Teaching My Baby To Read

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ABC time, twenty minutes a day

Jenna is 19 months now, but a few weeks ago, when she was still just a wee young 18 months, we started ABC time on the tv.  For right now, this means watching a very old fashioned video called  Rusty and Rosie’s ABCs and Such.  We happen to have been given these videos from my Mother-in-law, but you can probably check them out from your local library for free.
Yes, yes, I know tv can be evil!   Please don’t blast me about the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations that children under two shouldn’t watch television.  It’s not like I’m sitting my toddler in from of “Star Wars the Clone Wars” and then going off into the living room to drink a margarita.  It’s not like that.
What I do, is I sit down with Jenna and watch as much of the video as she has the attention span at this point to get through. At first it was just two or three minutes, but we’ve been building up to about twenty.  Each time a new letter or sound comes on, I make a big deal about.  “Oh, that’s the letter S!  Sssssssssss.”  Sometimes Bruce sits with us, and plays along.
When we first started three weeks ago, Jenna  could recognize and say “O”, said “Bruce” for “B” and “mama” for “M and W”.  Today, she can recognize, say or point out the capital letters: “A, B, C, D, F, M, O, P, Q, S, U, X and Z.”  Pretty sweet!  The only other things we have been doing are reading lots of picture books (about 30-45 minutes a day, but not all at one time), and also reading some basic ABC books.
At this point, I’m going to move Jenna on to video two, “Letter Sound Songs”.  Even though she’s not demonstrating that she knows the whol alphabet, it’s time to move on.  I don’t want her to get bored, and so we’re moving on to lower case letters.
I looked in Bruce’s baby book and I had written that Bruce could say his ABCs by 18 months.  I think he also could identify them too, if I’m remembering right.  It really did just take a couple of weeks with that video.  Of course, every child is different, so it’s okay that Jenna is learning at her own pace.


  1. Claire H. says:

    Hi Jenny! Nice blog 🙂

    There’s an excellent book called Into the Minds of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children from Birth to Five by Lisa Guernsey. She reviews the research literature on young children’s media exposure to separate the hype from the reality. It turns out that the AAP recommendation has *NO* research whatsoever to support it. They just were being ultra-cautious.

    My kids all love the Leap Frog DVD series and I think it definitely helped my older two with learning to read well before they were old enough for kindergarten.

    • jenbrdsly says:

      Thanks Claire! I love the Leap Frog DVDs too. I actually have the first one on hold at the library and am going to pick it up this week. I’m intending on using it as a follow up to “Rusty and Rosy’s Letter Sound Songs”. I’ll have to add the Lisa Guernsey book to my hold list.

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