Our Experience with Your Baby Can Read

Pics from top: some of the DVDs in the Your Baby Can Read Program; (next three pics) Siena about a year ago examining some of the materials; Siena demonstrating “Arms up,” which she learned from the program
When my now 2-year-old daughter was 4 months old, my mother-in-law bought her the Your Baby Can Read program. At the time I wasn’t sure exactly what it was, and I had heard others criticize it for falsely claiming that a baby could learn to read. My thoughts were how could a program that attempts to engage a child in learning be a bad thing?

I didn’t expect too much from it. I saw it as another tool in our arsenal (along with the numerous books we were reading to her and our ongoing engagement with her) to prepare her for a lifetime of learning. It was exposure to language. Plus, it was an activity my baby and her grandma could enjoy together. And enjoy it together they did. They watched the DVDs together every day, for months and months. They read the books and viewed the flashcards. I was surprised to see how absorbed Siena was in it right from the start.

The Your Baby Can Read program is an interactive process. My mother-in-law (and later, also my husband or I) would watch the DVDs with Siena and repeat the words and so on. It was a fun activity and Siena loved it.

As soon as one of the DVDs started, she got excited and tuned in attentively. Before we knew it, she was participating. One day (7 months into the program), while watching one of the DVDs, she recognized, by sight, three words in a row. As soon as the word “Clap” appeared on the screen, she began to clap her hands — before the narrator said the word and before the subsequent demonstration of it. Then, the word “Nose” appeared, and she touched her nose with her pointer finger. Then, came the words, “Arms up,” and guess what she did? She raised her arms. She had also learned to wave hello and goodbye months prior to this; and she would immediately start clapping when she heard the beginning of the music to “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

I can’t say for sure if Your Baby Can Read prepared my daughter for early reading – she’s only 2, too soon to tell – but I kind of suspect that it did. I have to say that Siena is very verbal, loves books, and is eager to learn. I’ll spare you the biased mommy bragging stuff, but I’m quite proud.

Siena still watches a DVD here and there and proudly calls out the many words she knows. She has devoured the books (pages are ripped out) and loves looking through and naming the flash cards.

Our experience with the Your Baby Can Read program has been positive. We implemented it pretty casually (i.e., I never read the instructions or made it a rigorous thing) and made it a fun activity. I’m sure there’s a more structured method, but this way worked for us.

I think that Your Baby Can Read (when shared interactively with an adult) engages little ones in a fun activity that facilitates learning. It utilizes repetition and association to facilitate memorization, familiarity, and interest. It gives babies exposure to words and concepts, and the more exposure the better. And, it does it in a way to captures their attention and interest. I believe that this program is a great tool for language development and for helping to foster a lifetime love of learning.


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