Can you teach a baby to read?

Can you teach a baby to read?

July 2nd, 2013

By Aimee Heckel

You have probably seen the infomercials — or at the very least, felt the pressure from other parents: Teach your baby to read early, and you’ll give them a head start on life.

Many products over the years have claimed to be able to teach your baby to read from an early age.

img_635215451_1350436018Your Baby Can Read kits, $119 at, is a five-level DVD Reading System (word cards, flap books and more) and interactive videos. However, the system hit numerous legal challenges and claims of “inaccurate scientific statements.” Today, the founding company, the Infant Learning Company, continues to educational products for infants and toddlers.

1688105Walmart sells a book, “How to Teach Your Baby to Read,” $14.99. The book was written to help parents put together materials and opportunities to more fully develop a child’s “reading potential.”

What’s the truth?

Judith Hudson, a developmental psychologist with, writes that children really can’t start reading before age 5 or 6, because they have not yet formed the necessary neural connections.

Toddlers can begin to learn letters and recognize their name and some signs by around age 3, Hudson explains.

Even if it’s not neurologically possible to teach your 6-month-old to read Shakespeare, it’s still important to read to your child, experts say.

Oprah — you know, the Goddess of Book Recommendations — recommends classics like Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt for babies through age 2; Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson for kids 3 to 5; and the classic Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel for kids age 6 to 9.

Looking for good deals on books?

Specifically for kids: 

  • Get 68 percent off “Great Recipes Kids Can Cook” from Books Are Fun.
  • Also, to find some great storybooks online, check out Storyline Online.

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Aimee's passion for storytelling has brought her around the world as a journalist, writing award-winning news articles about Haiti and Uganda. Aimee studied international journalism at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and she majored in journalism and German at Colorado State University. When she's not writing stories for a Colorado newspaper, she travels and volunteers for Think Humanity, her family's nonprofit that helps refugees and disadvantaged people in Africa. She's also a mom, a wife and a furious bargain-hunter. Reach out to her at, find her travel board on Pinterest, follow her on Twitter, or ping her on Google+.

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