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.
Your Baby Can Read kits, $119 at Bonanza.com, 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.
What’s the truth?
Judith Hudson, a developmental psychologist with Babycenter.com, 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.
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