Can an Infant Learn to Read?

by Jerrie Hewlett

I’m sure that question elicited an immediate shake of the head. But wait. They actually can. Well, sort of. I will discuss in this article the brain development of an infant. Just what takes place in that tiny little  mind? Something amazing!

The brain synapses are forming right before your eyes though you can’t see it. They are learning and at a remarkable rate. What forms could be pre-reading skills ready to kick in when the child’s vocabulary is sufficient occuring at about the age of four. So in a way the infant can learn to read.

Now you may be saying to yourself I have never heard of anything like this before. But what if the proper tools had not been applied. I am talking about phonics, which is gaining in popularity today with programs like “The Phonics Game” and “Hooked On Phonics”. But these programs are marketed to children already struggling with reading.  What if our infants were introduced to phonics. An interesting prospect you say but is it feasible. You bet it is!

You know that children learn more in their first three years of life than at any other time. Now combine that fact with the emerging knowledge of language development in the infant and something clicks. Those synapses are forming. Do I have the necessary tools in phonics for them to form in such a way as to produce early reading?  Are you still skeptical?  Don’t be.

I will give you my story. You need to know first of all that I have a Master’s Degree in psychology with my graduate course work concentrated in learning theories.   I had two children close together who I taught to read at about age six.  I used an excellent phonics program called “The Writing Road To Reading” and learned phonics for myself for the first time.  Some years later I had an unexpected third child and began to show her ABC cards giving the phonetical sounds from her early months. Later I worked it up into a little video.  I want to emphasize here that I rarely showed her the cards or video.  Probably no more than once every week or so.  At age four I wanted to do some schooling with her and shopped around, ending up buying a first grade reader and program since the kindergarten material I looked at was all too easy.  I really thought we would be just playing around but lo and behold she just started reading. I read the first page of the reader to her.  She read it right back. I turned the page. Same words but in a different order. She read it flawlessly. So I knew it was not just memorization. I found that once a word was read to her one time she would always read it thereafter even in different contextes.  I want to emphasize I never forced anything on her.  We did this reading very occasionally.  But the fact was she was just able to read.  Another important point.  My daughter is not gifted. I am a psychological examiner who gives IQ tests professionally and she tests out in the high average range.

I have written a program which I invite you to take a look at and where you can learn more about this remarkable discovery of mine.  Go to

What happened with my daughter can happen with your child.

Special thanks to Jerrie Hewlett of for sending this article to us.