Company behind 'Your Baby Can Read' shuts down
Fri, 20 Jul 2012 9:20a.m.
By Dan Satherley
The company behind a controversial education programme aimed at teaching babies as young as three months old to read has shut down, citing the mounting cost of fighting complaints.
Your Baby Can Read was created by American researcher Dr Robert Titzer in the late 1990s. The system comprised of a set of flash cards, books and videos, and claimed that the best time for kids to learn how to read was when they were aged between three months and three years.
The advertisements urged parents to "seize this small window of opportunity".
The company that sells the system, Your Baby Can LLC, is currently under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission after a complaint last year from lobby group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC). It is also facing class action lawsuits in several states.
A message posted on the company's website earlier this week said: "Regretfully, the cost of fighting recent legal issues has left us with no option but to cease business operations. While we deny any wrongdoing, and strongly believe in our products, the fight has drained our resources to the point where we can no longer continue operating."
In the US the system cost US$200, and its creators claim that over a million families have used it.
Your Baby Can Read has come under criticism however for the amount of time infants had to spend watching videos. CCFC estimated that following the instructions, a baby would have watched 200 hours of television by the time they were nine months old. Most child health experts, including the American Society of Paediatrics, recommend babies and toddlers watch no television at all.
An investigation by current affairs show Today in 2010 interviewed 10 child development experts who unanimously said Your Baby Can Read didn't work.
"They memorise what’s on those cue cards," said Dr Nonie Lesaux. "It’s not reading."
"It’s an extraordinary manipulation of facts,” said cognitive neuroscientist Dr Maryanne Wolf.
Nola Harvey, linguistics and child development lecturer at Auckland University told 3 News in January babies were simply "recognising words, and recognising words is just one of the many skills required for reading".
Childhood education expert Andrew Gibbons said the real value Your Baby Can Read had was getting parents to spend time with their children.
"I don’t think that parents need to buy this product to do that."
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26/03/2013 8:33:17 a.m.
I have a video of my baby reading using this system
11/10/2012 10:07:51 p.m.
This page turned up for me as the first google result for "your baby can read". We used this system with our son with such success it still amazes me everyday. He wasn't dropped in front of the TV to watch the DVDs, rather, he played with the TV running in the background and watched the content at his leisure. The system would have made up about a third to a half of us teaching him to read and provided a tool and a teaching method that we backed up with home-made flash cards. The result is that he can read hundreds of words and when shown a new word will make a good guess and say a known word that is close to it. He can be taught new words after being told only once. Other times like today for example he read the brand "Toops" on some product packaging and he's never been told that before so is definitely reading as we know it. They might start out as learning by purely memorising but quickly move on to actual reading. I say boo to those that are running these law suits - they'll be of malicious intent or from parents that expected the system to work with no interaction.
24/09/2012 10:04:18 a.m.
Your Baby Can Read Dose work. We use it in our vpk and preschool classrooms and they are so far advance in vocabulary, site words, and meeting the benchmarks standards and beyond. I feel that lobby groups have an agenda and it is never ever for the betterment of education or educating our children. They are always uneducated members that have never ever taught children but have the greatest amount of say so because they know an US Senator or local Rep in their States, therefore I wish we could start a fundraising campaign to raise money to fight these buracrates.
11/08/2012 2:46:20 a.m.
My child wasn't interested at first at 8 months but by 1.5 years old I get her to be interested again, we read the cards.. I don't even use the DVDS. By 2.5, she can read all the cards and gets excited as she recognized the words and syllables in the books and newspapers. Now at 4, she is already reading at the Grade 3 level and haven't even started JK. !!! I have to say this program does work. But the parents have to participate, its not enough to just let the kid watch the DVDS. Its works but it involves a lot of work and enthusiasm from the parents or caregivers part. Same thing with my 2.5, he wasn't interested when he was an infant, now he just starting to recognize the words in the cards. Remember too, that each child is different, you cannot force it. Its been proven...it does work..
I suggest people read the book 'Teach your baby how to Read' by Glen Doman its basically the same idea. You can borrow it from the library its an amazing book. This principle was used to teach brain damaged kids and autistic toddlers and kids oo learn how to read
26/07/2012 10:36:45 p.m.
Your Baby can read is a great programme. It is sad to hear what is happening to them. My child loves the programme and uses most of the words in her every day language. If the programme only taught children to memorize the words then how come she can use the word in the correct context within a range of different situations without any prompting. for e.g. when she sees a cow in a paddock she names it and then says moo, she also does this when she sees the written word 'cow.' Another example is we might show her a word like baby and then she might wrap her dolly up like a baby and give it to us and say baby(she loves it). The other day I showed her two different words: 'fish' and 'dog' and asked her which one of these animals live in water. She pointed to 'fish'. These are only three examples, I could name a host of others. There is no way she would know these things, or mimic the words in such ways if she did not know the meanings of the words. I don't see any benefit in separating the written word from a whole language experience.
Our child loves books - the first thing she usually says when she wakes up in the morning is 'books' and then she points to her book collection. What is wrong with helping our children develop their language, especially if they want to.
22/07/2012 10:39:08 p.m.
@Funny guy, I agree school age for formal instruction to teaching to read, however language is linked to literacy (language and talking teaches sentence structure, story lines such as beginning middle and end) so even talking to and reading to your child teaches literacy) incorporating maps (treasure maps, maps for a dressed up fireman...), signs, recipes, building plans (once they draw it they build it or visa versa...) and manuals (near carpentry table, like dad?) into their play to introduce the concepts of print is extremely valuable. They then know that is part of everyday life. Makes it easier to teach once in school.
20/07/2012 11:30:43 a.m.
I disagree with the text based cards, it is the child memorizing the word, it's like trying to study for a test. You read your workbook over and over so you pass, therefore you have "remembered" the workbook. However, 200 hours of TV for a BABY?! That is really bad for baby. My advice, wait until they start school like me.
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