003: Did you miss the boat on teaching your toddler how to read? (Me too!)


So did you teach your toddler to read yet? And if not, why not?

I’m just kidding, of course.

I wanted to write this episode on encouraging literacy in middle to older toddlers, but the more I researched the more I found the issues go much further back than what you do in toddlerhood.

Then I found – and read! – a 45,000 word essay by Larry Sanger, who taught his baby son to read.  I’m not kidding.  Check out the link to the video on YouTube in the references.

My two-year-old can’t read yet.  Did I miss the boat?  Would her learning outcomes have been better if I had taught her as a baby?

Is TV a good medium to teach reading and vocabulary?

What are some of the things parents of young toddlers can do to encourage reading readiness when the child is ready?

We talk about all this and more in episode 3, and there’s more to come for older toddlers in a few episodes time.


American Academy of Pediatrics (2016). Media and Children. Accessed August 19th, 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Pages/Media-and-Children.aspx?rf=32524&nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token

Carlsson-Paige, N., G. Bywater McLaughlin, and J. Wolfsheimer Almon (2015). Reading instruction in kindergarten: Little to gain and much to lose. Available online at: http://www.allianceforchildhood.org/sites/allianceforchildhood.org/files/file/Reading_Instruction_in_Kindergarten.pdf

Christakis, D.A. (2008). The effects of infant media usage: What do we know and what should we learn? Acta Paediatrica 98, 8-16. Full article available at: http://echd430-f13-love.wikispaces.umb.edu/file/view/Pediatrics+article.pdf

Federal Trade Commission (2014). Defendants settle FTC charges related to “Your Baby Can Read” program. Available online at: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/08/defendants-settle-ftc-charges-related-your-baby-can-read-program

Gray, P. (2010). Children teach themselves to read. Blog post on Psychology Today available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201002/children-teach-themselves-read

Gray, P. (2015). Early academic training produces long-term harm. Blog post on Psychology Today available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201505/early-academic-training-produces-long-term-harm

Harris, J., Golinkoff, R.M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2011). Lessons from the crib for the classroom: How children really learn vocabulary. In S.B. Neuman & D.K. Dickinson (Eds.) Handbook of early literacy research Vol. 3. (49-65). New York: Guilford.

Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R.M., & Eyer, D. (2003). Einstein never used flash cards. Emmaus, PA: Rodale.

National Center for Education Statistics (2016). Status dropout rates. Available at: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_coj.asp

Neuman, S., Kaefer, T., Pinkham, A., & Strouse, G.A. (2014). Can babies learn to read? A randomized trial of baby media. Journal of Educational Psychology 106(3), 815-830. Full article available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273814238_Can_Babies_Learn_to_Read_A_Randomized_Trial_of_Baby_Media

Sanger, L (2010). How and why I taught my toddler to read. Available online at: http://blog.larrysanger.org/2010/12/baby-reading/

Sanger, L. (2010). 3-year-old reading the Constitution – reading progress from age 2 to age 4. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIu8BGFqMm4

WatchKnowLearn (2016). Reading Bear. Website available at: http://www.readingbear.org/#

Zimmerman, F.J., Christakis, D.A., & Meltzoff, A.N. (2007). Associations between media viewing and language development in children under age 2 years. Journal of Pediatrics 151, 364-368.

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