A Multi-Sensory Approach to Learning Language Skills:
Each year, new research suggests that infants have even greater cognitive functioning abilities than previously believed. When learning about toys or other objects, babies use these capabilities while exploring with all of their senses. However, babies are expected to figure out language skills without using all of their senses. Our programs allow babies to use more senses while learning language skills. Your Baby Can Read! (YBCR) is likely the most-studied baby video in the world1-14. The findings of the studies on YBCR consistently show that our programme helps babies, toddlers, and preschoolers learn reading and vocabulary skills. None of these studies show any negative effects related to watching or using YBCR. Most importantly, additional evidence is overwhelming that learning to read earlier than traditional ages has potentially life-changing long-term benefits15-19.
Brain development is very rapid in the early years of life. Infants have tens of thousands of new synapses (or brain connections) every second. Many of these connections are going to and from different sensory areas of the brain. The number of new synapses related to language acquisition peaks before 11 months of age and about 75% of the mass of the brain is formed in the first two years of life. Yet many parents in Western societies don’t know what to do to help their babies learn during this important “window of opportunity”.
I suggest you talk to your baby as much as possible narrating or describing your child’s senses. Talk about what your baby is looking at, listening to, smelling, tasting, touching, and how your baby is moving. Talk about what interests your baby throughout the day and add written language by trying the following:
- Start with several words (for example, clap, wave, nose, and mouth). Say each word as you point under it from left to right.
- Show and tell your baby the meaning of each word.
- Encourage your child to say the word as you point to it again from left to right.
- Make it more interactive by doing physical actions or answering questions related to the word.
- At the precise moment you say the word, either point to the word or demonstrate the meaning of the word. For example, if the word is “hair” then each time you say “hair” either point to the word from left to right, gently touch your child’s hair, touch your hair, or point to photos of hair in the books.
- If your baby is in the mood, gently assist him to touch his hair. Use a mirror some of the time so that your baby can see his hair while touching it.
- Repeat these four words several times in one session if your child is in the mood. At other times throughout the day, repeat these same words.
- Introduce more words later the same day or in the following days. In general, older babies will need more words sooner than younger babies.
- If your child is 2 years of age or older, she may begin to recognize words statistically above chance on the first day6. In order to check, hold up two words an equal distance from your child and ask “Which word says ‘clap’?” while holding ‘clap’ and ‘nose’. You may put the words on a table in front of the child or hold them up, but put the words in different locations each time so the “correct” answer is not in the same position every time.
- If you are on your phone or laptop or otherwise busy, please show the Your Baby Can Read! DVDs even if it is for only 5 or 10 minutes. Remember that babies and toddlers have tens of thousands of new synapses (brain connections) forming each second. The DVDs can help teach language skills while you are occupied with another child yet still monitoring your baby.
Next, follow read the “Guidelines for Acquiring Early Literacy” and enjoy the experience of helping your baby learn language skills.
Dr. Bob Titzer
1 Titzer, R. (1998, April). Case Study of an Infant Exposed to Written Language. Presented at the International Conference on Infant Studies. Atlanta, Georgia.
2 Titzer, R. (1997). Case Study of a Second Infant Learning Written Language. (Unpublished study on Keelin Titzer).
3 TITZER, R. (1995). Pilot study to determine if other infants could learn to recognize written words from a video and to determine an optimal pace for the video. Unpublished pilot study.
4 Titzer, R. (1998, April). Evidence that 2- and 3-Year-Old Babies and Toddlers Can Visually Discriminate Written Words. Presented at the International Conference on Infant Studies. Atlanta, Georgia.
5 TITZER, R. (1999). Five-month-old infants’ abilities to discriminate written language. Invited guest speaker. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.
6 Downey, E. (2002). Video Tape as an Instructional Strategy for Developing Reading Vocabulary for Children with Autism, Presented to the Faculty of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree, Master of Arts in Education.
7 Perkins, A. (2009). A Study of the Effectiveness of Robert Titzer’s “Your Baby Can Read!” Multi-Sensory Reading Approach. University of West Georgia.
8 Titzer, R. (2010a). The Effectiveness of the YBCR Program on Reading and Vocabulary Skills: Study 1.
9 Titzer, R. (2010b). The Effectiveness of the YBCR Program on Reading and Vocabulary Skills: Study 2.
10 Anonymous Researcher at a Major US University (2011).
11 Thompson, T., & Tarver, T. (2011). Language and cognitive performance of infants and toddlers: A case for early infant reading and written language enrichment. Houston, TX.
12 Thompson, T., Tarver, T., & Woods, A. (2011a). A case for early infant reading and written language enrichment: The secret of getting ahead is getting started. Houston, TX.
13 Thompson, T., Tarver, T., & Woods, A. (2011b). Language and cognitive functioning of reading infants and toddlers: A call for very early written language enrichment. Houston, TX.
14 Hare, M.E., Baldwin, K.M., & Okoth, R.G. (2013). Parental Perceptions of an Early Childhood Reading Program (Your Baby Can Read). Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Memphis, TN. February 22, 2013.
15 Duncan, G. J., Dowsett, C. J., Claessens, A., Magnuson, K., Huston, A. C., Klebanov, P., et al. (2007). School readiness and later achievement. Developmental Psychology, 43, 1428–1446.
16 Durkin, D. (1966). The Achievement of Pre-School Readers: Two Longitudinal Studies. Reading Research Quarterly, 1(4), 5-36.
17 Hanson, R. A., and D. Farrell. 1995. The long-term effects on high school seniors of learning to read in kindergarten. Reading Research Quarterly 30(4), 908–933.
18 Ritchie, S. J. & Bates, T. C. (2013). Enduring Links From Childhood Mathematics and Reading Achievement to Adult Socioeconomic Status. Psychological Science.