Can Toddlers Learn to Read with an iPad?

Apple iPad 2Stop feeling guilty the next time you hand over an iPad or iPhone to entertain your toddler — you may actually be helping him learn how to read.

ABCNews.com recently wrote about a new trend in ”toddler” apps, educational apps targeted to kids between 4 months to 3 year old, to help them learn earlier and faster.  One mom’s son started playing with an iPad at 9 months old, and now 5 months later, he recognizes letters and uses 75 apps.  Plus, since more toddlers are learning how to handle an iPhone and iPad, even Toys “R” Us is selling iPads and a kindergarten class in Maine will be getting their own iPads when school starts again.

However, another mom allowed her 3-year-old twins play with apps on an iPad, and while they recognized letters and numbers visually, they weren’t able to say or verbalize them.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids under 2 years old avoid watching TV or handling any electronics unless parents are making an effort to interact with their kids for teaching purposes.

The key, then, is interaction–kids still learn best through the human touch of good old-fashioned one-on-one teaching.  But are parents becoming too obsessed with forcing toddlers to be achievers at a young age, from getting them to read chapter books to enrolling them in sports classes to perfecting potty training techniques?

Would you give your child an iPad or iPhone if it would help him learn and read faster? And do you think parents are too obsessed with helping their kids become achievers?

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  1. [...] iPad usage may help toddlers learn how to read (Parents.com) [...]

  2. by Jen

    On May 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    My 2 1/2 ur old started using an ipad and iphone when
    He was 1 yr old. Before he turned 2, he learned his alphabet and knows a lot of animals. Hes now learning phonics and doodling a lot on his ipad. I believe ipads help a lot with toddlers learning!

  3. by janice

    On May 23, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    ipads for toddlers and kindergarteners? I just couldn’t believe I read that.

    Although I love technology and have more of it than I probably should, I think it should be kept away from little hands. This is a scene I see all too often wherever I go – toddlers glued to their parents’ ipad/iphone just as they used to be inseparable from television or video games at home.

    I think this is just an extension of another level of separation between parents and kids. And frankly, I think these parents are just being somewhat lazy! You don’t need to place a hundred plus dollar’s worth of equipment in front of your kid just to help them learn! Grab a REAL BOOK and read with them. Play games that don’t require sitting around and swiping on the screen.

    Honestly. What kind of next generation of kids are we trying to create anyway?

  4. by Jesse

    On May 28, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    @janice

    The next generation of kids we are creating is a generation of people who know how to operate computes.

    I grew up during the age when the first “scare” stories were published about video games and the amount of time kids were dedicating to them. I spent 6-8 hours a day on the computer or on video games when I was age 13 – 19. (I got my first computer when I was 13) This was the case for many of my friends as well. I now have a career developing websites and software for the web. Many of my other friends also make very high wages in the computer industry including video game sound engineering for Sony.

    Aside from the fact that our kids will know how to use the single most important tool in pretty much every job, the iPad/iPhone serves as the best teaching tools that have ever existed.

    I started both of my girls on the ipad / ipod / computer when they were 2 1/2. My oldest who is turning 6 next week, is reading at a second grade level. She knows how to calculate 3 digit addition and subtraction problems, is working on multiplication tables, and starting to learn cursive writing, which she can do right on the ipad! Not only is she ahead in general education but she knows how to operate a computer better than my dad. I was chatting with her the other day using yahoo instant messenger, from opposite sides of the house. It was a blast.

    She also knows how to start up/log into my laptop running Linux, open up a virtual machine running Win xp, open a web-browser in the vm, navigate to netflix.com, do a search for the movie she wants to watch and play it. She also knows how to open a Snes emulator on the linux machine, and load a rom of super mario brothers. She can just about beat world 1-2.

    She also can school my mom in “cut the rope” which is a physics puzzle game for the iPad/ipod.

    Computers are tools, they cannot replace parenting, but they can enhance it in ways that our parents could not have dreamed of.

  5. by Thierry

    On June 2, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    A great app for learning kids to read is
    learn reading
    http://www.LearnToReadApp.com.

    There are also foreign languages versions (Spanish and French) so this can also be used to learn foreign languages