Parents often say 'my baby can read' but is this true? We can see videos of babies reading flash cards from a very young age. How is this possible? And is every baby capable of this?
I would say as a teacher that any baby given the right level of stimulation right from birth and even before birth is capable of reading flash cards at an early age. So what does reading involve?
If we break down the different aspects of what it takes to read we can see that reading requires the following: - the ability to hear the sounds and the difference between the sounds, the ability to see letters and to discriminate between the letter shapes, the ability to remember the sounds the letters make, the ability to articulate the sounds the words make.
They are quite complex skills. If a baby is exposed to language both spoken and written from birth and given a variety of stimulating experiences then any baby can learn to read early.
I did this with my own three children. From birth I surrounded them with language and music. I played story tapes, read to them and talked to them from day one. I gave them toys to reach for and hold on to as soon as they were able. I encouraged them to crawl and explore.
I stimulated their brain development and built connections and neural pathways in their brains. It paid off in a huge way. My children could read easily without much formal teaching from me past the in initial alphabet and three word blending stage.
As teacher I am all for reading programs which teach baby reading activities. There is so much evidence now to prove that learning reading skills and stimulating baby's brain right from birth is the way to make sure that reading and learning comes easily and early.
The first five years of life are the critical time for brain growth and development. Language is best learned in the early years when baby's brain is primed for language learning. It is now though that some forms of dyslexia could be caused by learning important pre-reading skills too late of not at all if the baby has hearing or other difficulties which are not spotted early enough.
The basic fundamental skills of learning to read involve listening, seeing and speaking skills, together with written skills later, which are essential to the language learning process.
These skills can be taught easily from birth by a loving involved parent who knows the techniques to use to teach all that is needed for reading well and indeed learning anything. There is no need for expensive computer based learning program which remove the close parent and child bonding which can take place while reading and sharing a book. These are only useful with older children who can sit up and respond to a computer screen. Young babies learn best in the arms of a parent by hearing stories, poems, rhymes, songs and being shown , posters and pictures of stimulating things. and interesting things in the environment in which they live
Use these with your own children and they will be able to read easily and well before school. The methods really do work!