he video: A watchdog group is demanding that the feds silence advertisements for the "Your Baby Can Read" line of videos, flash cards, and books. The group, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, calls the company's claims that their $200 kits can help infants as young as three-months-old learn to read misleading and harmful. (Watch a Today report on the flap below.) Ads for the program, developed by educator Robert Titzer in the late 1990s, say infanthood is the best time for a child to acquire reading skills so parents should "seize this small window of opportunity." But leading child development experts say the babies and toddlers in the commercials are just memorizing flash cards, not reading them, and generally dismiss "baby genius" products as pointless.
The reaction: Face it, parents, says Madeline Holler at Babble. Your baby can't read — no baby can. So let's hope this advocacy group succeeds in banning these commercials the same way it "brought down Baby Einstein." "Memorizing is a great party trick," says Sasha Brown-Worsham at The Stir, but "it isn't actually reading." Parents ought to just let their kids discover books when they're ready. That's the way to "build a lifelong love of reading and learning in general." Watch the Today report:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why China's Communist Party is headed for collapse
- Why Texas Republicans may want to cool the anti-Obama land-grab talk
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Why the poor's investment of choice is so alarming
- How to make perfect fried rice in 6 easy steps
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Obama doesn't have a manhood problem — but conservatives certainly do
- Why Antonin Scalia was right to defend a drug dealer
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- Why we need a maximum wage
Subscribe to the Week