Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Dr. Robert Titzer, Federal Trade Commission, Lottery tickets, malt liquor, playing the lottery as an investment, shitty parents, stupid people, the dumbs, Why am I so stupid?, Your Baby Can Read
It turns out that your baby may not be able to read after all.
The tiresome do-gooders at the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood have found a new way to make the world just the teensiest bit safer: by highlighting the dangers posed by Your Baby Can Read, an As-Seen-On-TV educational system which purports to teach infants and toddlers to read. The activist group filed a complaint last year with the Federal Trade Commission, alleging that the product’s misleading claims could confuse dimwitted-parents–the very group whose offspring are most at risk to be afflicted with ‘the dumbs’–who might construe them as factual.
Your Baby Can Read is the brainchild of edu-hustler Dr. Robert Titzer, who claims that the brains of infants and toddlers are especially receptive to reading education. Furthermore, Titzer claims that a narrow window of opportunity exists in which to access a child’s higher learning capabilities, capabilities which have atrophied by the time at which most children begin to receive formalized schooling.
Opponents say these claims are laughable, citing as evidence an NBC study, which suggests that while very young children may be able to memorize word patterns, their tiny, underdeveloped brains lack the capacity for true comprehension. Activist groups contend that these misleading claims entice parents to spend their hard-earned money on an essentially useless product.
After a thorough review of the evidence provided in the NBC study as well as independent research, it is our opinion that the claims of groups like the CCFC are correct: Your Baby Can Read appears to be of little or no value as a means of establishing within a child a life-long love of reading. Despite this, the campaign against Your Baby Can Read is misguided. Granted, thousands of well-meaning parents are ponying up hard cash for this dud, but remember–every dollar spent on this scam is another dollar not spent on cigarettes, malt liquor and lottery tickets.
Although it seems to be clear that this is not reading, it is not clear whether it goes on to help with earlier development of reading. It could just be that the child gets used to the cards / books and is therefore more receptive when real reading comes around. Or maybe it does help in some other way. It would be interesting to read more research on what it does do (it must be doing something if the child memorises cue cards), and whether this is of any real significance.
Why must you sully these pages with your well-reasoned and provocative notions?
I have a small child. It’s like someone forces it in there.
I always knew PT was a pillar in he scientific community, thoroughly conducting their own research before making any claims, and now I have proof. Thank you for confirming what many of us suspected but were too lazy to investigate ourselves.
Okay, now that I’ve been sarcastic, allow me to say that although reading to your children at a young age, even as infants, is very important in establishing language pathways. But no, these products won’t make Baby Joe read. Sitting down with little Joe and reading a $2 picture book is all that’s needed.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my son has finished in the Houdini Magic Shop, and I must now try to find my way out of this ginormous Vegas hotel, in which I appear to be trapped.
Sorry for my typos and incomplete sentences. This commenting stuff is not easy on an iPhone…
No apologies necessary. Just as Picasso could paint realistically if he wanted to, I know that “lingo” is just you “being Vegas.”
As the great thespian (turns out that only means ‘actor’–what a let-down, huh?) Wesley Snipes said in the immortal (at least based on your debased cinematic standards) film Passenger 47: Always bet on black!
Ooh, I haven’t seen that Oscar winner yet. I’ll have to check it out.
Yeah, they’re designed that way. They don’t want you to leave. They want you to gamble. Try to find a clock in the place. You won’t. They’d rather you not know that it’s 4:15 AM and you’ve just tossed away the kids’ scoliosis money. Also, the carpet is no doubt in muted, eye-pleasing colors. If not, it’s most likely designed to push your attention up toward the bright, loud machines. Nothing is an accident in Vegas. Except herpes. Fortunately, though, if the the Las Vegas Dept. of Tourism is to be believed, you needn’t worry about that travelling home with you.
Ha ha–hopefully I won’t take that home with me. Unless I accidentally pick it up from the disgusting chairs in my room. Don’t even want to think what those stains are…
I’m Vegas’s worst nightmare. My son and I spent time in magic shops, arcades, and a 4-story M&M store. Haven’t touched a single slot machine. But I guess they’re still taking my money, in one form or another.
So did you look out your hotel window this morning? Yeah, that’s what she looks like without her makeup.
Yeah, not so pretty. 🙂
Madame Weebles said:
I can’t believe they LIED to us. Why would they DO that??? WHY???
We’re still trying to figure it out, Madame W. Occam’s razor would indicate no motive other than a lust for profit. But that makes no sense to me!
I was taught to read with a time limit. If I couldn’t finish a book within the time limit, I got stabbed in the back with a spoon.
I learned pretty fast.
A few days ago on TV I saw a program in which they had an elephant that painted. He could appreciate the works of Vincent van Gogh as well. Why not a baby with a mustache able to read?
Thanks, Tom–if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life, it’s that TV won’t steer you wrong!
Exactly. It’s a pity that people don’t watch more of it. Unlike the Internet, which has its subversive side,TV’s only reason to be is to keep us well-informed. As Joe Friday, paragon of virtue, put it, “Just the facts, ma’am.”
Yeah, there are very few television programs I watch (and two of those are cartoons I watch with my kids–Green Lantern rocks!), although immediately after college my roommate and I watched sleazy talkshows and 90210 with a passion that bordered on mania.
Your use of “Dragnet” to illustrate the rigidity of television is very apt. However, I once saw on Dragnet perhaps the most realistic depiction of LSD use I’ve ever seen on television. Friday & Col. Potter have this hippie at the station. The hippie is tripping balls on LSD (which is not at this point illegal, apparently).
“Have a seat in the chair,” one of the cops tells him.
Says the dosed flower-child: “Man, I AM the chair!”
It’s absolutely brilliant. For those who haven’t seen it, see it. You will not be disappointed.
I agree with crubin (she’s a smart lady) I think you should read lots of books to your kids (doesn’t matter the cost) I also think you should let them outside, let them chase bugs, make mudpies, etc. I attended a class when I worked at a pre-school on the evils of coloring books….said it hindered their imagination…When I was little I used to live for the new box of colors and a new coloring book!
I was the world’s shittiest colorer. I couldn’t stay in the lines to save my life, and that was literally the least of my coloring woes.
My mom read to me quite a bit, but I think (and I’m being serious) that I owe my vocabulary to comic books. Those Marvel villains like Dr. Doom or the Red Skull couldn’t say a sentence without throwing in about fifteen $3 words.
I could read when I was two years old. No shit. Without Dr. Titzer or any other outside help -unless dealing with an untreated bi-polar mother and running from a sadistic older sister could be considered help. It’s called hyperlexia, and there’s no real explanation for how it happens or why. I can’t remember learning to read, but as far back as I can remember I read everything I could see in print. At five years old I could read at a college freshman level. That and $4.50 will get you a Starbucks. I did get one special privilege for my reading abilities though. I was allowed to peruse and borrow books from the regular library (the under 12s were restricted to the children’s section of the library in those days.) The library was a lifesaver for me in more ways than one.
My son, however, learned to read like a normal child. I read to him and he did the picture book thing and so on, and I think he did glean an impressive spoken vocabulary from me, but the early reading thing is something I can’t explain and I don’t believe it can be forced. I don’t think the flash cards, etc. would do much for infants and toddlers other than to aggravate the parents.
I was an early reader, but not a FREAK LIKE YOU! (I don’t use emoticons; if I did, there would be some kind of retarded smiley face to let you know that while I’m not kidding about you being a freak, you’re a very delightful freak). My boys, conversely, appear to be picking up that stuff a little slower than the average. I don’t really sweat it, though, it’s not how fast you start, but where you end up.
I was an okay reader until I got into comic books at about 6 or 7, and after that it just took off. Comics, which get such a bad rap (thank Dr. Frederic Wertham and an overzealous congress for that) are the literary equivalent of a gateway drug. Ironically, in grade school and junior high, despite being a strong reader with one of the better vocabularies in class (and saying ‘better’ is me being modest), I was sometimes put in the moron group, depending on the teacher and the year. Behavior and maturity played a part in that, of course, but I think my love of comics (which I learned to hide by high school) played a big part in it. They’ve got a reputation (deserved by a great many comics) as retard lit, but just because the artform has been ill-used doesn’t discredit it.
Wow. I clearly had an axe to grind. Sorry to hijack the topic like that. Bringing it ’round full circle–you were a reading prodigy, but if you’d read comics, you might have been reading at six-months (again, with no help from Dr. Tit).
I didn’t get into comics, but I did have an extreme weakness for Mad Magazine and National Lampoon. They were my guilty pleasures. I think I had every issue of both from 1980-1988 at one time. Sad to think those might be worth something today.
I was never put in the “moron group,” at least not academically, but I did spend a lot of my elementary and middle school career being tossed head first into bushes and/or trash cans. I was the uncoordinated scrawny geek with the bad clothes and thick glasses who everyone loved to pummel on.
They might be. I have a few Mad Magazines from that period. MM went through a terrible decline from about the late 1980s to the late 1990s when they got some of their mojo back.
I occasionally read some of my older friends’ National Lampoons, but wasn’t able to get into them (except for the nudity, which I was able to get into very easily).
Jennifer Worrell said:
My kid would eat those stupid flash cards. Whatever happened to, gasp, nursery rhymes? Mother Goose has been teaching kids to phonemic awareness, concept of word, and comprehension for centuries. How else do kids learn to appreciate/make-up dirty limericks when they get older?