My Baby Read Her First Word Tonight

Up until about two months ago, we didn't let our daughter watch TV. No Dora, No Sesame Street, No Baby Einstein, No Lion King. None. Zip. Nada. Not even "secondhand" TV.

We made this choice for a number of reasons. We wanted to spend our moments outdoors and engaged in play and storytime. We felt that most of the shows available were too stimulating and too sensational. Perhaps, most of all, we made this decision because my husband and I watch very little TV - it's just not a part of our way of life and never really has been. Strange, but true.

5set-med.jpgThen - I heard about "Your Baby Can Read." It's a DVD designed to help babies and toddlers read. I was skeptical at first, but interested. After all, I thought, wouldn't it be wonderful to offer my daughter the gift of early literacy?

We first watched the movie with our daughter when she was around 17 months old. We were impressed by the "slow" pace - a word accompanied by the word's image. It was simple, but that simplicity actually won us over. Both my husband and I could see how this could really teach our daughter to read.

I had the privilege of talking with Dr. Robert Titzer, the show's creator and a professor at Indiana University.

ME: When did you first create the Your Baby Can Read Learning System and when did it officially become available to the public?

TITZER: I first starting doing this when my daughter was 3 months and 9 days old on August 11, 1991. I just started by writing words on paper plates. I then created a very interactive video. The first professional video came out in 1997.

ME: What research have you done to authenticate the system and do you have statistics about “success” rates?

TITZER: Studies show that the earlier the child reads, the better the child reads (even when you control for IQ and socioeconomic factors) and the more likely your child will enjoy reading.

The gap between early readers and later readers actually increases over time. If someone learns to read earlier, they read better than children who learn later. It's The Matthew effect – the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

I can't say a success rate overall because many people purchase the DVD series at a store and we don't have any way of tracking them.

ME: The DVD is meant for ages 3 months to 5 years and yet the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children until after age two. What are you thoughts on this?

TITZER: The American Academy of Pediatrics has a very long history of oversimplifying things. For example, the AAP was opposed to breastfeeding in the 1970s . In the case of the TV recommendation, they didn’t differentiate if the baby was watching the news, a sporting event, a soap opera, or a baby video.

That said, we have many pediatricians who have used our videos and recommend them. Our videos are not at all similar to other videos.

I agree that it is harmful for babies to watch TV. I have been saying that for 12 years. Most videos have little or no educational value. I’m actually one of the most anti-television people you will ever meet.

baby-reading-logo.jpgOur videos are different. They're very interactive. They're not passive. Other videos have very small educational value and are entertainment-based . They will not change the baby’s life. The impact that ours has is dramatic.

ME: How many children do you have, what are their ages, and did you use the system with them?

TITZER: I have two daughters: Aleka, 16, and Keelin, 13. Both learned to read using the videos.

I just came from Keelin’s P/T conferences. The teachers say she is a fantastic student. She doesn’t have to work hard. It's been like this since the time she entered school. She has straight A’s and A+’s. This "ease" has a huge impact on the quality of her life. She has time to do other activities and does not need to stress out about school.

My other daughter, Aleka, graduated at 16 and is already a sophomore in college. She received a perfect score on the SAT Verbal section.

ME: Do you have any tips to help parents encourage their children to become voracious readers?

TITZER: The first thing I would say is reduce or eliminate all other TV. Especially during the first year.

Secondly, Go to the library on a frequent basis and check out many different kind ofbooks.gif books. Check out hundreds of books per month. This will greatly enhance your child's life.

I recommend many different kinds of books:

  • A few words per page: Point to each word as you say it. Have your child point at the word as you say it.
  • Dictionary types of book: Use these to increase vocabulary. Babies can learn words after only hearing them once or twice after they know their first 50 words.
  • Story books: Don't be afraid to read ones at higher levels, as long as the child can remain interested in the story. I like Winnie-the-pooh books because they use a lot of complex language – they’re very well-written.
  • Non-fiction books

Finally, intentionally try to teach your child to read. It is not enough to simply read to your child.

ME: Is it beneficial to begin this series after the infant stage?

TITZER: It definitely is. It’s even better at age three or four than it is at age five or six – and it’s better at five or six than at seven or eight. No matter how old the child is, you want them to learn to read. It’s better now than waiting six months or a year.

Tonight before dinner, my husband pulled out a flashcard and I heard my daughter say "dog." I looked over and he smiled, "she said it without any prompting." I smiled.

P.S. You can see clips of babies reading on the Your Baby Can Read site.

WIN IT! One winner will receive Your Baby Can Read! 5 DVD Box Set & Sliding Word Cards. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post prior to Thursday, April 10 at midnight (don’t forget to follow the rules). The winner will be announced and contacted on Friday, April 11. * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.

*UPDATE* The winner is #86 Shay. Congratulations!

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213 comments on “My Baby Read Her First Word Tonight”

  1. I am going to be honest here. I never intended to let my child watch so many shows. It just happened, especially after my second came along. While they are mostly Biblically based shows, such as Veggie Tales and Hermie and Friends... As a home educator-to-be, I want other things! (We don't have cable so that elimintates the junk on TV). Ahhh, I am a representative with Usborne Books and we just began the DVDs this week! Both kids! I appreciate the wake-up call, especially since I KNOW BETTER. :0) BY THE WAY, When you order $85 or more, you can choose any Usborne books for at least $15 FREE (maybe some books from the early reading series). Feel free to contact me for more information. :-) Awesome blog and very well written!!

  2. I am sitting here speechless after watching the videos of the tiny tots reading!!! Unbelievable!!! Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this giveaway!

  3. This would be great for my little granddaughter, she's just learning how to read. Thanks for having the contest!

  4. Children can learn so much at such a young age. The love of books and reading is such a great gift to give our children.

  5. This IS a great product. I'm also a pretty anti-TV person. I didn't let my son watch ANY TV until 2 and even then no more than 2 hours a week. After reading about and viewing this program I've decided to let both him and my 6 month old view the program. I wish I knew about it earlier so my son could have benfited from it at a younger age. If you don't win this product you can purchase it from me on my website:

  6. I have been trying in vain to teach our grandson words, but this seems to be like such a GREAT idea! EASY too!!!!!!! :)

  7. My wife would love this teaching tool since she has been trying to teach our son the sign language method, but it doesn't seem to be working. Thank you.

  8. I am also an Usborne consultant who sells BCR and I am a Mom of a two year old. I started showing the videos and uses the flashcards with my son when he was four months old and he loves them! And best of all he's reading! He can identify by site over 100 words and by being so surronded by words and reading he has taught himself the entire alphabet and numbers 0-10! It has created such a love of books in him, his favorite thing to do is to read. What a gift to give a child.

  9. I am an Usborne consultant who sells this product and I was very reluctant as well. I finally purchased it when an early learning teacher went on about how disappointed she was that this was being marketed. I felt I should develop my own opinion. This is not like any other video for children. Not only do the children learn words, it has songs, poems, interesting animal facts and encourages activity (such as touch your toes). I love this video program and so does my toddler!

  10. This is amazing! My sister in law has a 10 month old and another on the way, this would be a wonderful gift!!

  11. WOW! My daughter is 2 years old and she loves books and most of all at her age she loves to mimic. I think this would be great for her.

  12. What an awesome program. My little boy LOVES to be read to - it's probably his favorite activity. Getting a step up on giving him the opportunity to read for himself would be fantastic.
    Thanks for offering this!

  13. I have to say - my friend told me I needed to do this program...and I waited..and waited until she was 20 months to start. After the first month, she could read 20 words! 3 weeks later she is almost at 50 words-- and LOVES it!

    She keeps asking for "more words"!
    It is a GREAT program and it works!

  14. I would love these for my daughter. She LOVES books and love to pretend to read books to me. We love to read together.

  15. Seems like a great product. I have a 3yr old and a 6mth old so they could both benefit from the videos.

  16. I love reading - its an obsession with some books! I hope that I can teach my children to love books as much as I do ... this program looks like it will be amazing! Thanks for the chance to win!

  17. Just think reading opens the minds and ideas to the world; their first experience is reading until they get older to expreience it and life itself. Thank You!! Best of luck to all who enter.

  18. Great for my son and daughter-in-law who are expecting their first baby. Thank you for this giveaway!

  19. I love the part that Dr. Titzer said: "It’s even better at age three or four than it is at age five or six – and it’s better at five or six than at seven or eight. No matter how old the child is, you want them to learn to read. It’s better now than waiting six months or a year." Makes me think that this could still be beneficial to my 6 (and maybe my 8) year old!

  20. sounds really great, I am looking for something educational with a simpler, gentler pace,
    thanks for contest

  21. With 3 grandchildren, the oldest of whom is 3, I would love to have this to work with them when they are visiting at my house!

  22. thank you for sharing the experience with your daughter! I had heard of Your Baby Can Read but was pretty skeptical about it. I want to try it with my 11 month old now. Reading is such a gift and opens up the entire world for a child-how exciting to give them that key even earlier!

  23. This is a great video. I think it is so important to learn to read early and to enjoy reading all through life.

  24. Yes, these videos ARE terrific for teaching young ones to read. I am a parent of a 2-year-old and am hoping to see great things for him with the help of these videos!

  25. This is great - I started reading at age 2 1/2 and had an easy time in school, unlike my siblings who didn't learn to read until they were in school. I have 3 boys ages 5 years, 3 years and 2 months. My 5 year old is just starting to read - this would be perfect and something I can do with the 3 of them!

  26. this is great.....I would like it for my grandson. His aunt who is now six years old reads on a fifth grade level. I would like to see him doing as well as she is

  27. I'm another happy user! We gave these to my daughter Gemma about three months after Usborne started carrying them, because I wanted to get some feedback first. She'd just turned two. I WISH I'd known about these when she was smaller!

    The other day she brought me two bottles of flavoring, neither of which has a picture on it. She said, sort of to herself: "What tastes good? Hazlenut? No, Blueberry!" She's now three, and she will read the bottles of herbs in the aisles at Wild Oats! "What is kava kava, Mommy?"

  28. Super article! These DVDs and Dr. Titzer's system worked for my son, Nate, too. He had some problems making "the leap" in reading and getting all those key words down was what he needed.
    Within just a week, voila! After two weeks, he didn't have to watch them anymore, really, but he still does with his little brother.
    The words Dr. Titzer chooses so the littlest ones can demonstrate they know it is so amazing!
    Thanks for writing this wonderful article!
    Beth (Usborne Book at Home Supervisor who has the priviledge of selling this amazing product) York

  29. I have a friend that purchased this DVD set from her Usborne Books rep. She loves it! Her 17 mo old is talking like a 3 year old, so it has more benefits than just learning to read.

  30. It's so interesting to read that the producers of these DVDs are also against TV watching and I loved their response! We are of the same mind and would love to give our kiddies a head start on reading!

  31. I was really impressed with the video on the site showing the babies reading. I would love to have this for my son. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  32. My daughter is at a point where she pretends to read, this would be awesome in helping her to really understand what the story is.

  33. My son has special needs and is struggling with reading. I think this would really help him! I'm so excited! Thanks for letting all of us know about this!

  34. This sounds like it'd be great for both my 2-year old and my newborn! How great that there can be something that they can watch and learn together.

  35. This sounds like a wonderful learning tool. I don't have a baby but I bet it would work with my three year old.

  36. We also do not let our son (16 months) watch television. The one exception we have made is the Animal Planet channel. I know it sounds weird. But he LOVES animals and because of our cold climate we can't get out very much for about 6 months out of the year. I'll let him watch it while I'm making dinner and then we simultaneously practice making the featured animal's sound.

    This DVD set sounds intriguing! I'd love the chance to win.

  37. This looks wonderful!! I sure wish they had thought of this so my older children would have had the opportunity to take advantage of this!

  38. My mom read to me and I love to read. I read to my children and now I can't wait to teach me grand daughter to read.

  39. As an obssessive reader, I love to spread the joy of the written word. I'd love for my youngest neice to learn to read quickly. Her older sister is already a reading fanatic.

  40. Our little angel mastered the baby sign language and now will be ready for reading. Can't wait!!!

  41. This product sounds amazing! I would love to be able to teach my son to talk and read at the same time, I think this would really help his language skills as well as his reading skills.

  42. Our plan is to go with no or very limited TV as well. And when you do use the TV, it should be for a special reason- like learning! Love the idea of these DVDs. Thanks for telling us about them.

  43. I like Dr. Titzer's recommendations to have the other books handy like the dictionary type of books (for vocabulary), story books at higher levels so they hear complex language etc. I tend to forget this as I have children of various ages and have "been there done that" with so many that I have become lax with some of the younger ones. My bad. I think I'd like this series. Kathy

  44. what a great idea- we've done the signing time which helped immensely with communicaton and id love to try to see if this helps with reading!

  45. This is wonderful. Since I'm a teacher I have reputation to uphold. My daughter must be the smartest in her class. lol I picked up some flash cards that someone was throwing out, but my 2 year old already knew all the answers.

  46. We would LOVE to have the whole set.. Connor has dvd one and its an essential part of our routine. I'm sure he is getting tired of seeing the same one though. We especially love the flash cards!

    I blogged your contest on Prize-A-Tron as well!

  47. These sound great! I am an avid reader, and what a wonderful way to introduce the joys of reading to children at a very young age. Thanks so much for a great opportunity to win something to give your child a real headstart on reading.

  48. Holy Cow - I'm not sure what to think about this, but think it might be kinda fun to do with my son! What a cool prize! Please enter me! (emandmikeyATaolDOTcom)

  49. Been reading too and trying to teach my son to read since he was a wee thing... Only 3 now and some words he can read but he also has learning problems so this look like it would be a great addition to what we are already doing.. Plus with my 2nd being born in a few months we could start her too

  50. My two year old grandaughter pretends to read. She really wants to! This would be a great way for her to learn.

  51. My little girl just turned two and this would be wonderful to get her started on reading. Thanks for the contest.

  52. First of all, I praise you for being able to keep your daughter away from tv for that long!! My kids did watch some (not a lot..still don't) but we loved baby einstein. My 4 yr old is reading some but this would really help and Im sure he'd love it!!

  53. This sounds like a wonderful product. I'd love to win it for my granddaughter. Thank you for the contest!

  54. Seriously? I'm always so skeptical of stuff like this. But hey, if it's working for your daughter that's recommendation enough for me.

  55. This sounds really cool, and Taylor's getting interested in reading. I'd love to try it for her, and later for the baby. I'm curious, though; is it based on memorization through repetition, or on phoenitics? I think both are valuable, but I'm just wondering if a child learning through this method would be able to read a new word they weren't introduced to through the program.

  56. What a fantastic idea! I love books and reading and can't wait until my little one can read too! Let's get a good head start!

  57. This would be fantastic for baby Dylan. He's not old enough yet but we can save it for a bit - he's still an infant.

  58. Wow, that's incredible if it actually helps! I'm all about keeping children away from television... your quality of life is a million times better when you focus your attention on your family and not feeling like your family is competing for your attention against a television program.... But I would happily deviate from anti-tv if this works and educates my child!
    Thanks for a fantastic giveaway!
    Marissa :)

  59. Thanks for this post! I've been going back and forth with watching TV/videos and its positive and negative effects...AND I saw the video of the 17-month old who can read b/c of videos she watched! Hope to win!

  60. That is really great that "Your Baby Can Read" is working for your daughter. Even if I don't win, I looks like I'll have to get this for my 10 month old son. Its never too early to start reading, right?!

  61. this sounds like a great idea. I'd love to try it with Ben, who just turned two. He loves books and wants to be read to all the time. I think he would enjoy this program.

  62. That's so exciting that your daughter read her first word! My oldest likes the hymn "Holy, holy, holy" so I spelled out the word Holy with her letter magnets. She said "Holy". I thought wow! Then she took the letters E-X-M put them together and said "Holy". I laughed! Obviously we could all make flash cards but a video sounds a lot easier!

  63. Great product!!! I have two in the learning to read age range, so this would be a great asset to us. We are a minimal TV family, ad my kids are so creative because of it!!

  64. What a great product!! I have 7 children and think this would be a great product for some of them and my grandbabies!

  65. I learned how to read at a very early age and would love to give my little boy the same gift. This set sounds like it would really help effectively facilitate that!

    ashdash_99 at yahoo dot com

  66. The "Your Baby Can Read" set would be perfect for my little bookworm in training. Her dad and I are both avid readers and she tries to imitate us. With this prize, she could graduate from board books.

  67. This sounds wonderful.My baby is eight months old and I also have a 4year old. This would be graet for both of them.I would love to see my 4 year old learn to read...I really don't want him to start school
    and not know how. Thanks for the chance.

  68. I would love to win them! I love to teach my kids early, but I hadn't thought to start that early. I usually start at age 4. I have two kids that would benefit from this system.

  69. Your little one is already reading - that is great. I thought my little was reading but I think it is more memorization. She will look at a book and tell me the title to it (I think because I have read the book to her so many times) she will also tell me the next line in a book - I think we need some new books. I would love the chance to give my daughters a head start in reading. We already read books all of the time but I don't know how to go about teaching her to read - so I would love this. My email address is [email protected]

  70. wow, this sounds so great! I have a 2 yo that would benefit from this. since I homeschool, I love anything that teaches them to read and do math before they actually "start" kindergarten :)

  71. This sounds very interesting. I would love the opportunity to share this with my 22 month old son and my other three children. I hope tat we get to win this. Thank you for the sweeps!!

  72. I would love to give our children a jump start in reading. This series seems very simply, yet effective. Thank you for this awesome opportunity.

  73. how cool i so would love this for my little one so that she may learn how to read this also may help her also talk more as well i realy love this it's realy cool thanks [email protected]

  74. I have a good friend that is having a baby. What a great gift for her blessing. I think I would really be the hit of the shower with this gift.

  75. Thanks for your review. I'm interested in having my child learn to read while he's young. I don't know how to get started. We could really put this video to good use.

  76. Both my 5 and 3 year old love to be read to and are learning to read as well. They would love this, and we also have a baby (3 months old) coming up through the ranks!

  77. This sounds like a great product. My son loves to read his books and I think this would really help him learn faster.

  78. Wow!! The video is amazing. I will be ordering this for my soon to be adopted child (if I don't win, of course). Thank you for the chance to win it!

  79. This looks like such a great system. We've tried a number of things to help our girls with reading. Our oldest daughter has become an avid reader -- and all of the girls love books. It has been amazing watching our new little girl, just 2 months old, instantly calm and get wide eyed when we sit with her and read. Being book lovers ourselves, my husband and I hope to pass that on to our children. I love that this system allows you to begin early but in a non pressured way. It seems that it will help improve a vocabulary -- and as a result, the ability a little one will have to communicate. What a great gift to give a child! Thank you for sharing the great product. I hope your daughter keeps loving it!

  80. Wow, this really seems awesome! I used to be a teacher, and my husband still is, so we definitely focus a lot on reading. But I like that these DVDs actually help TEACH the child to read. Like the creator mentioned in the interview, it's not enough to just read to your have to actively try to teach them." Great information!

  81. The Your Baby Can Read system sounds great. Both of my kids are at the age where they are learning to read. We've been using the Leapfrog products for help, but the Your Baby Can Read stuff looks like it may be even better. I'd love to win the set for them!

  82. Wow, this sounds great. We also loved the Baby Signing Time videos as they helped us communicate with our little guy so early. You must be careful though!

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