(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
What do you think? Brilliance or Novelty? Does it even matter?
6 thoughts on ““It’s Never Too Early to Develop”…Is this Brilliant, or Simply Novel?”
For a baby, they’ll have fun mouthing it and appreciate the contrasting colors. It is of course important to introduce the concept of reading early but I can think of a million better books. This isn’t the right developmental stage to even bother beginning introducing symbols, nor would the preschool years be because there is just so much more to experience at that age.
I imagine programming parents will just eat it up though.
Sorry to not answer your reply concerning skills and knowing when to back up, thinking on it, I could write a blog post and more on that.
A friend sent me this article, and though it specific to dojo, I think it might apply to anyone learning to program:
Yes! They will definitely have fun this book. I forgot about that one, opportunities oral sensory input is important too! 🙂
No worries about slow replying, I have to think on things for a long time sometimes too. I look forward to your thoughts!
I will check out that link, thanks!
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I think it’s a joke !
I don’t know! That’s what I thought at first too, but check out this one: http://codebabies.com/product/abcs-of-the-web
“Written by a pediatrician”, and “developmentally appropriate” are definitely some key marketing points that seem pretty serious to me. The descriptions of the books are a little tongue-in-cheek, but when I think about this in the sea of all the other products that are marketed to parents as “make your baby smarter”, I worry a little!
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I think you have to relate things back to a baby’s world in order to keep their attention.
They will learn by being exposed to more words and having their parents’ attention, but a book with one word per page is more effective.
I do wonder if it’s just a gag gift.
My favorite part of your post is your reference to out-of-date images in kids’ books. The only kind of phone my kids have ever seen is a cell phone!
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I think this could be a good gag gift, but maybe I just want to see some kind of disclaimer like: “Don’t worry parents, this is not one more thing you have to worry about teaching your baby…Just hug them and talk to them.” or “This is useful if you are a parent who is into coding and you are sick of reading books about barnyard animals. At the end of the day, just reading books is important!”
The rotary telephone is my favorite, haha! A friend told me a story about taking her teenagers to a museum and seeing a typewriter. The kids said “Whoa! Look at that crazy old-timey computer!” Generational differences in culture are so interesting!
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