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Thread: WDYT of "Your Baby Can Read"

  1. #1

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    Default WDYT of "Your Baby Can Read"

    Have just been watching an infomercial on an educational program for babies from 6 months called "Your Baby Can Read" (if you google the name it comes with the aussie site, but was originally developed in the US...and yes I did have a giggle at the name of the guy who created it ).

    Basically there are some dvd's, flashcards and flip books that can teach babies as young as 6-8 months how to read simple words, do actions for them etc. It was pretty interesting and I think DF was quite interested in buying it...until I looked it up online and the whole set costs $300 (the trial on tv was 30 days for $19.90 but doesn't say how much after that if you want to keep it..I'd imagine it would be close to the full purchase price...).

    It was pretty amazing, seeing kids around 12-18 months old saying simple words and reading them off the cards, and 2-3 year olds reading full sentences in books. They said they were at about a Grade 3 (possibly US..not sure how different their schooling system is to ours) level.
    I'm a bit in two minds about it though (not that we would buy it at that price), it might be amazing to see such a young child reading, but is it really necessary? I learnt to read at the 'normal' age, didn't have much trouble and I've always loved to read, so does it matter if they start reading a lot earlier? Should you 'force' that level of learning on such a young child, especially the structured side of it like watching a dvd? They may enjoy it, but maybe it would be detrimental in the future?

    It's really just repetition, I just said to DF it isn't really any different than me singing songs to DD, that's how she now knows the noises that some animals make and joins in with some of the songs, and if the program is so great then why isn't it offered in stores, and why is it so expensive...if it was so wonderful for children's futures then wouldn't it be better if it was more affordable so more children would have access to it? I dunno...maybe it's just their marketing making me a bit cynical about it, but would be interested to hear other's opinions, not just on the program but also 'structured' learning like that in general for little kids.


  2. #2

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    I don't believe hothousing has any benefits what-so-ever. I think you've already made loads of good comments against this product such as the issue of 'forcing learning' and how learning is already occuring through songs and reading books you enjoy together.

    I would stick to reading together and just enjoying it. There are better things for a 2 year old to master and fun is one of them

  3. #3

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    I think the $300 would be better spent enjoying yourselves at play centers.

  4. #4

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    I have just read a book called Reading Magic by Mem Fox - and from reading that I would say what you are already doing, reading books together singing songs etc is the best way to go about learning to read. I would recommend the book ( I got from Library) I learnt a lot about how children learn to read from it - and it isn't selling anything (although it does use Mem Fox books as examples :-)).

  5. #5

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    I believe children should be encouraged to develop at their own pace - yes read TO them, let them see you reading around them, spend time actually talking to them, lots and about everything, even the old mundane things of life, this is how their language becomes rich and developed. It is FAR more important that a child learns to speak properly well before you can even think of encouraging them to start reading. A child's key time of language development is between 3-5 years, expose them to lots of language leading up to and at these ages. Children do not need structured learning, they need learning through play. Play is a child's work, please allow them that, there will be plenty of work coming in the school years ahead, let childhood reign while they are little!
    I don't see any developmentally sound theories behind using flash cards and words with babies, the world around them should be stimulating enough for you to introduce new words into every day.
    Most importantly, turn off the telly and go outside and look at the world, it's a wonderful place of learning.

    Sorry it that sounds a bit ranty, but I am pretty passionate about this topic!

  6. #6

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    Having had one child who seriously resisted reading and trying to force her to do it was one of the worst experiences of my life, vs my other child who is picking up words and letters and numbers and rhymes and songs like a little sponge, I'm a big fan of letting them learn at their own pace.

    If I had my time again I wouldn't have pushed the reading thing with DD#1, but it was getting close to the end of her first year at school and the teachers kept sending home all these flash cards and exercises so I felt obliged - NEVER AGAIN. I don't think doing the same thing with flash cards at a younger age would have done anything at all with DD#1, I would just have got the same horrible experience a few years earlier.

    And the outside world isn't always a place of learning - you need a kid who notices things. I have one of each. #1 notices so little and listens to me even less, so it never ceases to amaze me what she *doesn't* know about simple things, while my other is the exact opposite and can spot, identify by name and then make friends with an amazing variety of bugs and plants. Its the same inside, #2 knows where every utensil, pot and pan in the entire kitchen is kept and what we use them for so it has got to the point I don't need to get anything out myself when I start cooking dinner, and conversely I cannot ask #1 something simple like 'pass me a knife' as she doesn't know where the knives are kept (in a very obvious knife block on the bench), let alone more complex things like what a can opener is so I can't even ask her to get more interesting utensils for me.

  7. #7

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    Lol nah it's ok Ausgirl! I don't think we would buy them anyway, but was just interested in what others thought about that kind of learning at such a young age.

    Rumpled Elf- your DD1 sounds so much like my younger brother (who is now in year 8), he's just always been a bit of a vague kid..if you don't give him specific instructions then he just has no idea..lol. He's not stupid or anything, just a bit airy fairy, head in the clouds!

  8. #8

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    Just to put another spin on it - I have a friend (of a friend) who used the My Baby can read set on her babies and by 18 months they could recognise words and numbers etc. She didn't force them to do it, just put it on in the background while they played and often she would see them watching what was happening on the TV.
    They are very well developed for 2 years old and she puts it down to this.

    Each to their own I guess, I don't think I'd do it that way - I love just reading to missy and will continue to do that. She's only 4 months old but is already recognising the stories that we read at bedtime and sometimes gets a bit excited when I show her the pictures. It's so cute!!

    Sue x

  9. #9

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    I think it's more of a memory game than reading... I want to know what would happen if you showed them a simple word which *isn't* on one of the flash cards....

  10. #10

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    ive been thinking about it too, but $300 is pretty steep!! i just cant keep DD interested in a book, but she LOVES her flash cards and had memorised them after going thru them twice (20 cards).... maybe i should ask my oldies to buy it for xmas...

  11. #11

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    I dont' think this sort of thing is appropriate stimulation for developing baby brains. They need to interact with people and learn through experience and doing stuff,

  12. #12

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    It isn't "reading" I don't think? More My baby can ... Recite, memorize, parrot... Don't waste your money. It's a gimmick

  13. #13

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    I don't see anything wrong with it, its just another tool for parents to use to educate thier children. Its not about sitting them there for 5 hours a day, with match sticks between their eyelids open and strapping them to a chair in front of a tv. I have done a bit of reading on it, and from threads on o/s forums, where mums swear by it, it sounds fun for the kids and how it is incorporated into their lives through games. Its not just about the kids learning to memorise a list, thats evident when there are 2 year olds reading at a 5 year old level. Its no different from me trying to teach ds sign language. We are teaching him that to interact with my brother, and have had people telling me we are "force" teaching him, we shouldnt start teaching him until he is older. I wonder if they would say the same to a parent whose child would rely on it for the rest of their life.

    We will be getting, not until the new year, as I think it will be a great tool. We plan on me being a SAHM until DS goes to kindy, so he wont be exposed to the same "education" that some other kids will.

  14. #14

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    Nup. Let them be babies.

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    I say no. I could read - and I mean read - age two without this (pre-school, age 4, I was reading short books of fairy stories - and I don't mean memorising them). DS is exposed to more "how to read" stuff than I was (I just had books) and he is only just starting to get interested in reading.

    If your child WANTS to read, your child will read. When your child is ready. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. Flashcards - well. Useful revision aids, flash up a word and define it to the exam spec. For teaching? No. Not at age 16, not at age 6, not at 6 months. You don't learn from flashcards, unless superficial recognition and a fear of getting things wrong is what you aim to teach.

  16. #16

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    Hmm. My daughter loves flash cards. Each to their own I spose.

  17. #17

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    I'm not convinced by it...I also think it's mostly a memory and parroting thing...P knows a lot of her bedtime story, becuase it's read every single night, but she can't actually read it.

    I think encouraging literacy is a good thing, but with books and fun and family time.

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