Mommy Wars: Teach your baby to read

I was watching TV the other day and I saw an ad for something that made me want to yell at the box. ?It was for a “system” that teaches your baby how to “read.” ?They showed 1-3 year olds reading words off of flash cards clearly. ?So what’s wrong with that?


As I watched the ad further they explained how it worked. ?Your baby watches the TV! they show a word, say the word and then a picture or action of the word. ?It is memorizing the words.

Here is my issue with it.

They are not teaching children the fundamentals of reading. ?No phonics, no context. ?Just rote memorization.

What happens when that child comes up with a word that wasn’t on the flash cards? ?Or better yet… what happens when that child is asked to explain what they just read?

Why do parents feel the need to force their children into this? ?What happened to teach them when they are ready? ?Is it for party tricks? ?What gives.

This may sound rather hypocritical since we’ve been working with the boy on reading for almost a year now. ?The difference is that we are working on phonics and we waited until he showed signs of readiness. ?We didn’t do it just for shits and giggles.

So what do you think. ?Teach your child to read that early for fun or wait until they are ready? ?And what is the best method for teaching them?

7 Comment

  1. Wait until they are ready. No doubt about it, I agree with you 100%. I feel that challenging a child, when they are developmentally ready to be challenged (in a developmentally appropriate way), is one thing. Simply “teaching” your child to read because you want to be able to say your child is the youngest child in the world to ever be able to “read” is something completely different. And, in my opinion, creates children who HATE learning.

    It makes me think of this one mom of a kid I had in daycare about 10 years ago: her daughter was 3, and she was concerned that she couldn’t write or read. Her daughter’s art still consisted of “scribbles” and she couldn’t handle it. No matter what I said about development, or how we WERE teaching her pre-reading skills, it fell on deaf ears. She pulled her daughter out and put her in a “more academic” program. I still think about that little girl and wonder how she’s doing, now, as a 13 year old.

    Anyway, I’ll hush, but I definitely am with you on this issue!

  2. Liv says: Reply

    I would prefer that I get my kids out of diapers before they learn to read. And really, it doesn’t put them as far ahead as the parents are led to believe. They are still going to start kindergarten at age 5 and be incredibly bored. Most kids pick up the same skills within the same 3 year period. There is a lot of pressure to get your child ahead but in the end, they are going to be with everyone else anyway.

  3. Joel413 says: Reply

    I’m in agreement. Putting your child in front of the TV to learn anything I think is a bad idea. I applaud those with the drive and desire to make “educational” television, because it gives me something to cop-out with when I’m having a bad parenting day.

    But honestly. I walk around singing “Bee says Buh! Bee says Buh! Every letter makes a sound. Bee Says Buh!” and while I didn’t force my son to play with this toy, it seems to have helped him learn the letters and the phonics. The girl doesn’t seem interested in these toys, and consequently doesn’t seem to be as far along with her letters as the boy was. Oh well. Her time will come.

  4. Wendy says: Reply

    Oh we didn’t waste our time teaching our babies to read. We went straight for the important stuff like physics and geometry! (heavy note of sarcasm) I totally agree with you. I hate people who push children so hard that they end up stressed out and never enjoy childhood. Let a kid be a kid!

  5. Lee says: Reply

    Amen sister! I cannot abide that commercial. Ask those kids what sound a “c” makes and see how far they get…sheesh.

  6. I have a friend who bought that system – I couldn’t believe how much she spent on it. And (surprise!) it didn’t really work for them. I see no reason for a baby to “read”.

  7. Ani says: Reply

    why would my 3 year old need to know how to read? so that we can discuss the op eds published in the local paper?
    i really wonder what some people are thinking regarding what they expect from their children… me, i’m doing my best to scar my child for life by limiting TV watching to noggin (hey, mommy needs a break once in a while), making him learn how to pedal his big wheel and balance on a scooter… 🙂

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