By Alfred Ardis
According to pediatric experts, your baby can read. Not only can they, but they should. Although with the advent of the internet, reading is possibly even more prevalent and ubiquitous than it has been in some time, books are sliding further and further into the margins. Parents seem to think that setting their child down in front of Sesame Street is equivalent to actually spending the time and effort to read them a book. Many parents imagine that these skills can be learned when the child starts school, so why not just allow them to enjoy these first few years without the horrible burden of education?
The problem is this: education is only a burden when a child isn’t equipped to keep up. Your baby can read, to be sure, but without the practice and teaching, they never will. Or, they won’t until their kindergarten teacher starts in with the curriculum. But why wait that long, when you have sitting before you a chance to fill a child’s mind with the type of education that they can receive only then? Make no mistake about it, a baby’s mind is like a sponge. There’s nothing wrong with Sesame Street and other educational children’s programming. But watching TV is a passive exercise, for the most part. If you want to make a real difference, you need the training tools that are designed to engage your child.
Is it ever too early to start teaching your child? Absolutely not. Experts say that even infants can start enjoying picture books, as long as they are age appropriate. Your baby can “read” these books by themselves or with the help of a parent. Naturally, babies of this age like to look at pictures of other babies that remind them of themselves. This puts them in a comfort zone which will help facilitate their learning, and it is why children’s books are usually populated by children. The same goes for movies and other media materials. And of course, if you watch carefully, it really holds true throughout a person’s life. Teen movies usually star teenagers (or at the very least, adults who can pass).
As the child starts to walk, you can introduce more sophisticated materials. Most experts recommend giving the child books that have simple phrases, often used in repetition. This is one of the reasons why you’ll see books of rhyming poetry for children of this age. This kind of rhythm can not only keep a child interested, but it harps on the same words and phrases until the child recognizes them. From a practical standpoint, it’s often a good idea to give them books with board covers and pages, so as to preserve the life of the text. Your baby can read, but they can also tear apart a paper book in record time.
If you don’t believe your baby can read, buy some age appropriate books and learning materials and start working with them. They may surprise you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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