Many of us have watched the “Your Baby Can Read!” commercials and marveled as children as young as nine months old seem to be reading books with ease. If you subsequently felt inadequate as a parent for not ensuring your child could read by the time she reached toddlerhood, here’s some good news: the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged “Your Baby Can Read!” with false and deceptive advertising practices, citing a lack of scientific evidence that babies can learn to read using the program.
Here’s what experts say is a more reasonable timeline for a child learning to read:
Children in pre-school are said to be pre-readers. This is the stage where children are normally able to memorize and recite books that have been read to them many times. Of course, this applies only to age-appropriate reading material, especially those that contain rhyming phrases. This stage is important because it’s when children learn that groups of letters stand for words with meaning.
Once your child is in kindergarten, she will begin to learn the alphabet and the sounds that each letter makes – a vital step towards phonics and learning to read.
Most children are learning to sound out simple words by this age, further solidifying their understanding of letters standing for sounds, and groups of letters in written words conveying meaning the same way that spoken words do. With practice, she will no longer need to sound out words to read them. That will allow her to concentrate more on a word’s meaning and take on more difficult words.
Remember, practice makes perfect! Be sure to take an active role in reading to your child and assisting her as she begins to learn.
Sources: ftc.gov and babycenter.com