123 Read Before the Age of Three

It’s easy . . . 123 Read! After having eleven children, I finally figured out how to teach our babies to read before the age of three. I had time to sit down and read with our oldest child. But when babies two, three, four, five, then six, seven, eight, nine came along, I had very little time to do anything. Reading with each child on a regular basis . . . well, it just didn’t happen that often. With babies ten and eleven, I did something a little different. I found a simple way to teach my babies to read before the age of three . . . 123 Read!!!




Everyone usually learns how to read. So what difference has it made for our children to learn to read at a young age? We have three out of eleven children who are readaholics. Our oldest and our two youngest. They are always reading. They read for entertainment. School is easy because they have mastered the essential skill of reading. 

Children are hardwired to learn language. They learn a language in their first three years without any formal training. If they are exposed to another language, they learn the second language just as easily. If you want to teach language, teach it to children while they are young. 

I wanted to know how to teach our children to read at a young age, so I read How to Teach Your Baby to Read by Glenn and Janet Doman. I bought hundreds of dollars of their materials. But there was one catch. I didn’t have time to do what they suggested. 

I’ve tried many things. After years of trial and error. I found three simple activities that are very effective in teaching children how to read before the age of three. I’ve shared these ideas with one of my good friends, and 123 Read is working its magic for her little girl too.  We’ll upload some videos, so you can see her progress. 

Why is it called 123 Read?


1 - Baby’s First Year - Signing Time Videos

The first step of 123 Read! I learned this first part quite by accident.  A friend gave me a few Signing Time videos, and my children loved them. The videos were entertaining, and my babies were talking with their hands long before they were able to talk with their mouths. My babies were learning a second language. They signed intuitively, and we were communicating. 

Using sign language in those first couple years, reduced the frustration we had in communicating. I knew what they were saying and could reinforce their attempts to talk. For example, if they were making the sign for cracker, I would say, “Oh, you want a cracker?” 

My youngest children were talking at a younger age than my other children. The language center of their brain was being stimulated with the help of these Signing Time videos.  Being able to communicate and talk really helps when babies are learning how to read. 

We started out with three videos and ended up buying all of the series. These videos teach the sign, the written word, and the spoken word. Super fantastic!


2 - Baby’s Second Year - Preschool Prep Videos

This is step two of 123 Read! I love Spalding phonograms, but using flashcards can be a little dry and boring. So I looked for ways to make learning phonograms more exciting.

The Preschool Prep videos teach all of the sounds of each phonogram. For example, instead of just teaching the long and short sound of the letter a, they teach all three sounds of the letter a (ă as in at, ā as in navy, ah as in father). They teach phonograms in an fun way! 

We bought the Preschool Prep Series Collection - 10 DVD Boxed Set (Meet the Letters, Meet the Numbers, Meet the Shapes, Meet the Colors, Meet the Sight Words 1, 2 & 3, Meet the Phonics - Letter Sounds, Digraphs & Blends). It was everything we needed. Your child can also watch the videos on YouTube.

The videos were so simple to use. When my toddlers were tired and needed a little down time, I’d put on a Preschool Prep video, and they’d learn why they rested. This was especially effective for our children because it was the only screen time they had during the week. 


3 - Baby’s Third Year - Play Starfall

Here's the third step of 123 Read! If you do steps one and two, your children will know the sight words, phonograms, and some of the basic rules of spelling before they are two years old. 

Now it is time to start using Starfall. Our children thought Starfall was a game and would often ask to “Play Starfall”. The girls loved going from one activity to another as they explored the site. There are so many reading activities on this site. This is where our babies practiced their reading skills.

There is a free version of Starfall, but if you want to have access to more of the activities, it’s only $35 a year. The renewal fee is $30 a year. Starfall is a non-profit organization and has a lot to offer.

In our home, we only watch movies/TV one night a week. It is important for children to be creative in their work and play, so screen time is limited. Any type of screen time is a privilege. I used this to their advantage in teaching them how to read. They looked forward to watching Signing Time and  Preschool Prep videos. They played Starfall because to them it was a game.


That’s it! I didn’t listen to them read every week, but I was amazed at their progress when I sat down to listen to them .  It would make me laugh because my little girls were learning to read, and it wasn’t time intensive for me. 

What’s most important is that they love to read! You’ll hear their voices in many of our read aloud videos.

We would love to hear about your success in teaching your babies how to read!

Did You Teach Your Baby to Read?

We would love to hear about it!

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