(from website) It’s never too early to be standards compliant! Show your little ones HTML markup code along with letter forms to get them started on the visual patterns and symbols that make up the essential building blocks of the Web. The first in a three-volume set, originally designed by a NYC Web Designer for his baby, this beautiful book is a fun and colorful introduction to the world of web design for babies.
I’m not too sure how I feel about this!
On the one hand:
I mean…I know that giving any book to a baby is better than giving no book to a baby.
Exposure to print is great (and necessary) for babies’ pre-literacy development.
I also know that exposure to simple, clean designs with high contrast is naturally interesting and engaging for them, while also supporting their ocular development.
I also know babies have an incredible capacity for learning language before the age of 3. The more language exposure babies get results in more foundational neurochemistry being established for learning languages later in life.
I also know that part of the barrier to learning to code is just being exposed to it, and NOT thinking that it looks and sounds alien. (I know this from experience…I can say that now!) Thus, this simple exposure could provide some foundations for code being accepted as a cultural reality in one’s world.
I also think this is clever! I mean…”It’s never too early to develop”…that is fantastic!
Code is not spoken language, and you don’t naturally read it out loud. HTML is meant to be typed. When you read regular books to babies, they learn spoken vocabulary (even before they are speaking…they are still learning). You are also showing them that printed letters and words equal spoken sounds and words. Thus,”reading” these books can do all kinds of things to support babies’ pre-literacy learning…but I have doubts about setting foundations for learning to code.
In order to truly understand code, you not only have to type it, but you have to see what it does. In order to really give that exposure, you’d have to create some type of clever app or interactive website instead of these paper print books…but do we really want to be giving our babies more screen time to “watch” things?
Are these books contextual enough to have any real meaning to babies? Again, they can be engaging and pretty to look at, but what can HTML code really mean to infants? Printed spoken-language words in regular books are contextual because there are printed language words everywhere…in the store, on signs, on mail, on hand-written notes. Babies constantly hear language spoken around them (hopefully!) Books provide an early connection between all this natural exposure in the environment. Infants learn quickly that words are important and their brains start to familiarize and set foundations to be able to decode print and speak words when they get older. Babies might see parents writing HTML on computers, but why should their brains think that is something they should know about? I could be wrong, but I doubt exposure to these books would actually help their brains be able to DE-code computer code later in life.
Finally, I have to wonder…Is this as ridiculous as those baby books with random pictures and words that are completely culturally outdated? (You’d like to think they are just holdovers from the 80’s and 90’s…but I’ve seen record players and dictaphones as examples of “common household objects” pictured in books published in the late 2000’s).
Knowing how quickly technology changes…Will any foundations these baby code books provide even be relevant when today’s babies are in High School? (or Kindergarten?)
Ultimately, I repeat:
Giving ANY book to a baby is better than giving NO book to a baby!
…So I guess I have to hand it to this company for cashing in on a niche market, entertaining parents, and not damaging infants’ cognitive development.
Resource about Early Literacy: https://lincs.ed.gov/publications/pdf/NELPEarlyBeginnings09.pdf