Your baby can read! Can she? Or can’t she?

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May 14, 2013

in Early Learning, glenn doman, Literacy, preschool education, Raising children, Reading

I have talked about Glenn Doman and his book “How to teach your baby to read” quite a bit on this blog, but I haven’t yet talked about Dr Robert Titzer’s “Your Baby Can Read” DVDs. The problem is they are relatively controversial. His Infant Learning Company closed down after being sued by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood for using exaggerated and scientifically unproven claims. He maintains the program works, but he couldn’t afford the legal battles. The brand was acquired by a new company that still markets the DVDs. If this is all you know about the story, you may be sceptical about the product. Even if it does work, is it right to put a 6 month old baby in front of the TV for half an hour each day? It seems wrong (even though many adults have no problem having the TV on all day in their baby’s presence, but I am not one of them, in fact, we have no TV, and the only way my children could watch anything would be on the ipad or my laptop).


But what got me interested in the DVDs is that Your Baby Can Read has a large amount of followers. Just like with Glenn Doman, the “experts” cited in the media might cast doubt, but what if most parents who used the product rave about it? There are many inspiring success stories on the Brillkids forum, and you can also see these babies reading in a TV programme about YBCR:

Does YBCR work? Well, I don’t know, it sounds like it does to some extent and the question is if you are comfortable with the approach. My main worry is that you accelerate learning by the use of technology, but at the expense of creating a strong preference of technology over books, which could offset the benefit of learning to read early. I kept my older daughter away from any sort of technology completely until she was 2, then she was allowed to watch nursery rhymes on youtube and I must admit, since her little sister was born, we’ve been more permissive and she gets to watch cartoons once in a while. And what I have definitely noticed is that as soon as we introduced ipads and educational apps, her interest in books and bedtime stories has diminished massively. But I wouldn’t be the scientist I am and this wouldn’t be the Genius Experiment if I didn’t have the curiosity to find out! I have purchased the full 5 DVD YBCR set on ebay today and will see if it works with my second daughter. Stay tuned for results of the experiment!


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane September 4, 2013 at 3:15 PM

In my experience with my son it worked. I used the program as recommended and by two he was reading. I don’t get why everyone is so sensitive about the program. Bottom line is it works. If you don’t think it did why not just return the product and get your money back. Society is being dumb ed down and the sheep are following what the powers that be allow. Think for yourselves and turn off the normal tv and put on an educational dvd…your child will be better for it.

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Tamsyn June 2, 2013 at 7:27 AM

Cheers to your experiment! Remember that YBCR isn’t just a DVD program. There are books and cards, and they are important for YBCR’s success. I think the families that claimed it didn’t help ONLY watched the DVDs. They are very well done and engage the children, but I don’t think there is enough repetition in them for a child to learn to read by itself. It is in the reading cards and books that the children get the repetition that they need.
I love the first three DVDs the most, the 4th and 5th get a little long. I like reading sessions to be short and sweet, which is why we prefer Little Reader now. But YBCR is a solid supplement and we still really love it. I actually just bought the DVDs in Spanish for my older kids. They are more entertaining than Little Reader overall because there is a soundtrack and the transitions are more smooth because they were able to polish them in a way you can’t do with randomized content in a software program. My baby loves the word cards too. The books and pull out cards didn’t last long in my home, but the teaching cards are still a gold standard for a quick reading session.
I’m happy to see you’re building a little library. I have a hypothesis or your experiment: You’ll love YBCR. 🙂

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Genius Experiment June 2, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Tamsyn, thanks for your comment! Agree the flash cards are great. We play a little game similar to memory cards where you see all the written words and I ask “which one says ‘dog’ and she turns the one she thinks it is around and checks the picture, and we keep shuffling. She loves the nursery rhymes in YBCR, too, but overall I find the starter DVD a bit long and boring, I much prefer Monkisee and so does my daughter, with Little Reader and YBCR she gets bored quickly while she loves Monkisee. We keep mixing and matching!

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