A video has gone viral on TikTok when a mother shocked the internet by documenting her 2-year-old daughter who appeared to be able to read. According to Healthychildren.org, most children learn to read by age 6 or 7, making this little one’s skill quite rare.
In a clip posted this weekend, @lethu_nanas posted a video of 2-year-old Lethu reading a short sentence from a flashcard. The child is seen uttering the words as she reads aloud: ‘My bag is open’. The video has since been viewed more than 6 million times. The account appears to be named after a young girl, Lethu, but is managed by her mother whose first name is Ntombi.
TikToker’s @lethu_nanas account is full of clips of baby Lethu reading out words and phrases typical of kids a few years older than her. In one video, Lethu’s mother explained how she taught her daughter to read.
Her first step, she said, was to teach the baby the name of each letter. Then she taught her the sound of each letter. After losing those two skills, Lethu’s mother used the letters to form words.
In the video, posted on March 18, she then had Lethu pronounce the word “bug.”
“A tip for anyone teaching toddlers to read: start with regular letter sounds and then use short words first,” Ntombi said in the video.
She said that Lethu had learned three letter words, but is now switching to four letter words.
Healthychildren.org, founded by the American Academy of Pediatrics, said that while most children don’t learn to read until they are 6 or 7 years old, some children learn it when they are 4 or 5 years old. Yet they are years older than Lethu.
The website explained that there are many ways to teach a child to read.
“One way emphasizes word recognition and teaches children to understand the meaning of an entire word through how it is used,” the website says. “Learning which sounds the letters represent – sounds – is another way children learn to read. Phonics are used to help ‘decode’ or sound words. Focusing on the links between the spoken and written word is another technique. Most teachers use a combination of methods to teach children to read.”
Comments below @lethu_nanas’s videos were shocked at the young girl’s abilities.
One commentator who identified himself as a teacher was particularly impressed.
“I am a teacher and the ability to recognize [sic] the individual phonemes and then mixing them together is hard to master, so this little one is talented,” the commenter wrote under the viral video posted this weekend.
A phoneme in linguistics, according to Britannica, is “the smallest unit of speech that distinguishes one word (or word element) from another, such as the element p in ‘tap’, which separates that word from ‘tab’, ‘tag’ and ‘brown. ‘”
Other commenters agreed with the teacher that the child’s skills were “incredible.”
“Baby genius! This is so unbelievable,” wrote another.
Another said: “This kid is brilliant.”
news week reached out to @lethu_nanas for comment.