Can Babies Learn to Read? Essay Example

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Sewanee University of the South
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There continues to be a debate on whether babies can learn to read. Most parents have held on to the notion of making their child read at a very early stage. The media, on the other hand, portrays babies who can read. A study on baby media by Neuman, Kaefer, Pinkham, & Strouse (2014) found that babies cannot learn to read using baby media. The authors contend that toddlers cannot learn how to read because they only mimic and imitate their parents. From a personal view, provided children are taught, they can learn how to read. Usually, their brain synapses are already developed, and they can perceive and hear things. Even so, Wasserman (2007) and Galotti (2016) have produced works that prove infants can learn to read. The paper provides arguments on the ability of toddlers to read. Babies can learn to read because it is developmentally appropriate.


Babies can learn to read because it is developmentally appropriate. Wasserman (2007) affirms that babies have a minute external hearing, but they usually take in everything that they hear and keep the information inside them. The author, owing to the works of Montanaro 2001, affirms that pre-language, a stage in language acquisition begins before birth and lasts until 10-12 months. The author infers that a babys brain is usually wired for language acquisition since birth. Notably, an increasing number of toddlers have the ability to read. Often, when their parents utter some words, they tend to repeat whatever they say. Galotti (2016) affirms that after birth, the babys ability to detect sounds is similar to that of adults. From a personal perspective, when the detection of sounds occurs, infants can manage to read some words according to how they perceive them. There is a close relationship between childrens word learning and syntactic acquisition (Galotti, 2016). In fact, baby education is mandatory to stimulate their brains. As Wasserman (2007) and Galotii (2016) surmise, the infants brain, which is already developed, can acquire language. The language acquisition would facilitate learning and babies can learn to read gradually.


In a trial study, Neuman, Kaefer, Pinkham, & Strouse (2014) found that babies cannot learn to read. Their argument is that parents who believed their child was learning interpreted mimicking and imitation as a word-learning indicator. Apparently, these authors underestimate the cognitive abilities of such children. Wasserman (2007) articulates that brain synapses store everything a child hears, feels, thinks, and touches through electrical transfer. The statement, which Neuman, Kaefer, Pinkham, & Strouse (2014) mention about babies mimicking and imitating their parents words instead of learning is wrong. When a child replicates their parents words, they are learning. By three months, most babies have developed cognitive skills, which allow them to mimic and imitate. From a personal belief, imitation and mimicry are a stepping-stone towards learning how to read. For instance, words like mama and baba are those, which toddlers here from time to time. On the actual sense, babies learn to narrow down the sounds they hear from their surroundings.


Based on their study, Neuman, Kaefer, Pinkham, & Strouse (2014) believe that babies cannot learn how to read using media. The first response to the objection is the notion of neurology. Wasserman (2007) provides an example of a girl in China who lived in an orphanage and was unable to communicate and interact with the rest. The adoptive parents of the girl took her to a doctor who affirmed that as an infant, the childs guardians did not talk to her in any language (Wasserman, 2007). As the author explains, the childs brain synapses failed to develop when they had that window of opportunity. The author affirms that children have to be stimulated after birth to create a chance for optimal learning. The author emphasizes on the element of critical learning during children development. For that reason, it is possible for children to learn how to read as long as they were stimulated with language at birth and interacted with stimuli, which would enable them to gain knowledge. It appears that reading is a way of learning. Even though Neuman, Kaefer, Pinkham, & Strouse (2014) believe in a babys inability to read, research shows that their brains develop at a faster rate to foster learning.


In summary, Babies can learn to read because it is developmentally appropriate. In fact, those who believe that young children are unable to know the meaning of words are making an error. Many videos on YouTube show how babies under twelve months who understand the meaning of words. It is believable that when parents begin to teach their children to read at a younger age, they will have a natural, joyful, and enjoyable experience of reading, as they grow older. The earlier a baby knows how to read, the better for them because teachers will not have to force them. Largely, reading is fascinating. Every educator would agree that the best time to teach a child to read is during his or her first years. Overall, babies can learn to read with proper guidance from their parents or other seniors.


Galotti, K. (2016). Ch. 6 Acquiring Language pps. 145-160.

Neuman, S. B., Kaefer, T., Pinkham, A., & Strouse, G. (2014). Can babies learn to read? A

randomized trial of baby media. Journal of Educational Psychology,106 (3), 815-830. doi:

Wasserman, L. H. (2007). The correlation between brain development, language acquisition, and

cognition. Early Childhood Education Journal, 34 (6), 415-418. doi:

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