Creator Of ‘Your Baby Can Read! ‘ Busted Because Your Baby Can’t Read

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For all you parents who shilled out $200 watching an infomercial at two a.m. in hopes that your three-month-old would be reading The Odyssey or even Goodnight, Moon to you by preschool we have some bad news. The Federal Trade Commission  has filed a complaint against the man behind the “Your Baby Can Read” program, Robert Titzer. The FTC accuses him of false and deceptive advertising for promoting his program in ads and product packaging as a tool to teach infants as young as nine months to read, gave children an early start on academic learning, and made them more successful in life than those who didn’t use it. From the FTC website:

According to the complaint, the defendants sold the Your Baby Can Read! program to parents and grandparents of children aged three months to five years since at least January 2008, charging about $200 for each kit and taking in more than $185 million, directly via a toll-free number and their own websites.

One 30-minute television infomercial featured a home video of a two-year-old girl who used the program and is purportedly reading a page from the children’s book Charlotte’s Web.  The girl’s mother then appears, saying that when her daughter was three years old, “she read her first Harry Potter book and she fell in love with it.”

Hey, now, as much as I think the Harry Potter franchise rocks for getting so many children worldwide psyched about reading, the idea of a three-year-old reading Harry Potter is creepy. Three-year-olds reading 300 page novels is not a good idea, because it detracts from them doing other really important three-year-old stuff, like throwing blocks across the room and pulling the cat’s tail. Three-year-olds have better things to do than reading novels, like drawing on walls and having tantrums.

According to the Your Baby Can Read website:

Your Baby Can, LLC has shut down all operations and is no longer in business.

Did you purchase this program for your child or grandchild? Did you feel like it made them more successful in life? When my kids were smaller I read to them constantly, which I still do now, but I never bought into any of those super popular “early development” programs that so many of my other mommy pals did. I know they received some Baby Einstein  videos as a gift, but I always found the music and puppets really annoying.

I’m all for cozying up with babies and kids and reading with them, and I feel bad for any parents suckered into buying this program in hopes there infants would start reading at a grade school and above level. None of us grew up with these sorts of products and we all turned out just fine. One of the best things you can do for your kids is let them see you reading, getting excited about new books, and sharing books with them that you loved as a child. Take them to libraries, to brick and mortar book stores, and give them books as gifts. And it costs a lot less than $200.

(Photo: OKSUN Shutterstock)