Some Tests to Check if Your Baby is Reading:
- Recognition Test: Hold up two words an equal distance from your baby. The words can be held to your baby’s right and left or slightly above and below your child’s head. Ask your baby to find one of the words. Babies who can’t reach may answer by looking at the words.
- Watching the DVD Test: While watching the Your Baby Can Read! (YBCR) DVD, you could turn off the volume and pause the DVD to see if your child recognizes words. You may also notice that while your child is watching the DVD that your child does some of the physical actions or points to the appropriate body parts before the words are said. This could mean that your baby has memorized the order of the words or that your child can read the words. Check by showing your child the words in a different order.
- Matching Game 1: Place two words on the floor – for example, the word ‘cup’ and the word ‘block.’ Next, give your baby a cup and ask her to place it next to the word ‘cup.’
- Matching Game 2: Place two objects on the floor – for example, a cup and a block. Next, show your child a word, either the word “block” or the word “cup” and ask your baby to place the word next to the object.
- Word Games Test: While watching the “Word Games” part near the end of the DVDs, hold your baby up and allow your baby to answer the questions. Pause the DVD if your baby needs additional time.
- Body Part or Action Word Tests: Hold up a body part or action word where your baby can perform the activity related to the word. In other words, if your baby can’t touch his ear, then don’t use the word ‘ear’ because you won’t know if your baby can read that word. Words such as ‘clap,’ ‘wave,’ ‘nose,’ and ‘mouth’ are good for most babies since many babies can do physical actions to let you know they understand the meanings of these words even if they can’t say the words.
- Reading Aloud Test: For this test, use words that your baby can say. For example, if your baby can say the word ‘no’ you may use that word. Hold up words that your baby has repeatedly seen to determine whether or not your baby can read the words.
- Recognizing Patterns of Language – Test 1: Show your child at least two or three words that are in the normal, upright orientation first, then show a word that is upside-down. Select a word that clearly looks unusual for an English word when it’s upside-down (for example, ‘bellybutton’, ‘kicking’, or ‘gorilla’). Many letters in English look like letters even when they are upside-down, so don’t choose a word where the letters have vertical symmetry or where it still looks like a string of letters from our alphabet. Don’t give your baby verbal or nonverbal cues that the word is upside-down. Just hold up the word like you would normally and observe your child’s response. If you have a moment, please post your comment below and let us know what happened.
- Recognizing Patterns of Language – Test 2: Hold up two novel words in front of your baby (for example, “tabletop” and “juggle”). Please tell your child “First, look at both words. One of these words says ‘tabletop’ and one word says ‘juggle’.” Next, say something similar to “Which word do you think says ‘tabletop’?” Wait for your child’s answer. Next, say “Which word says ‘juggle’?” OR “Which word do you think says ‘juggle’?” Babies may answer by looking, pointing, or reaching for a word, so try to keep the words an equal distance from your child.
Hold the words in various positions (for example left and right, up and down, upper-left and lower-right, and so on) but with no pattern. Also, try to have the two words about the same distance from your child. Now, hold up two more words in front of your child (for example, “newspaper” and “laptop”). Encourage your child to look at both words before doing the test. Please do not tell your child what the words say. Ask “Which word looks like it says ‘newspaper’?” OR “Which word do you think says ‘newspaper’?” “Which word looks like it says ‘laptop’? OR “Which word do you think says ‘laptop’?”
Please do NOT do the first test frequently. It will be far better for your baby or child if most of your time is spent showing and saying words in an upright position. If your child shows no signs of having learned written patterns on the above tests, you may want to teach your child another 20 words before checking again. We encourage you to make a short video of your “test” the very first time you do it, then share it with us. It would be helpful if you would state the number of written words your child consistently reads and your child’s age.
It can be a very exciting time when you notice that your child has learned a pattern of written language that you did not even attempt to directly teach. This would show that your baby has not only memorized what words look like, but has also started learning patterns of written language. It also would provide additional evidence that babies or toddlers can learn to read in a way that is similar to how they learn to speak.
- Phonics Tests: Make up words such as “bot” or “mab” that follow phonetic patterns and see if your baby or toddler can read phonetically.
- Spontaneous Reading: For babies who can read phonetically, this may occur at any time where your baby may read a sign, card, words off of cereal boxes, words on a bus, along the road, etc.
- Book Reading: Even if your child reads every word in the book, it could be that your baby has memorized the story. You will want to try other tests such as pointing to words out of order or asking your baby to read books that she or he has never seen in order to determine your child’s reading level.
You could make up many other tests to see if your baby is reading. The above suggestions are just to get your started. Thanks very much.