t need to. The whole reading program runs just under $75.
  • Give Your Child a Superior Mind is a program built by Siegfried Engelmann (associate researcher at the University of Illinois) and his wife Therese (a psychologist). Their theory is that children resist learning at first and need to be pushed by the parent. They believe that learning starts in short spurts and works up to 90 minute sessions. This method not only claims to teach reading but addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as well as some algebra. The Engelmann’s even state that children by age 5 are capable of creative abstract concepts.