Experts Agree! Really, Babies Don’t Need To Read

I received this caring mom’s comment in response to How To Help Your Baby Become A Math Genius (Or Not):

I am a mother of a 17 month old girl and I had her do the Baby Can Read program. I did this because I struggled with reading and vocabulary in school. My daughter has been successful with the program and can read better then my nieces and nephews who are 3 and 5 years old. I am not bragging because I watch my nieces and nephews during the day and want them to succeed as well. I only let my daughter watch the videos at the most twice a day (30 minutes) and no other TV. The rest of the day she is allowed to explore play and be a toddler. Now I have been teaching her more new words on a daily basis and has learned them after two or three times after seeing and hearing the word. I think she can read close to 200 words. I don’t see what can be wrong with this? My other nephew (who is 8 months older then my daughter) throws tantrums because he can’t communicate what he wants …my daughter who has been able to develop her speech at a faster rate does not throw fits because she is able to communicate to me what she needs. I am still struggling with the idea of parents being scolded for teaching their kids how to en they are able and ready to learn? Is there any information or studies to show how this is not beneficial? So far I have not seen it…if I do in the next few years I will let you know…

First of all, I sincerely apologize if you felt I was scolding you for teaching your baby to read.  It’s clear you care passionately for your daughter, and I understand and admire your desire to help her avoid the reading difficulties you experienced as a child.  It sounds to me like she would have good communication skills for her age regardless of her ability to recognize words in print because of your attentive care and the time you spend reading and talking to her.

My point is this: Babies need to build a good base for reading comprehension through natural interactions with parents and caregivers and real experiences in the world. They need to internalize words with all their senses, like your daughter does when you tell her about the warm water and yellow washcloth you bathe her with, or acknowledge the birds, big trucks, or helicopters she hears outside. These language lessons are not the isolated words heard in videos or images on flashcards. They are in context and have relevance to your baby’s life.  When we direct a baby — eager to explore his world — to words on a page, flashcard or TV screen we are misunderstanding brain development.

I don’t judge you (or any parent) for giving children early academic instruction. We all have good intentions. Parenting is a series of difficult choices, and we’re all choosing the best we can. I do assail supposed ‘experts’ — product manufacturers and marketers — for capitalizing on a parent’s worries, misleading us with false claims, misinformation, and fabricated ‘studies’ that support their pitches.

Yes, babies are ready and able to learn. That is one thing all the experts agree upon. The first years are a crucial period for brain development. Those who sell early learning products (that can run as much as $200) will tell you to take advantage of this precious time by using videos and flashcards to stuff babies with information (which they call ‘knowledge’), get them on a “fast track” by gaining precocious reading and math abilities before school even begins. However, other psychologists, neuropsychologists and educators warn that teaching babies to read is not only a waste of time and money, but can be detrimental to the higher level brain function a child needs to be a success in school, and even have emotional consequences.

So, to your question: where is this information that shows teaching babies to read is not beneficial? I didn’t have to dig deeply to find examples, even though these experts, researchers, and educators don’t have marketing campaigns, TV commercials or 800 numbers. Here are a few of their opinions:

Regarding the “earlier is better” myth… Early childhood educator Tonya Wright, in her insightful article “Teach Your Baby To Read???” (on the site: Literacy Connections – Promoting Literacy And A Love Of Reading), writes, “Really…what is the rush? Do we stand a four-month old up on his feet in an effort to make him “walk”? Because surely if he walks at 4 months old, he will be the best walker in his class by the time he gets to kindergarten! Why do we have to rush children? Why do the wonders of infancy have to be punctuated with flashcards and DVDs?”

Psychologist/neuropsychologist Marsha Lucas, Ph.D., explores the threat early instruction can be to healthy cognitive development and secure attachment in “Your Baby SHOULDN’T Read” . ”The brains of young children aren’t yet developed enough to read without it costing them in the organization and “wiring” of their brain. The areas involved in language and reading aren’t fully online — and aren’t connected — until age seven or eight. If we’re teaching children to do tasks which their brains are not yet developed to do via the “normal” (and most efficient) pathways, the brain will stumble upon other, less efficient ways to accomplish the tasks — which lays down wiring in some funky ways — and can lead to later learning disabilities, including visual-processing deficits.”

Educator, brain researcher, reading/learning specialist Jane Healy, Ph.D., explains in her book Your Child’s Growing Mind, “Yes, even babies can be trained to recognize words. Babies, however, cannot read, tapping into a vast personal storehouse of language knowledge that takes years to build. Most preschoolers, likewise, can be trained through a stimulus-response type of teaching. The human brain can be trained to do almost anything, if the task is simplified enough and one is willing to devote the necessary time and energy. Yet the brain power – and possibly the neural connections – are stolen from the foundation of real intelligence. Reading becomes a low-level skill, and there is a danger that it will remain at the level where it was learned and practiced.

I believe that formally teaching reading to preschoolers is a serious intrusion on natural mental growth. Only a few, who spontaneously, motivated by their own curiosity, teach themselves to read because they want to find out the meaning, are true early readers. Pushing others to call out words is a grossly oversimplified version of a complex intellectual feat.  If we get children to “read” words before they have ideas, thought and language to make reading interesting, we hand them a key to the door of an unfinished garden.”

In Your Self-Confident Baby, infant expert Magda Gerber implores, “Does it ever come up later in one’s life whether a person learned to read at four, five, or six?  Learning academic skills should be saved for school-age children. Before that, let your child learn and follow his own rhythm. If you push, he loses his appetite for learning. And it’s that appetite that makes him interested and want to learn.”

I don’t believe you hindered your daughter by teaching her to read. But I do feel protective (maybe overly so) of those first years of a child’s life.  I know how hard it is not to project, to worry about every aspect of our baby’s development, rather than accept what our babies choose to do — and do naturally — as enough.  My hope for all of us is to find a way to slow down and enjoy the present, relax, trust nature, our children and ourselves.

For more about natural learning, please read the articles and books linked to (above), my other posts on this subject: “Your Baby Can Read” Costs Too Much and Baby Einstein Is No Genius, and my book, Elevating Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting 

(Photo by antisocialtory, on Flickr.)


Please share your comments and questions. I read them all and respond to as many as time will allow.

  1. When ours were young I was kindly told ‘there is no prize for the youngest child to be potty trained’.

    “Parenting is a series of difficult choices, and we’re all choosing the best we can.”

    I also criticize hawkers of bad product to vulnerable parents.

    1. Oh my goodness, I love that quote! I may have to start using it. 🙂

  2. Janet, Thanks for the great article and the mention. I understand a parent’s desire to teach their baby to read. After all, early literacy is a big deal, isn’t it? But I think we have to help parents to see that early literacy is different than teaching your baby to “read.” Thanks for keeping this important issue in the forefront!

    1. I loved your article and hope everyone who sees this will take the time to read it, especially your suggestions for encouraging early literacy! Yes, reading is a big deal for us, and yet another thing for parents to worry about “making happen”. But if we prepare the soil with lots of language modeling and reading to our children, we can trust them to blossom in their time. I have experienced this myself with 3 very different children. It works!

      1. Worry, worry, worry. That is what we parents do. :p

        My child has taught herself to read at 3. This is about the least hippy/AP/RIE thing that could have happened. I find myself apologising for it, all the time. Critics tell me she didn’t entirely ‘teach herself’. We have lots of books at home, we read to her and when she showed an interest we bought her ‘early reader’ books. This was supported ‘self-learning’, I admit. We never pushed. There were no flash cards or videos. We never set up times for her to read or anything like that…

        And still, I find myself worrying that I unwittingly ‘taught’ her to read. That she is using the wrong pathways in her brain to read – that she has memorised the words, by rote, rather than really getting phonetics (which I think is true – she has memorised them) and yet, it seems to me to be nearly 100% self-driven. She reads road signs, ads in shop windows, anything she can see.

        So it is that I can’t really talk about this though, it always comes off as a ‘humble brag’. I AM proud of my daughter. I think it is awesome that she can read… but occasionally, just occasionally, I read this stuff and find myself doubting all over again whether I should have done the Steiner thing and somehow kept her away from books and actively discouraged her from engaging with the written word so early.

        Thanks for the safe space to process this. Cheers,

        1. The first basic principle of the RIE approach is TRUST in our children’s natural development and self-direction (as I think you know). THAT is exactly what you are doing, Gauri. You have trusted your daughter by allowing her to self-direct her learning and words are one of the things she has chosen to focus on. She knows what she’s doing! I would only be proud. I’d be just as proud as if she demonstrated athletic ability, or a social skills, or creativity, a warm sense of humor, an exceptional talent for making mud pies, etc.

          I imagine your daughter’s precocious learning abilities were developed during the long periods of self-directed play she has always enjoyed. I remember you sharing how you’ve fostered her independent play. Through this kind of play, children learn how to learn. They develop focus, attention span, persistence and problem-solving skills…all of which have helped your daughter learn to read, along with all the other important things she has learned and continues to learn. Reading to your daughter has been a huge factor as well. I imagine you have always made this a pleasant experience, rather than a tense one (which parents sometimes do when they have “agendas” around reading).

          Gauri, I would be nothing but proud and excited for your daughter! Encourage this interest, and continue to trust her to lead the way… There will be many more happy surprises to come…

        2. My grandson who has been reading since he was just over two and it sounds like exactly what you are saying he also reads every word he see, road signs, anything in a store, grocerie labels, everything. There isn’t a word he can’t figure out and never ask how to say it. He just says exactly what he is reading and also comprehends anything he reads. What do you do? Like you stated take every book away. He also excels in many areas. His Dra. Calls him a Genis but my daughter and myself find it hard to talk to people about him for fear they think we are bragging . I feel some children just learn at a much faster pace than others. Is it really any different than the ones that have trouble learning?

  3. I remember learning to read at the age of 3. Nobody pushed me, I just knew that reading had to be the best thing ever, and I pestered my 7 year old sister to help me figure it out.

    I’m only saying this to provide context for the next bit: When I was 10 years old, my 8 year old sister still didn’t really read. I was very, very worried about her. I was worried that she would never be able to enjoy fiction and non-fiction, and that she would struggle in school, and that she’d be dumb.

    Well, I needn’t have worried. Suddenly (she must have been 8 or 9) she decided she needed to know how, picked it up in the space of a couple of months, and has since devoured many, many books of her own volition.

    She’s smart as a whip, has an MBA, is fluent in three languages, and at 30 years old is the coolest lady you’ll ever know.

    I just wanted to share these (completely unscientific) anecdotes because they both seem to support the idea that self-motivated learning isn’t about early or late.

    1. Olivia, great to hear from you! I’ve observed a range of reading readiness almost as wide as yours and your sister’s within my own family. Thanks for sharing your anecdotes.

    2. Thanks for sharing! I really like what you said, “Self-motivated learning isn’t about early or late.”

  4. Wow. I have been looking for an article like this. Very well researched! It seems the only info out there is the info. that is paid for my the makers of these products. As a reading specialist (turned SAHM), all the moms in playgroups hound me about YBCR. At first, I would tell them, I wouldn’t spend the $ but if they wanted to, it probably wouldn’t hurt. Then I started really thinking about some of the problems it could cause, for instance, creating a child who CAN read but doesn’t enjoy it, creating a child who can only decode or even setting up problems with how the child looks at text (I mean really, can we tell where the baby’s eyes are looking when they are “Reading” words that pop up on screen.) Anyway, thanks for your amazing article. I am going to pass it along to every one of my friends!!

    1. Really a good point Jackie, parents are exposed to reams of marketing by makers of so-called educational products for babies and preschoolers. The voices of reason are quiet and have no PR campaigns.

      What we also need to realize is that reading requires the kind of brain maturation that arises from physical activity and bodily sensation. Building complex neurological pathways and kinesthetic awareness doesn’t come from screens or pages, it comes from exactly what little kids are motivated to do—-climbing, jumping, snuggling, drawing, singing, and so on.

      Here’s more about how movement is essential for reading readiness:

  5. Thanks for this timely topic. My opthamologist, actually told me that a child’s eyes aren’t developmentally ready to ‘read’ until around age 6 or so. That by forcing a child to read from left to right can have some detrimental consequences later on in life. I didn’t ask for further research on this.
    I suspect that it is not ‘reading’ that is going on, but imitation with children this young anyway. My two year old can ‘read’ back to me the “Brown Bear” book, and I know that she is not reading, their brains just work that way. They soak EVERYTHING in their environment in, and if they see a few symbols a few times put together in a certain way, with a sound attached to them – voila! So these programs are nonsense, in my opinion. Reading is decoding. My 8 year old is learning to read just now, she is in 2nd grade. I’m so glad we waited. I haven’t had to deal with her asking me when she was 4 “mommy, what does ‘killing’ mean, when looking at a newspaper headline”. I wasn’t ready to have those conversations with her. I don’t know who is….

    1. Monika, interesting what the opthamologist said. I haven’t heard that one. And, yes, I agree that young children absorb everything in their environment. Directing infants and toddlers to what we decide they should be working on seems like an intrusion to me.

      1. There’s a correlation between the rising rates of nearsightedness with the deprivation of light to the eyes because of increasing time spent inside.

        In another study, they hypotisize that melatonin played a key role in eye development as well.

  6. Two more points that seems to get lost when speaking about literacy. We know that the two most important precursors to reading comprehension, not just reading by sight, are 1) a rich vocabulary, and 2) a rich imaginative life.
    Telling children stories, lots of them, and allowing them the freedom to play by themselves and others (something that is dwindling in preschools, and being replaced by academic instruction) both build this. It is not uncommon to find these days, children who have learned how to read at a young age, but who cannot hold the images of what they are reading in their minds eye – their imaginative capacities are poor. The way to build that is not through media. It is through having them listen to stories, where the images are not fed to them and where they have to imagine in their mind’s eye. This is how we build ‘brilliance’. Imaginative capacities allow us, later in life, to think outside of the box, to ‘imagine’ something else that can do to solve, both personal and societal problems.
    Lastly, I am continually curious why countries where academic instruction, including reading is not introduced until 1st grade, are ranked in the top ten in education, and in the US where we live with such a fear about reading, and keep trying to teach it younger and younger ages, keeps dropping…last report I saw I think we were ranked #34. Perhaps, the myth of “the earlier the better” is just that….a myth that began in the 50s when Russia was the first to enter space, and we looked at ourselves and wondered how can, we as a country, not be left behind and began making some (faulty) assumptions about learning and education.

  7. Miven Trageser says:

    It’s very interesting to me that as mothers we have so much self-blame already built in that we tend to experience most inquiry as something like scolding or criticism. I have been on both sides of this experience too. Both of you are right–the Baby Can Read mom feeling that she’s being told she’s doing something wrong, and Janet wanting to open a conversation, to explore more deeply why we do the things we do.

    1. Miven, excellent point. I agree. Many of us are extremely sensitive about our parenting choices because the job is so important. I’ve been on both sides as well.

  8. Once again, I was thrilled to read this article today. We were asked by a kind friend if we would like to borrow her My Baby Can Read program when my daughter was 3 months old. This began my research into TV/media and helped me stumble upon your blog when my daughter was 6 months. I am so thankful that I didn’t ‘buy into’ pressuring my child into academic ‘success’ at such an early age. We didn’t use any reading programs– just good old fashioned reading & storytelling (and LOTS of singing) and our daughter is thriving w/ speech and interest in language. We are working to build upon her life experiences through the use of all her senses. I’m sure she’ll decide to read when she is ready! Thanks again, for the reminder to trust our children and ENJOY them without rushing them through life.

  9. Liz Memel says:

    From the vantage point of Magda Gerber, her always potent questions lead wondering parents into new turf to consider the ramifications of their choices. I believe her guidance for this question of early teaching would be the following: What would the baby be doing/learning during the time you decided what she should learn? “Who knows best how to be a baby?” “All babies are motivated from within.” She equated such stimulation with interruption. “Let babies be babies.”

  10. Excellent response! I’m including this in my weekend reads tomorrow! Thanks for all the links to the literature!

  11. I’ve been reading a little on the Montessori approach to writing and reading. They believe most children are ready between the ages of 3 and 6. Their approach is very holistic, factoring in several skills a child must develop before they can truly begin reading and writing (interestingly, these skills don’t appear to be academic at first glance, like learning to control one’s physical impulses). It makes a lot of sense, though…if a parent is eager to get their child reading, it’s probably worth looking into. At the very least it will show the parent that their is no short-cut to this life-long skill, but many children can learn before they hit kindergarten (if they are interested, anyway, it’s all very child-led).

    1. Interesting, Lisa. I didn’t realize Montessori believed children should be guided to reading and writing so early. My personal hope is that parents would not be “eager to get their child reading”, or eager to get their child to do anything, especially academics. I think this precious, brief window of time before kindergarten should be spent playing, socializing, learning about oneself, being joyfully inner-directed.

      1. Yes, but the skills required for learning to read and write can be done through play. Like playing a game of red light/green light. Or telling a story. Or looking at a picture book.

        I feel that part of childhood is learning about the world around them. Reading is part of that world. Reading stories to children is the most effective way of developing a love of reading in a child. Reading to a child is the beginning of teaching them how to read. You wouldn’t save that until they are five or six, would you? People misunderstand that learning, even academic learning, can be fun and natural. You can incorporate it early and they won’t even know you are trying to teach them something. They will just think they are playing.

        I introduced letters to my son when he was 18 months old, and he was so fascinated by them that he quickly learned the whole alphabet. I didn’t even really “teach” him the letters, I just pointed them out. He sees them everywhere, of course, and excitedly tells me what letters he sees. I feel it is enriching to understand more of one’s world.

        I’m not too eager to get my child to learn anything in particular…but I do like making certain things visible to him so he is free to learn them if he wants. I see nothing wrong with making things available to children to learn, regardless if they are “academic” or otherwise. I just see them as things that are a part of their world, and it makes sense to introduce them when they seem interested and ready.

        1. I could not agree more with your comments. The key, I think, is curiosity. Play is in the realm of curiosity. I believe that boring reading programs hurt literacy. We take our kids to the library often. The feeling of discovery and curiosity beats toy store visits any day. And it doesn’t cost us anything but gas for the car.

          1. @Lisa, I absolutely agree that reading to our children, telling them stories, taking them to libraries, exposing them to a literature rich environment is a hugely important for literacy — and so do all of the experts I have quoted above. I also believe in trusting development, and not pushing or nudging in the early years, even if it is in the guise of “play”.

            @Martin, I agree that curiosity is the key…and that means being child-led, allowing our infants, toddlers and preschoolers to show us what interests them, what they are curious about. At the library, that might mean exploring the way the drinking fountain works rather than looking at the book that we think they will like. At home that might mean collecting stones in the garden, or going up and down the same steps dozens of times rather than playing a letter or number game with us.

            It is up to us to expose our children to interesting, challenging, age-appropriate learning environments (and for babies, less is usually more), but then I believe we can trust an infant or toddler to show us what he is working on, and allow him to learn rather than be taught. Babies need lots of time to learn how to think, and practice the kind of self-motivated learning they do naturally. Play is enough.

            Babies are very smart and sensitive. They want to please us. They also sense our agendas a mile away, no matter how subtle we are.

        2. Lisa,

          I totally agree with your sentiments. I’m all for exposing my daughter to things she might find interesting, which happens to include YBCR. She does find the videos somewhat engaging, although I suspect it’s because there are people talking and babies laughing.

          Also, she likes to chew on the flashcards and picture books. Apparently they also have a sensory learning function!

      2. The Montessori method was designed by observing thousands of children and determining what they were interested in and what they could do. Montessorians don’t tell children to read or write, we offer them the tools and show them what to do with them, and then let them use or not use them as they are interested. They spontaneously master the skills, and if you ask,who taught you? They look at you like you’re crazy and say, “no one. I taught myself.” In the very first classrooms Montessori and the others observed that children would spontaneously have an explosion into writing at around age 4 and a similar explosion into reading about 6 months later. However, they were given a very rich environment to explore beforehand and given the freedom to develop the necessary skills. They were always offered concrete materials to work with. I have observed in many schools and the children are *happy* to learn in this way.

      3. Bernardette says:

        It’s my understanding that Montessori introduces phonics around 3 and there is long leisurely path to reading which usually begins around 6, based on the child’s interest.

  12. I really enjoyed reading this post and all the comments above. The information provided is really relevant for me as a mother and educator. I just wanted to share one more point, which is about competition. Why do we need our children to learn earlier and better? Do we really want to prepare them for a world where individualism and competition are the only “skills” leading a child to a suceessful adult life? Or do we dare to dream of a humane and environmentally friendly humanity, where love and self-satisfaction are the real treasures that can make a difference for a better, happier and succcessful life? I´m convinced a free, beloved baby, to whom parents talk and play with, gets the gift of respect, self-confidence and love. Tell me, are these not the most valuable gifts we can give our child? And best of all, no marketing can be involved here: it´s for free!
    Not being English my mothertongue, I request you to feel free to edit my comment in case I made any mistake. Thanks again!

  13. I don’t push or nudge my child anywhere. I simply introduce experiences into his life. It’s completely up to him whether or not he’s going to do something with it.

    I brought him to a dance class to see if he’d enjoy it, but didn’t require him to participate. I allow him into the kitchen so he can watch me cook, but I never “make” him do anything. It sounds like you are saying that by bringing these experiences into his life, that I am pushing or nudging him. I just don’t differentiate between academic and non-academic activities. To me they are all a part of life, all enriching. I don’t think we need to feel pressured to introduce anything early, and I also don’t believe we have to save things for later. I just believe in introducing things when it feels natural to do so.

    1. Lisa, I totally agree with you. I’m sorry if I misunderstood what you meant by, “You can incorporate it early and they won’t even know you are trying to teach them something. They will just think they are playing.” I want to relieve parents of any pressure to teach academics, period, and encourage trusting a child’s inner-directed process.

      1. Thanks. I know I went off an a tangent a bit there. You are right, there shouldn’t be pressure to teach academics early. I just don’t like the idea of purposely saving them for later, either. I just believe in following the child’s lead, and offering experiences.

        1. I think you are wise…and an obviously wonderful mom.

  14. Common Sense says:

    You guys have really taken this “new-generation-parenting thing” to a ludicrous level. Self-learning? What? If that was the case, then why are you still around? If they wanna motivate themselves to do things, why do you even have a job as a parent?
    I’m disgusted at the fact that you people are willing to tear down the parenting of others and to insult programs that are purely meant to help infants RECOGNIZE words because you’re obsessed with “alternative parenting”. You wanna talk about brainwash, you people are the epitome of brainwash. Reading BEGINS as recognition. You quote these psychologists and pediatricians, but their claims are only based off of what they’ve read in books or learned in school.
    Clearly, the mother who wrote you had full confidence in her product, and you have no right to belittle her willingness to help her child learn.
    Parents can raise however they want. They’re trying to do the best they can for their kids, even if it involves teaching reading at an early age. You people can take your new age crap and shove it up your stay-at-home asses.

    1. The opinions of psychologists and pediatricians are based on scientific research and observation. When you actually work with children and pay attention to them, you learn quickly that children learn by doing, not by watching alone. And just because children can recognize a word doesn’t mean that they have the experience to give the symbol meaning.
      Janet writes this post, and every other one, from an RIE perspective and readers of this page should expect her to do so, since it is an RIE page. I don’t always agree with everything she writes (though I do agree with the vast majority), but I know that it is coming from a place of wanting to help parents and not to tear them down. I’ve been reading this page for at least a year now and I’ve never read anything that wasn’t encouraging and RIE-based.
      Finally, I’d like to ask you to please keep your language polite when disagreeing with people, especially on their own blogs. It’s rude to swear at people anytime, but a blog is the internet-equivalent of a home and to swear at someone in their home for daring to disagree with you is beyond rude.

  15. Wow. Angry man. “New Age crap”? Nothing New Age about Magda Gerber. Old school, in fact. Very. Old. School. She and Pikler gained their knowledge and insights through observing thousands of infants. Thousands. 50-60 years ago.

    Word recognition is great when it evolves naturally. But ‘teaching’ it? In MY opinion (and I am not speaking for RIE or RIE parents), it can be something of a parlor trick. Seriously, chimpanzees can be taught to recognize hundreds of words and communicate through them. Very impressive…

    We agree that every parent is doing the best they can. Again, in MY opinion, the best parents open their minds to others and aren’t personally offended by clearly defined philosophies which don’t line up with their own.

    Be well, and read on!

  16. Oh dear, how sad that this person needed to insult others to put across a contrary point of view. Perhaps he was pushed too hard by his parents and didn’t have his emotional and developmental needs attended to. (splutter)

    There is a very interesting book by Mem Fox, of ‘Possum Magic’ fame, called ‘Reading Magic’. It addresses teaching children to read before they go to school. It’s a long time since I read it, but I do remember that she emphasised the importance of spending quality time sharing a love of books with your children and creating games based on what was in each storybook, like ‘find the letter’. I thought it was an eminently sensible, non-pushy approach for those who have anxieties about their child ‘keeping up’ in school.

    Reading to your children and interacting over a book can start at a very early age, and is far, far preferable to sitting a baby in front of a screen- which has been shown to cause problems for children under 2 years of age.

  17. Totally agree Aunt Annie – read to your baby! Cuddled up at bedtime.
    My three children all learnt to read at school. Each in their own time. I have two who love to read and one who’d rather play sports, so i read to her at bedtime even though she’s ten so that she develops a love of books.
    I think one of the best ways our children learn that reading is fantastic is by seeing how much their mums and dads love reading too.

    1. Aunt Annie and Tracy, thank you…I totally agree with both of you!

  18. Elanne Kresser says:

    My God daughter’s parents followed a RIEish philosophy (without knowing about RIE) all through her life. They home schooled and waited for her to learn to read on her own. The late great educator John Holt advocated this approach to reading teaching us that children can learn to read the same way they learn to walk and talk — by being surrounded by reading and giving them the time and space to determine when they are ready both intellectually and emotionally.

    She taught herself to read when she was 10 years old. Within a couple of years she was reading adult literature. Throughout her teens she has been an avid reader and a self-motivated learner. Now she’s a sensible, grounded, thoughtful 18 year old traveling in Europe before she settles into college.

    We forget or don’t realize that all intellectual skills, in order to be integrated, need to be part of an emotional, social, kinesthetic matrix that makes them have meaning.

  19. Reading in children is a subject I am so passionate about. There is some wonderful research in the UK that shows academic success later in schooling can be predicted at the age of 5 on 2 or 3 indicators, the most important being how often a child is read out loud to by their parents and it doesn’t actually seem to matter too much what they read….menus in restaurants, posters at the bus stop, books, etc. Etc. It is the act of the parent reading and demonstrating a love of reading which is far more important than a child’s reading age. Interestestingly it has also been found that one of the other main indicators is the sheer number of books in the house, with households that have over 500 books having the most academically successful children. So there is no evidence, as Janet says, that teaching your child to recognise words (they aren’t reading as they arebt decoding the word) will benefit them in the long run and the best thing you can do is read and instill a love of books in your children. See The Sutton Trust website for lots of work in this area.

  20. I am so happy that you said in the post, ” a few, who spontaneously, motivated by their own curiosity, teach themselves to read because they want to find out the meaning, are true early readers.” I taught myself to read at 4. My parents read to me constantly, as did my nanny, to foster a love of books in me, but they never pushed me or forced me. They just read to me all the time, and soon enough I taught myself how to read. Was that wrong?

    1. Definitely NOT! Two of my three children read just after they turned 4. They had loved books since they were babies. I saw it coming, but made sure I wasn’t urging them on. I wanted it to be totally their accomplishment, intrinsically motivated.

  21. We had decided not to “teach” our son anything, but to follow his lead on things he was interested in. He has shown a HUGE interest in letters and what they say. He will point to print and want to know what it says. He loves having us read the newspaper, magazines, books, packages of food, anything to him. His name is on wooden blocks in his room. He loves for us to say the letters and sounds the letters make. He can now do this himself, at almost 3. Just recently he has found the magnet letters I had in the kitchen cabinet. He takes them out and puts them on the fridge or dishwasher. If he knows the sound he’ll say it, or if he doesn’t he’ll ask me. All of this was completely on his own… and to me, that makes it AMAZING! : )

    1. Amazing, and a sign that this is a true intrerest of his, an area of talent for him, perhaps. Congratulations on following his lead, trusting him and letting his process be “enough”. Well done, Deb!

  22. Well, Janet, you might know what I’m going to say. Whether we are talking about reading, math, science, basketball, or chess playing — what I see is nourishing and nurturing a deep sense of self through compassionate parenting. And then when they are in school, compassionate “teaching.” I’ve seen, too, how “rushing” in any form creates stress. And when there is stress – in the body, in the brain – we don’t learn. We don’t absorb what we are being ‘taught.’ I think you are right on. This article speaks to be mindful and compassionate. Such a parent is always observing, watching, noticing and is able to respond to what he/she sees. Blessings, Lisa McCrohan

  23. Things have become so ridiculous I’m all for banning books for children under three!!

  24. Laurence P says:

    What I find interesting (besides your arguments) is the fact that we are so upset when we think our children are going to have the same difficulties we had.
    This mother had trouble to learn how to read so even though she is so keen on free exploration and play, she tried to cope with the problem SHE had.
    I have some hard time with my son right now. He hits himself when he gets frustrated, even bangs his head on walls and floor. I was really distressed about that, and still am. But it improved when I talked about it, and realized that what moved me the most was when he did it because he failed to accomplished something, or when we tell him even really nicely that he did something he shouldn’t have. I’m like that : really hard on myself and sooo SAD when I feel I’ve been making a mistake (and even more if someone saw it). So I understand only too well how he feels. And even though I told myself it was only a phase. It was I who couldn’t move on. When I realized that, I calmed down, I realized he wasn’t really hurting himself. I tried to talk to him, to prevent him from doing it but in a less emotional way. And I have the impression he is doing it less…
    I find it so human to want to prevent our children to have the same problem we had. And we tend to forget that these are OUR problems, and that sometimes we might just make things worse.
    I know you know that, and that you said nothing else in your article. But, as I do with my son, I read it from my actual piont of view and difficulties 😉

  25. Loved this… it echoes all I believe as both an early childhood educator and a parent.

  26. I loved this and totally agree but also am confused as I work as a Montessori teacher in an environment where children often learn to read at a young age. Since the process is child led would you say it would be detrimental to their development? (since they’re not really taught rather just guided?)

    1. Hi Blydie! I would need to hear more about how the children are “guided”…

    2. Hi Blydie.
      I also have worked in a Montessori environment for a while and have found this discussion very interesting. When a Montessori classroom truly operates in a manner that follows the child, when the educators are truly able to remove their own personal agendas and ideas about education from the equation, I see no problem with children reading early on. However, I think there is a huge risk in these classrooms of pushing materials on children before they would be naturally inclined to learn on their own.
      So when working with these children, just be sure to step back and make sure they are truly interested. As guides, we are there merely to support the child in whichever direction HE chooses to go.

  27. another perfectly timed article. the other 3 year olds on my block are learning to write their ABC’s (upper and lower case!!!), and Sisi just learned how to make a circle. a mighty beautiful circle 🙂 it’s so tempting to want to play catch up with the other parents, but i know in my heart that Sisi is learning so much about the world everyday on her own. i love what you said about an “appetite for learning” being the most important thing. i am searching hard to find a pre-school that won’t squash that appetite. it’s been tough!

  28. I find this debate interesting, as I was a very early reader and am now watching my nieces (ages 2 and 4) absolutely loving books. I was very much a child who taught myself to read. My mother was a primary school teacher and had a horror of being a ‘pushy teacher mother’ so was determined not to push us as pre-schoolers. She said though that I started myself from about two, recognising letters and words, and using them appropriately (NOT just memorising as she said I would put them into sentences that were quite different from the way I heard them, and were in context). Eventually she said she ‘gave in’ and brought home some early reader books as she said I was clearly getting very frustrated – as soon as I had books I could read for myself (rather than being read to me, although she still did that every day too) I was calmer and happier, and stopped throwing wobblies. I always was a bit of a control freak – wanted to do it myself, thank you very much, and that included reading! I think though, it was the fact we were surrounded by books growing up – just books everywhere, and everyone in the family and extended family read. From about age 6-7 I read walking along the street, as otherwise I got bored – and continued to do so almost into my 30s, when audio books were more accessible. People used to tell my mother they had seen me, and how did I not run into things? (peripheral vision is better than people think – I never once hurt myself!)She just nodded and laughed. Although I went on to specialise in sciences I retained English as my best subject, did a great deal of public speaking, debating and the like; and while I have since become a doctor I specialise in psychiatry – the one area of medicine where despite advances in medical technologies, good communication skills are still the basis of being effective. I see my brother and sister in law doing the same with my nieces – simply reading to them, and surrounding them with books (and have to confess that books make a part of every present they get from their doting Aunty – along with other things!)Their father also makes up stories for them most nights, where they are a part of the story – so they don’t even have the written words to refer to or ‘recognise’, but can still often join in with the story. Neither child has been directed as such, and they have very different personalities and ways of playing – but both have been very verbal from very young, and learned the meanings of words and how to use them to communicate their needs and wants – again, no mimicking monkeys these two, it is entirely clear when they re-use the words completely in context. The younger has of course copied the younger, as children will; but it is equally clear that she is learning on her own, and about the things that interest her, when she comes out with quite different topics and questions to those of her elder sister. My mother is now retired, but nannies her granddaughters once a week, and has found the same thing with them that she did with me: she was determined to let them just play and enjoy being children, but has ended up almost nagged into teaching at times due to not only endless questions but a few tantrums when one or other of the girls wanted to know and do more than was available. They’re very lucky – we live in a harbour city, with a river valley coming off it; my mother lives near mountains and vineyards; the planetarium, botanic gardens (favourite of both girls from before they could even toddle), zoo, bird sanctuary, arboretum, national museum (incredibly interactive and one of the first choices if you ask where they want to go since they could voice an opinion!), several libraries, a multitude of parks – all are within a walk or brief car ride of home, so they have a wealth of experiences when they want them. And ‘home days’ not infrequently requested of Mummy or Nana too – where books, dress-ups and Lego/blocks tend to feature most heavily! I have been reading these pages with interest, and while I am not a parent I try and practice those of your principles I can when I am with the girls. So yes – they will both be reading before they go to school,and their vocabularies are extensive for their age – but it was not ‘force fed’ to them and they are very clearly not just memorising and mimicking their elders. I feel then that for these two at least, they have taken a huge interest in words and their meanings from very young, and clearly their brains were in fact sufficiently developed for that understanding. They continue to astound me every time I see them by what new things they have discovered and what they come out with, unprompted and entirely naturally. Would they have had the same interest were they not exposed to books so early? Impossible to tell – but they were left to choose for themselves. I think there is a difference between ‘teaching’ a child to read as a pre-schooler (as so many commnets above have decried) and giving them the access and exposure to books to use as they wish (although the one thing they were ‘taught’ is that books are not to be torn or damaged – if you want to use books you must be gentle) and letting them discover the world of words when they are ready. The important thing is that they have the chance to follow where their interests take them – whether that be reading or climbing trees, digging holes or building castles – just expose them to the opportunities then let them decide.

  29. This is a bit of a tangent, but I found the research presented in this Ted Talk to be really interesting (

    In their study, 6-8 month old American babies exposed to Mandarin in twelve sessions with a native speaker gained the same amount of familiarity with that language as babies of the same age whose families spoke Mandarin. American babies who had the same amount of exposure but via someone on a screen or just via audio did not learn anything – they gained no familiarity with the new language whatsoever.

    I find it incredibly fascinating that putting your child in front of a screen, in this situation, had absolutely no benefit. The researcher even said that it required a human being in order for the baby to pick up any of the new language.

    Warning: Video contains non-RIE sanctioned elements including baby talk and babies strapped into reclining seats. Some readers of this blog may find this disturbing 😉

  30. Yes, I use baby reading products with my kids. Yes, they absolutely work. No, I’m not forcing them- the absolutely love the products. How is exploring literacy any different from exploring new foods? Why are people so eager to shun the practice? If you haven’t tried it, don’t belittle it. That’s what these experts are doing. Am I eager for my kids to read? Absolutely. As a parent, it is my RESPONSIBILITY to see that they do. Whether they learn at 1, 6, or 10, it is the parent’s job to see that their kids get an education. If they fail to learn, the parents only have themselves to blame. And guess what? A child who reads at 2 will never struggle to read at 7, barring some horrible accident. Guaranteed. Just food for thought. Think for yourselves, look around at the babies who are reading, and ask yourselves if these so-called-experts, like the makers of baby products, don’t have their own agenda to push. Seriously, look at the babies who are reading. They’re happy, well-adjusted kids. And they comprehend what they read, and they love it. Technology makes this gift of reading easier than ever to bestow. Don’t be so eager to throw that opportunity away just because some expert has their reputation on the line. Not teaching little kids to read is the easiest path to take, the one most people take, but that doesn’t make it the best path.

  31. I’m a previous PreK teacher. It seems like a microwave way of being taught. But it’s not complex learning, it’s just images being memorized. It’s being only concerned with the product not the process. It’s a ploy to simplify the education of our new youth!

  32. I love hearing the many perspectives and anecdotal stories about early literacy. I have felt for some time very uncomfortable with the idea of teaching my 3 year old daughter to read – my views on education seem to be leaning more toward a grown-up RIE/John Holt blend.

    I’ve seen several different sources mentioned here that recognize the years 6-8 as being an appropriate time to start teaching literacy, if it’s to be taught at all. My trouble is that my mother-in-law is a reading specialist who works with K-2 students, and she is so excited to teach my daughter to read. She asks her to sound out letters when they do our alphabet train floor puzzle, has her repeat words back to her when reading, and follow her finger along the page. She asked me if she could draw lower cases letters on a Noah’s Ark puzzle that we have since they are easier to recognize for early readers than upper case ones. She is passionate about her work with kids and I don’t want to insult her profession, but I also really don’t want her to teach my daughter to read.

    They currently spend 2-3 hours alone together each week, so the one-on-one time is somewhat significant. Since this debate centers primarily on teaching babies, I wonder if anyone could offer articles, resources, or ideas addressing delaying any formal reading instruction for slightly older children (3-7 or so) that I could share with my MIL without offending her. She respects my parenting style, but I find this to be a difficult topic to bridge. Thank you!

    1. Maybe you could talk to her about your desire to teach your daughter yourself and say that you would really appreciate her reading your daughter stories … but that you would really like to have that special time with your daughter to teach her. Maybe discuss this with your partner and see if he can talk to his mum. Just a thought.

  33. My daughter is 4 months shy of turning three. She knew her letters and letter sounds by 2. We have not pushed her AT ALL. She asks, we answer. She is the one that is persistent. I am not bragging, this is just fact. I know we have a special case on our hands, but I just wanted to let others know that yes, this DOES happen, and no, it’s not at the parents’ urging (in our case anyway). She is currently reading phonics-type learning books that she picked out from the library herself. She’s intrinsically motivated. I am tired of being made out as a bad parent because she is advanced. I know that wasn’t what your article was about Janet, and I did enjoy reading it, but I had to get that off my chest

  34. What a fantastic article. I’ve been so irritated by the whole subject of babies and toddlers being pushed to read for so long. All my instincts have said for years that they are simply not ready emotionally or developmentally.

    Our little people need to feel language, see it, touch it, sense it, not confine it. That is why baby books are full of pictures.

    You’ve put this together beautifully, thank you for this.

  35. A child who reads early may nor struggle with reading later but they may struggle with spelling and writing. My early reader learned what words looked like and never learned what letters were for. In fourth grade her reading level was 12+ and spelling was 1, at best.

  36. When my daughter was about 10 months old we started using Your Baby Can Read because my parents had bought it for us. I was kind of on the fence about the program. But after a few months my daughter actually started reading many of the words. Unfortunately I was not able to keep up with the program because of health issues and work. But even with not using the program anymore my daughter was still very much like the child described in the article. She is now 5 years old and she has above average communication skills. Now I don’t know if it was a product of using the program even for a brief time when she was younger or that she just has good communication. But either way, after doing more research I now feel that phonics is the best way to teach reading. Many people that I have talked to about sight words vs phonics say that if their children were taught using sight words they are very poor spellers. Many said they had to start over from the beginning using phonics because of the bad habits picked up from the sight word method.

    1. There are no studies. There are only opinions. Jane Healy is mistaken. Reading is converting print to meaning. If a child sees the word ‘milk’ on a bottle and learns the word and then sees the word on a never before seen carton and knows that it also contains milk, that child has converted print to meaning. The child has read. Many teachers and parents confuse word-calling with reading. Word calling is converting print to speech and is common among children who have been taught using a phonics-only method. A child came into my 3rd grade classroom on the first day of school and her parents proudly told me that she was reading at a 5th grade level. I gave her a 4th grade book and asked her to show me. When she had read 2 paragraphs, I asked a question about what something meant and she was clueless. She has spoken all of. The words but had not created any mental image of what had happened and didn’t know why any of the events had happened. That is not reading. So if a baby can look at the word ‘nose’ and touch her nose, she is reading. I tried to explain this to the parents of one of my dyslexic students and they didn’t believe me until the day their son saw the word ‘violet’ and said “purple.” He was converting print to meaning. His phonics skills were weak because his sequential hearing skills were weak but he knew what the word meant even if he couldn’t manage to say it. reading is complex and so are children’s brains. While phonics may be the method of choice for 85% of children, we must allow children to learn in the way that their brains are wired. For many children, learning discrete sounds and the letters that represent them and then putting the letters/sounds together into words works just fine. For other, more analytical children, learning whole words, songs, and poems and then breaking those words down into their component parts works much better. Respect for the child is essential to RIE. holding children back who want to learn something is not respectful so please let the children learn what they choose to learn.

  37. It is interesting to me to look back on how my two boys spent their early years. Both attended the same day care (it was a small center where they actually had the same teachers). Both had a good bit of free play time at home, choosing their own activities. My oldest began organizing and sorting his toys at 18 months. He took to learning colors, then numbers, then words and could fluently read and do math(add subtract multiply and divide) by age 4. We did not push, but did encourage him in what he was interested in learning. He was a sponge and wanted more and more. I think the most telling moment was at 4 he read the alphabet backwards to his day care teacher. She didn’t know what to do with that. (we never went over that, he figured it out on his own.) We were asked at several times did we think he needed to skip a grade, but to us the social skills and development with peers his same age was more important. Even though he was bored most of the time. My younger son was the exact opposite. He didn’t want to read or learn anything, he was too busy running and playing. He learned to read in First-Second grade, but still dislikes it and struggles with words that don’t follow the rules. Not because he can’t learn them, he just doesn’t feel the need to. He was complaining about his reading skills last fall, so I had him tested and he was on a 6th grade level. (he is in 9th grade) Well, when the semester started in January, he was put in an “extra help” reading class. His normal English class took the test and he was at an 11th grade level. Later he told me he was bored the first time and just answered to get done. (Lesson: when Mom says a test is important, do your best.) But my younger son loves Math and had no problem with learning it or retaining knowledge. Things do not come as easy to him as his brother, but that is ok. No two kids are alike. And pushing early learning because we are “told” to do so by society is a big ole slice of baloney. Let them be kids. Now, my younger son does excel at sports and he started playing baseball at 3, not because we wanted him to, but he cried and pitched a fit because his brother was playing and he was not. And he was one of the best on the team. If we as parents just pay attention to our kids, instead of books and articles, we can learn so much about OUR kids and what is best for them.

    My oldest is 21 studying Chemical and Petroleum Engineering by his own choice. My youngest is a 9th grader in public school making As and Bs and excelling in 3 sports. Each child had their needs met and are well adjusted students. I can’t and won’t ask for more than that.

  38. Melissa Dubois says:

    Someone above mentioned the term “parlor trick”. I don’t want to be quite so dismissive, but I do wonder about the future impact of early reading on a kid’s identity as a learner. For most kids, reading is a hard-won battle over many years, with elements of pre-literacy (patterning, recognition) morphing eventually into mechanical fluency and then into true literacy. As a society, we tend to equate early reading with “smart” or “academically adept”. As a result, I suspect a baby who achieves mechanical fluency (“reading”) early as a result of a program (I am not discussing the small percentage of self-directed readers) will frequently hear that they are “smart” from the people around them (which makes us Growth Mindset folks cringe under the best of circumstance). I wonder what school then looks like for that child who learned some mechanics, but perhaps not the developmental skills and habits of mind that support developmentally-appropriate literacy. I wonder how they react when they face classroom challenges. The premise for the “The Trouble with Bright Girls” comes to mind.

  39. Reading is inextricably connected to broader language skills. A child can’t comprehend written sentences involving conditional subordinate clauses (for example) until they can grasp the concept of conditionality and the ability to comprehend and produce clauses embodying it.

    So it is completely impossible for a 17 month old (or a 3 year old for that matter) to be able to read. They might have some orthographic and lexical skills, but since they don’t have full comprehension of spoken language they can hardly be able to read.

  40. (Sorry for my bad English)
    Thanks for share this, I agreed with don’t push your child to learn something, but how you can help your kid when she is interesting and want to learn something?
    My almost 4yo attends a Montessori school since 2 years ago, and she want to read and write, and I can feel a little overwhelmed sometimes… I try to help her, I show how to do and then leave at her own, she learn how to write 4 months ago (the teachers says she have all the skills that she need to do, they don’t push too but she have the materials that she needs if she want), first she ask me how to write something, and she copied, them just ask how spell and now she just makes the phonetic and then write by her own.
    With the reading is somenthing similar, she learn the alphabet 2 years ago, she can spells, and now try to put togheter the letters, she memorized the books and “read” (teacher says that is ok and a good thing), and she can read the pre readers books (Bob). What I can do when she ask me for help? When she tell me she want to know how to read? Is wrong if I help her or teach syllables? Her teacher say if she ask for is ok, I don’t have any rush, I enjoy a lot reading with her, but I love her interest too (not just in this case, we always encourage her to learn whetever she want, but when is something academic is hard)

    (All this in two languages, Spanish and English)

  41. I agree that babies don’t “need” to learn to read; however, as a parent who taught my baby early reading, I can absolutely attest to how beneficial it has been for our son. We started with teaching baby sign language because we wanted to provide a form of language to help decrease the “terrible twos” via less frustration if we could communicate with each other. In finding programs like Baby Signing Time!, we also came across Your Baby Can Read! I focused only on sign language at first, but eventually added in the YBCR! He was already learning the written words from BST! anyway, and we read him books, and wrote words for items in his environment to teach him.

    A lot of people think babies can’t “read,” they think it’s just word memorization. But in our case, that is false. He was absolutely picking up phonetic sounds and patterns, because at 18 months, he was attempting to read words he’d never seen before, and pronouncing them as they look! I was excited, and I’d tell him, “Yes! It looks like , but it’s actually pronounced .” And quite amusingly, he learned the words “actually” (which he loves to say, my bad, I use it a lot) and “pronounce” at a very young age. People who didn’t believe he could read would test him with things like food containers in the fridge, writing random words down, etc. He could read them!

    So what good could this possibly lead to? Well, for one thing, it seriously boosted his confidence and social skills, because people who saw him reading in public would stop to ask him, “Did you just read that??!” Secondly, it provided him with a HUGE vocabulary by the time his speech took off, so he was able to converse very well with these adults. He was meeting new people every day, getting high fives and fist bumps, and people we’d see regularly (like store clerks, library aids, etc.) always remembered his name, and he’d remember theirs. Our regular store would even gather clerks around to see if he could read their name tags, then high five him, and even gave him an employee shirt. It’s just super developed his social skills and love of meeting new people.

    It also fostered a love of reading for him, as he’d wake up and read a book to himself. It’s also helped him learn other things he wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do as well, like use the computers in the children’s area of the library (there are “Finger Taps” games he likes, but to get there, you have to hit buttons like Art/Music > Finger Taps Paint > Paper > New. At children’s museums, aquariums, and places with interactive kids games, he can read the instructions himself. He just turned 4 now, and it’s amazing what all information he knows because he could read things these past few years.

    But also, there’s huge safety benefits to early reading. At age two, at an escalator, he was able to read a warning sign that said “danger, don’t touch.” He could read food labels and look for peanuts or cashews (he’s allergic), he could read, “don’t climb” or “don’t enter,” etc.

    So sure, babies don’t “need” to read. But it certainly can have lots of wonderful benefits. I would agree not to push it on them, though. Our son was genuinely interested in learning, but perhaps a large part of that was our super positive, loving approach. And we did everything right there with him together. We never plopped him down in front of a video and then walked away (I’ve seen other parents do that, and it doesn’t work…you have to be actively involved, and super loving and supportive).

  42. Joy-Mari Cloete says:

    Janet, I really would love to hear from you because so many people talk about “not pushing” children to read and to delay “formal academics” until children are 7 but their reasoning sounds like a critique of the “whole word” reading method. What about teaching an infant phonics during reading time while she’s sitting on mom’s lap? No flash cards. No whole word memorising. Not even teaching the rules of the English language in an explicit “I before e except after c” kind of way. Just phonics or f-o-n-i-k-s

  43. What’s your opinion on bilingual kids (live in California)? English is not my first language so I’ve been trying really hard to create the environment for my daughter to be familiar with my language (communicating and reading books in that language, buying books from my home country, etc.). She can speak it very fluently. Then when she was about 4.5 years old, she started to ask me what the characters mean as I read books to her, how are they pronounced, etc. It’s almost impossible for her to learn that language by herself (it’s not just 26 alphabets, but tens of thousands of different characters). To satisfy her curiosity, I started to teach her the characters, one by one. Am I doing the wrong thing? My initial thoughts are, because she asked, why not? But now I felt worried. If you can comment on this kind of situation, that would be really appreciated! Thank you!

  44. I’m so on board with this but have concerns over my 21 month olds daycare. He only goes 2 mornings a week but he’s been coming home singing the abc song and pointing out words. I know the daycare provider has a very different philosophy regarding early childhood and is hyper focused on education and accomplishment. She has told me “this is NOT a play group” and play to her is the byproduct of her teaching agenda. She’s sweet and kind and the only option around. How is this impacting my child? Is there anything we should do at home to ease the pressure to learn at daycare? Thank you so much.

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