How to Teach Your Baby to Read with Flash Cards
The best time to start teaching your baby to read is between the ages of 3 months and 3 years old. The younger a child is, the more quickly they can learn to read. We recommend starting at 3 months old because the child’s visual pathway is developed by that time. Now they can focus clearly on the words being presented. It is also an ideal time to start because babies are not very active at this age making them ideal students. Children that are 4 years old may still learn to read using this method, but they will not learn as quickly as the younger child. By 5 years old, a child is better off learning to read with a phonics-based system.
It is easier for children to learn to read as babies than at any other time. Due to their rapidly developing brains, they are able to learn to read in a more efficient manner than older children. Children’s brains are wired to learn language (whether spoken, written, or sign) in infancy. This makes it easiest for them to learn to read during these early years.
Reading is one of the most important skills a parent can give to their child. Many children who only know the alphabet when beginning school struggle with reading. Babies are born intellectuals. They want to learn everything! This makes reading a form of play for babies. By teaching babies to read, we give them a permanent advantage over peers taught at a later age. When we teach our babies to read we are giving them the keys to all future knowledge.
Teaching your baby to read is a game. As parents, it is vital to remember that games are fun! We must not put pressure on our babies to read. It is a fun activity that they participate in daily with their parents. Never attempt to teach your baby to read unless they are in a good mood! Each reading session should take 30 seconds or less. That’s right, seconds. You must also be consistent and show the words three times a day every day. This can easily be accomplished by keeping the word cards near the changing station. When it is time for a diaper change, you can quickly flip through a set of cards. This will help to maintain a consistent program.
It is best for the words to be written in a black or red font. The font must also be large enough for the babies to see easily.
You can start out with 5 word cards. Hold the card up so the baby can see it and say the word clearly. Quickly flip to the next card. The faster you can flip cards, the more attentive your baby will be. It takes a split second for the words to register with your baby. Do not linger on each card or you may lose your babies attention. If you are going to show your baby a picture of the word you are teaching, it is okay to spend more time discussing those. Don’t bore your baby by holding up the words for more than a second.
You may adjust the number of words per set based on your baby’s interest. Some babies will view 1 or 2 cards per session. Others will sit for 10 – 20 cards. You must always stop before your baby is tired of the game or else you risk losing that element of fun.
It is best to teach your baby when the house is quiet and there are no other distractions. Look at your child as you say each word. We have put the words in a small font on the back of each card to make it easy to quickly flip through the cards without fumbling. Flip the cards from the back of the pile to the front. Always praise your baby when you finish a reading session. Always shuffle the cards before you show them to keep it interesting for your baby.
It is best to start with 5 cards the first week. Show those 5 cards three times each day. After your baby has seen them consistently for a week, or 20 times, put them away and move on to a new set of cards. You can add extra sets as you get adjust to the program. You can show your child between 25 and 40 cards each week, only if it is fun for your baby. Make adjustments to your program based on your baby’s interest.
Once your baby has seen about 50 words or more, you can begin showing couplets, or two word combinations. You can combine the words your baby has learned to make countless combinations.
From couplets we move on to three word phrases. We continue to add words until babies are reading sentences and books. Because babies are developing so rapidly, we must adjust our programs continually to meet their changing needs. Babies that were reading 50 words a week at 5 months old, may only want to see 5 or 10 when they are gaining mobility at 7 months.
For a more in depth explanation of how to teach your baby to read, we recommend “How To Teach Your Baby To Read” by Glenn Doman.
Copyright 2008 Intellectual Baby, LLC