You must have heard the phrase ‘children are like sponges’, well babies are too. In fact, the learning rate of babies is the fastest it will ever be. Just think of how much a baby learns in it’s first year without any assistance from adults. A baby learns to eat solids, crawl and then take her first steps.
Your baby learns to interpret signals, expressions and also language in her first year. She knows the difference between words and other noises. She may learn to verbalise a few simple words, but can communicate a long time before she can actually talk, through signals, movement and noises. Baby can also learn to read.
There are products on the market that assist you in teaching your baby to read from the age of four months old through large colourful flash cards, sound effects and videos. If the programme is started when the baby is between 4 and 7 months old, then by the age of one year, babies have the capacity to read the alphabet. In another six months they can read whole words and after another six months, whole sentences can be read.
But what are the benefits of starting so young? Is it necessary to begin at such an early age, as all children learn to read eventually anyway? There definitely are benefits of starting to teach your baby to read early, if the lessons are done in an engaging, fun and unpressured way. Here are some of the benefits:
Easiest time for learning The infant years are the time of greatest learning capacity. Languages are absorbed at a phenomenal rate, but this learning curve decreases at around 5 or 6 years of age. It makes sense to tap into this precious time and enhance baby’s brain development.
A head start at school If a child already has the fundamentals of reading under his belt by the time he starts formal school, he will have much more time to focus on developing other skills. Children who learn to read as babies enjoy the learning process and look forward to school as they are not held back by the chore of learning to read.
Greater self-confidence and social interaction Learning how to read as babies gives children a self-esteem boost as they can see their achievements at school and take pleasure in them. They are also emotionally stable as they have more time to forge emotional bonds with peers and enjoy playtime.
Bonding time for baby and parents Spending a few minutes every day in a focused way with your baby is a great way to increase the bond between the two of you. As you see your baby loving the stimulation and actually learning from the lessons, it will give you a wonderful feeling of achievement and a sense that you are doing something positive together.
Here is a video showing Felicity, a one year old baby, reading whole words. It is evident that she is enjoying herself and there is no pressure to finish the few minutes of words. It is truly amazing to watch such a small child understanding what she is reading.