A video has gone viral on TikTok as one mother shocked the internet by documenting her 2-year-old daughter appearing to know how 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 over the weekend, @lethu_nanas posted a video of 2-year-old Lethu reading a short sentence off of a flashcard. The child is seen sounding out the words as she goes along reading aloud “My bag is open.” The video has now been viewed over 6 million times. The account appears to be named after the young girl, Lethu, but run by her mother whose first name is Ntombi.
TikToker @lethu_nanas’s account is filled with clips of baby Lethu reading words and sentences typically reserved for children a few years her senior. In one video, Lethu’s mother explained how she has taught her daughter to read.
Her first step, she said, was teaching the baby the name of each letter. She then taught her the sound of each letter. After having those two skills down, Lethu’s mother used the letters to form words.
In the video, posted on March 18, she then showed Lethu sounding out the word “bug.”
“A tip for anyone teaching toddlers how to read: start with common letter sounds and then use short words first,” Ntombi said in the video.
She said Lethu had been learning three-letter words but is now moving on to four-letter words.
Healthychildren.org, which was created through the American Academy of Pediatrics, said that while most children won’t learn to read until ages 6 or 7 some children will learn at 4 or 5. Still, 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 a whole word’s meaning by how it is used,” the website said. “Learning which sounds the letters represent—phonics—is another way children learn to read. Phonics is used to help ‘decode’ or sound out words. Focusing on the connections between the spoken and written word is another technique. Most teachers use a combination of methods to teach children how to read.”
Commenters below @lethu_nanas’ videos were shocked at the young girl’s abilities.
One commenter who identified themselves as a teacher was particularly impressed.
“I’m a teacher and the skill of recognising [sic] the individual phonemes and then blending them is difficult to master, so this little one’s talented,” the commenter wrote under the viral video posted this weekend.
A phoneme in linguistics, according to Britannica, is “the smallest unit of speech distinguishing one word (or word element) from another, as the element p in ‘tap,’ which separates that word from ‘tab,’ ‘tag,’ and ‘tan.'”
Other commenters agreed with the teacher that the child’s skills were “incredible.”
“Baby genius! This is so incredible,” another wrote.
Another said: “This child is brilliant.”
Newsweek reached out to @lethu_nanas for comment.