How to Teach your Baby to Read on a budget. 6 Helpful Tips.

(How to Teach your Baby to Read on a budget was originally posted in Oct 2014. Updated September 2018)
How to Teach your Baby to Read on a budget. 6 Helpful Tips.


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How to Teach your Baby to Read on a budget. 6 Helpful Tips.

In my world, I think every baby should be taught how to read before they enter kindergarten. When my oldest was 22 months, I stumbled across the work of Glenn Doman, and the way I look at my kids changed forever.

In the 1960s Glenn Doman and Temple Fay discovered that severely brain-injured children could learn how to read. After a while, they realized that these brain-injured children were not only reading, but they were doing it earlier and better than typical children. So they started using their method on all children and the results were nothing short of amazing.

Once I learned that I could teach my child to read much earlier than kindergarten, I dove into researching it. That is when I found the BrillKids Forum and the Little Reader Program. Back in 2007 before Facebook Groups were big, these were my people. 30,000+ parents who wanted to teach their kids not only how to read early, but how to do the math, play music, speak many languages. All this new information was inspiring and overwhelming at the same time.

So I started my journey teaching Wesley to read. As a working single mom, I had to be a little strategic about working time into our day. But while he ate breakfast I could play the DVD Program Your Baby Can Read(now called Your Baby Can Learn! ). Then once he was strapped in his car seat before we would drive away for daycare I would do a set of flashcards with him. When we arrived at daycare before I pulled him out of the car we would shuffle the cards and do them again.

At the end of the day in the daycare parking lot, I would show him the cards one more time after he was back in his car seat, then we would drive home. Before I started making dinner I would set him up again with his Your Baby Can Read DVD. Then after dinner and before bed, we would do a session of Little Reader.

This might sound like a lot, but it took very little of Wesley’s time.

Your Baby Can Read Sessions 20 mins each viewing

Little Reader Sessions  5 mins each

Flashcard sessions 1 min each MAX

So in approximately 52 mins MAX a day I successfully taught my son to read.

Little Z Man’s reading program has looked very different because we started earlier, I’m a work at home mom and had more time with him. Technology has changed so much as well that it has been even easier. But I wanted to share Wesley’s reading story because he was in daycare 9 hours a day and I was a single mom. If I could do it then, anyone can.

There are many products on the market that help parents teach their little ones. And as long as the parents stay consistent, playful, and gentle(ex: no pressuring) this is possible in most cases.

But what if you can’t afford to purchase these products?

Now while these products do make it easier on Mom and Dad, they are not required. There are cheaper ways to teach your young child to read. However, you might have to invest a bit more time. But I would not let finances get in the way of educating your child.



6 Tips How to Teach Your Baby To Read on a Budget
how to teach to read#1 Visit your local library and borrow a copy of the book How To Teach Your Baby To Read

This is a back to basics, Do It Yourself, how to teach your baby to read program. All you need is some paper and a black and red marker.

One thing you should keep in mind when you read this book is, Doman has a very very strict schedule. Don’t feel like you have to do 3 sets of words, 3 times a day each. Figure out what works for your child and go with it. Some kids will set for 10 cards 3 times a day, some prefer 30 cards one or two times a day. Even when we attended the IAHP we were given different reading schedules than are in the book. Adapt to your child.

Also, don’t worry about his exact sizing too much. Making your cards on 8 x 11 white paper may be perfectly fine for your little ones. However, if you find that your child is not paying attention to the cards, then they may be too small. In that case, you can jump up to 11 x 17 inches paper.  Once they are older you can cut that down to half or even quarters.

Card stock is obviously better, however more expensive. But a huge pack of plain white printer paper can be purchased for fairly cheap. If your budget is still too tight for this, you can use the unused side of scrap paper, the inside of cardboard boxes, etc. Contact offices and local businesses and see if they can save you a paper that has only been used on one side. A lot of places only print on one side. Also, look for back to school deals. This year I was able to buy 600 pages of white printer paper for just under $3 a pack. If you use both sides that 1200 flashcards.

#2 DVD section in the library or Netflix:

You can find MANY good educational DVDs at the local library. My library has a very limited selection, however they have good videos like Signing Time, Little Pim English(other languages too if that is what you’re looking for), and Leap Frog just to name a few.

If you have access to Netflix, that is another good option that has in the past had videos like LeapFrog and Signing Time on it as well.

#3 YouTube:

YouTube is AMAZING when it comes to educational videos. There are so many good quality videos that are perfect for teaching your child to read for absolutely free. Create a playlist and show it to your child. I connect YouTube to my TV which has larger than my computer screen for my kids so that the words are easier for them to see. But they have also done well using just the computer screen.

Be sure to check out Songeez also known as Readeez on YouTube. Michael Rachap and Gerry O’Neill have done an amazing job with these videos and I know that all my kids and daycare kids have loved them. But most of all they have learned so much.

Do make sure you watch any videos on Youtube first to make sure it is appropriate for your child.

#4 Free Starfall

Check out the classic website. There are lots of great interactive educational games there. They do offer a paid subscription for more content. But the free content is still very good. Both my children have used the free site and loved it.

#5 Thrift Stores, Kijiji/Craigslist, and Garage sales

This is a biggie! I have gotten so many awesome deals during garage sale season, or at the local thrift store. Things that usually sell for $20 or $30 for $1.99, $5, 50 cents.

I also check for things on Kijiji before I pay the full price. I have heard Craigslist is good in other cities, but it’s not popular where I live. But check both and see what works best where you live.

In more recent years Facebook Buy & Sell groups have been AMAZING for getting great items to help teach my kiddos for cheap. So be sure to check those out too. Sometimes people even give stuff away on there.

Don’t be afraid to barter a little. People at garage sales and on Kijiji often up their prices because they expect to have people barter with them a little. If someone has several items for sale that you want, try and get a deal for buying it altogether.

Know your prices and keep your eyes open and you will be amazing what kind of treasures you can find.

#6 Join Swagbucks

Check out Swagbucks. It’s a search page/bar that rewards you with points while you search. Then once you collect enough points, you can exchange them for gift cards. I usually pick Amazon cards. I have earned hundreds of dollars doing this.


Have you taught your child to read on a budget? What did you do to save money?

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2 thoughts on “How to Teach your Baby to Read on a budget. 6 Helpful Tips.

  1. Hello!
    First of all thank you for the wonderful tips. I want to start reading program with my 10 mo baby. Also want to print bits of intelligence cards. Can you please recommend some good colour printer to me?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Oh thank you so much for your comment! What a lucky kiddo you have. In the past I have run brother printers, but the two I use are no longer available. I did a lot of research on printers and ink a few weeks ago to see if it it was worth replacing my printer drum or buying a new printer. Right now the newer printers seem to cost quite a bit for ink, even generic. So I decided to replace my drums and keep my printer running. But I am starting a little saving account to buy an Epson Ecotank when my printer dies. It is very expensive upfront, but from my research it is much cheaper to run.
      I hope that helps.

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