If you have an infant or toddler it’s likely have you’ve seen the advertisements or at least heard about the program Your Baby Can Read.
I’m not buying it. I’ve seen theÂ infomercialsÂ and I can’t deny that its brought up the urge to join the bandwagon. But, honestly, that’s just good marketing.
This program claims to be a
“…revolutionary early-reading program encourages infants and toddlers to NATURALLY learn the written word AT THE SAME TIME as they learn the spoken word. Studies indicate that early readers are more confident, have higher self-esteem, and generally do better in school and in life!
*Teaches babies, toddlers and preschoolers written language during the window of opportunity for learning language.
*Promotes the learning of “natural phonics”.
* Also includes a complete overview of the program, including an orientation and a parents’ “How To” by Dr. Titzer himself, testimonials, and remarkable footage of babies reading.
This language development system introduces children to the wonderful world of words using Dr. Robert Titzer’s fun, multi-sensory reading approach. Babies and toddlers do not just watch this DVD. They interact with it!”
While I believe that studies show early readers are “more confident, have higher self-esteem, and generally do better in school” this program is not teaching reading, but memorization and word recognition.
The child is conditioned through a series of videos, pictures, and word cards to associate the picture and word as the same. (You can watch an example on the company site.) While this may be building “brain connections” and the child can recognize words from different sources there is very little learning how to read.
These children (and parents) are being duped into thinking their child can read, but memorization does not equal reading comprehension.
You can say C-A-T all day long until you’re blue in the face, but it will never sound like ‘cat.’ Why?
Because the letters are symbols and each symbol has a corresponding sound. A word is not formed (or read) until those symbols are given meaning. When a child says the sound of each symbol (letter) and begins to blend those sounds together it creates meaning-–a word.
The child who knows the sounds of the alphabet and can blend those sounds together, that is a child who has the skill to read. A child who has been trained to memorize and associate words, will struggle and be at a loss–even frustrated–when a new word is introduced, because they do not have the skill to interpret that word. They cannot read.
My philosophy is phonics first. Teach the name of the letter, but emphasize the sound. Without the sound the letters are just meaningless symbols.