Reading Babies??? Update – Your Baby Can’t Really Read

Photo of Braxton Hill taken by Angie Hill.

Apparently I am not the only one who was skeptical of the hypnotic, overplayed annoyingly distracting commercials for a company touting the ability to teach a baby to read.

Last week the Today show ran a story on the “Your baby can read” company. A company that claimed its product could teach a baby to read using repetition, flashcards and DVDs.

Jeff Rossen, a Today Show correspondent, did a story on the company in 2010. He talked to experts from Harvard, Tufts and NYU about the company’s product and they all said the same thing – the babies using the program were not in fact learning to read, but were simply memorizing images of words on flashcards.

Not only did the experts say that the company was “misleading” parents, but that the product could potentially harm the babies by exposing them to too much television.

Last week the Today show updated the public on the story, stating that “Your Baby Can Read” is now out of business.

I am sorry if you were sucked in and purchased the program thinking your child would end up stepping into kindergarten ahead of the curve. Heaven knows my boys begged me on a number of occasions to order the program. Commercials for the product regularly interrupted their favorite cartoon shows.

Thankfully I didn’t see any value in teaching my toddler to read. Like I said in my previous blog post about the product, I want my children to succeed, to be smart and capable, but I also think there is a time and a season to all things.

And we all know how much I love my children watching TV. I wasn’t about to buy something that encouraged my tiny kids to stare at the boob tube for hours on end.

If you click on the “Your Baby Can Read” website you will find an open letter from the company to its loyal customers. Here’s part of what it says:

“Regretfully, the cost of fighting recent legal issues has left us with no option but to cease business operations. While we deny any wrongdoing, and strongly believe in our products, the fight has drained our resources to the point where we can no longer continue operating.”

I was glad that someone did some research on the program and was able to shed some light on its effectiveness. And I still stick to my original blog post’s question:
Why on earth would you teach your 18-month-old baby to read? You don’t teach someone to run before they can walk, so why teach someone to read before they can talk?

Check out the Your Baby Can Read website here:

Watch the recent Today Show story on the company here:

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