Introduction - Can Babies Read?
Babies? Reading?! Like most people your initial reaction is most likely one of doubt. But it is true – your baby can learn to read. But first of all, what do we mean by 'reading?' The standard definition of reading includes the two main forms:
- Pronouncing aloud written text (with or without comprehension);
- Understanding the meaning of written text (with or without pronouncing it aloud)
With enough exposure, babies as young as a few months old can indeed 'read' in terms of comprehending the meaning of words or characters. It is only a question of whether they can express this comprehension, either through the form of acting out the meaning of the words or, when they begin to be able to talk, through saying the words out loud, and this would depend on their ability to talk or gesture with their body.
There are numerous examples of babies showing clear comprehension of words through gesturing as early as nine months of age, and pronouncing words as early as twelve months. These two videos of Felicity demonstrate both abilities at the age of twelve months: