My Own Reading Program for a One Year Old

As I type, I have been in the midst of working on my very own version of how to teach my son to read. I have seen the infomercial for "Your Baby Can Read" and was astounded to find out how big of a trend this is. They have a system and it does seem to work on so many babies ages 3 months to 3 years.

I also found so many sites dedicated to Dolch words for beginner readers, word card suggestions, even a short article by Gwynne Spencer about how she taught her son to read using manicure scissors at 3 years old!

Then that got me thinking, 'If Gwynne created her own method that encouraged her son at 3, why can't I create my own method for my son at 1?' He is already interested in learning so many new things, like sign language, new foods, new places, etc. He is an open book for me to write LOL.

So, here I am, ready and willing to get started, and my first step was to identify the words I wanted to teach him. I was reading this article on eHow.com where they suggest to make 100-200 word cards and show them to your baby 3 times a day for no more than 30 seconds each. How you do it is by showing one new word a day until you get to 5 words, then retire the first word, etc etc. For more details, please go read the article, it is very informative.

I decided to identify my own 100+ words that I would like to teach my son. I started with his body and his environment. Mostly words that are easy for me to show him.

As I got over 100 words, I began thinking of an idea I had when I was younger... I wanted to write words on name cards for objects around the house and then tape them to each object, like what they do in preschools. I did this for a short while with my step daughter, however with many moves and all, the cards became torn or lost.

But that would be perfect to lead my son into the venture of reading. My goal is going to be to make these name cards again, and as I tape them up I will have my son with me. I will read the word, show him the object and then he can help or watch me tape it on (hopefully out of reach and for good, otherwise I will be replacing them often).

Then the everyday game I want to play is by making index cards with the words of the objects on them. I will show him a card, read it off, and then go show him the object. Eventually I want him to be able to run around and show me the objects as I show him the card. I have no goal for a length of time for him to learn, and I am taking a more direct approach than one word a day. I am going to treat it more like with sign language. I sign to him as often as I can.

I will do the same thing with the reading cards I make. Every time I say the word, I will show him the card (and probably sign as well). At this age, kids are sponges to information. Their brains are still developing and capable of taking in much more information than most people give them credit for. My son was able to pick up on his routine in only 2 weeks, and then we moved and he still was accustomed to his routine in the new environment.

I have been astounded by my son's intelligence and I really want to give him more credit than I have been. No more am I going to think, 'oh no he is too young for that,' because he can never be too young to be exposed to the real world and education.

Do you have any amazing teaching stories of your kids? Please share with us here. All links welcome! Videos of your kids being amazing would be great, too.


  1. I'm not saying you shouldn't do this, but there are a number of experts who believe that pushing children to read at a very young age is bad for development. They're supposed to be learning other things right now. "Education" at one is about building a (verbal) vocabulary, exploring the physical world (sensory things like building with blocks, splashing with water, etc.), learning social cues and empathy, and working on fine and gross motor skills. What is the hurry? How does it help him to be able to read at one year?

    At 18 months, my son knew his entire alphabet and could tell you at least one thing that started with each letter of the alphabet. I am almost embarrassed to say that he learned most of it from a few hours of playing one of the games on the Fisher-Price website (the Animal Zoo). He played it for a few minutes every day for awhile because he loved it so much. I expected that he might recognize some new animals, but it was secondary that he learned basic reading skills.

  2. Thanx for your opinion MoreThanMommy, but I am not pushing my son. As I said, and the same with the many cases that I have read, my son wants to know more. He wants to communicate and tell me what he needs or wants. And I want to be able to give him all the tools at his disposal so that he can.

    What kind of a mother would I be if I denied my son the benefit of communication when he wants to learn it? I am not going to be pushing him, the cues will be there and he can grasp them at will. Just like verbal communication is around him 24/7 for him to pick up on, I have also displayed sign language which he has grasped really well. He knows how to ask for cheese, milk, and more. Those are his basic needs and wants.

    Now I am just going to place reading cues in his reach 24/7, and if he wants them he can pick up on them. I read to him everyday before naps and bedtime, but the text is usually fairly small. So, I want to create a better method than just sitting him in front of a TV or DVD, a more personal and one-on-one method.

  3. The simple task of reading a bed time story is the first steps to teaching a child how to read. Even looking at picture books a child to read as it helps them with visual cues, processing and discrimination necessary to become readers. Reading is acquired by a myriad of different ways, just stay away from the TV, Xbox and other.

  4. whooops! I should read what I write before I post. I apologize for the horrible second sentence.

  5. Thanx Keith. I wish it was so simple in my house to stay away from the TV and games, but my husband just cannot live without them. I have tried so many times to implement only hour blocks of TV watching or other types of bans to no avail. Even my 6 yo step daughter is so into the habit of turning on the TV the second she walks in the door, even if she is not intending on watching it.

    I am happy though that I got them both out of the habit of leaving the TV and lights on when they left the house. That was always the most bothersome to me. My husband would cover his habit by saying he left the TV for the cats. LOL

  6. I think it's great that you are encouraging your child to learn...seems like a great approach!! Kudos to you mama - dont' forget to stop by my blog to collect your award!!!