Have you ever seen those infomercials from My Baby Can Read? Where there are 3 year olds reading novels and little babies reading words off of flashcards?
Don’t be fooled. I’m one of the parents that dished out the $200 plus dollars to buy it. I’ve also bought about a thousand dollars worth of other DVDs, games and toys from Baby Einstein, Leapfrog, Vtec, etc. There’s more to it than the video lets on.
In the my baby can read videos, what they don’t tell you is, those parents put a lot of work into getting their babies to read. Its not something that just happens by popping in a dvd and letting the baby watch it for 30 minutes each day. Even if you have a 60 inch screen tv and your baby thinks its real life, the odds of your baby learning to read that easily are slim to none.
The kit comes with flash cards and a flashcard book. The idea is to read the flashcards to your baby every single day until they eventually start to remember. Honestly if you do have that kind of time and devotion, the odds are in your favor, congratulations. This is the real truth, but don’t be discouraged, there are ways to make learning to read fun and a great bonding experience.
Teaching a 6 month old baby to read is nearly impossible. Sign language yes, reading not so much. Babies don’t need to read in their everyday life, they do need to communicate and that’s why sign language is possible. Babies need food and love, so of course doing a hand gesture to tell you what they need is going to happen.
But reading is not a necessity for babies. I would say read to your baby even from the womb and buy leapfrog and vtec toys for subliminal learning per say, and when your baby is about 9 months old that’s when to start breaking out the flash cards.
Start out with small words. Always take into consideration what words your baby knows. Listen very carefully when they are making their gurgling and pretend talk. Some of the words are real words in the mix of all that cuteness. A lot of baby’s start out saying ma ma or da da, ball, oh no, and what’s that? So teach them to read the words that they know and more importantly start out teaching them to read letter sounds that they know.
If your baby says mama, work on teaching them the letter M’s sound and the letter A sound. Mmm Aaah. Mmm Aaah, use flashcards, letter shaped stuffed animals, toys what ever gets your baby interested. Then do a flash card with Mama on it. Or Duh Aah. Duh Aah, DaDa.. and so on.
Don’t just work on words, keep working on the letter sounds. In order to read a word they have to know how to sound it out, so they need to know letter sounds. Not just identifying the letter like in the ABC song but they need to know the sound the letters make. Read books to them that say those words that they know, and point to the words in the book when reading them to give them a chance to try.
I got my son to read by 4 years old. His favorite thing was being rocked in the rocking chair and listening to my voice as I read him a story, ever since he was a small baby. Having a routine time to read books is a great way to make sure that you work them into your child’s day. Like while eating lunch, or before nap time. Some say not to read to your baby or child before nap time or bedtime, but it worked out great for us. So what ever you are more comfortable with.
When your baby is about one and a half this is when they really start understanding language a lot better and more rapidly. At least that’s how it was for us. A great way to teach them to read words is with alphabet cereal, gummy letters, alphabet cookies and alphabet pretzels. A game you can play is, “if you can read it, you can eat it.” If you can’t find any, they sell gummy letters on the walmart website (by Haribo same company that makes gummy bears), letter preztels on jet.com and other various websites. Or just give them a treat as a reward if you can’t find any.
A gummy, cookie or preztel letter is a really great way to give them a positive association with learning material. Sometimes when a child sees words and flashcards they run. But if they see a cookie or gummy, they come running towards you instead of away from you. So if all else fails, give letter shaped treats a try. “If you can read it, you can eat it,” works with letter food and just a regular treat for a reward, it’s a game that I made up for my children that was really effective. What child doesn’t like snacks?
The hardest part of teaching them to read, is getting their attention and keeping them interested, so this is a way to do that. Start with letter sounds and small words like “it”, “is”, “up”, or “at”. It can be fun and rewarding. Your little one will want the treat, so it will motivate them to try and remember.
You can also use a reward when reading books. BOB books are great to start out with because they use short easy words and sentences, and the pictures aren’t so vivid that it gives away what the words say, which completely defeats the purpose. Cat in the Hat books are great for that too, the pictures don’t give the words completely away. For every word they read, they can get a snack, gummy’s were super effective for us. But you have to stick to it, or it won’t work.
The negative connotation is just as important sometimes, because not getting that reward will stick with them and they will remember it next time. Even if they don’t get any treats at all, don’t get discouraged, it will pay off eventually. You can eat the gummy and say I read the word, so I get the gummy to make it a competition or if you have siblings this works great or what ever works for you. You can work up to using gummys.
Try working on a couple words and then after a couple days, try using a reward treat. You have plenty of time to teach them to read. Take your time with it, its not going to happen over night. Work on one specific letter per week and build your way up to the whole alphabet.
One toy that Leapfrog has that really helps is the fridge phonics. The single letter and the 3 letter word toys are great. If you are going to splurge, those are the learning toys to splurge on as apposed to My Baby Can Read videos. Not that they are completely useless, they are just not very entertaining and once you see it once, its hard to watch it over and over every single day.
If you do prefer to try letting your child watch videos, Leapfrogs Alphabet Letter Factory is great but even better, this might sound weird but trust me on this, try filming yourself doing flashcards and singing the Letter Factory song, or come up with your own silly videos. No-one else has to know.
Ultimately, your baby is most comfortable and soothed by your voice and likes seeing your face best. You are their most important and trusted teacher to them, so learning from you is the best way for them to learn.Thanks for reading this article. Good luck with everything. Don’t get discouraged and keep at it. If you or your child like youtube videos, my family has a YouTube Channel called A Mom Kids and Cat.
My 8 year old daughter Clara, 9 year old son Reed and I make a free educatinal video every Wednesday called Word Surprise. Feel free to check it out and connect with us on Youtube.
About The Author
My name is Codie Rimmer, I’m a mom of 3, one baby angel named Thaddeus, an 8 year old daughter named Clara and a 9 year old son Reed. We have a fun and educational YouTube Channel called A Mom Kids and Cat
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