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Can Babies Read and Write?

by Deb Curtis
July/August 2009
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/can-babies-read-and-write/5018842/

Adult concerns about literacy development in early childhood fill the airwaves and have begun to trickle down and impact experiences for children under three. Infomercials promote the notion that "your baby can read," showing happy babies identifying words on flashcards and toddlers writing letters. My first reaction is dismay: Why on earth would someone spend the precious, short time of babyhood forcing attention on isolated literacy skills and drills? But then my curiosity is piqued; the children look joyful and excited to be playing these games. Rather than worrying about what the children are learning, I want to discover what they see and understand about
these interactions and the lines and squiggles that we call reading and writing. What is the baby's point of view in these moments?

Recently, I was reviewing a toddler teacher's documentation story describing two-year-old Sofia reading a book to a stuffed animal. As I studied the photos, it was obvious that Sofia knew a lot about reading books. She had carefully placed the animal next to her, purposefully holding the book and turning the pages so the animal could see as she read. I was curious to notice in one of the photos that Sofia was explicitly ...

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