Astonishing but true: Vietnamese infant reads newspapers, books

July 12, 2006


A 28-month-old Vietnamese baby who has not been taught even the alphabets is reading newspapers and books.

Dong Ngoc Han discovered last February that her son Pham Duc Thuan, born October 2003, could read when he began reading a signboard while walking along the road one day.

News of the strange child, who lives with his farmer-parents in Thuan An commune in the Mekong Delta’s Vinh Long province, spread bringing curious neighbors and xe om (taxi motorbike) drivers to gawk at him.

A Thanh Nien reporter visited the family this month and saw the baby reading a newspaper.

The child could correctly and fluently read a Vietnamese-language newspaper though his pronunciation sounded like a foreigner’s.

“My son is eager to read words he sees on television, newspapers, and books but he does not understand their meaning,” his mother said.

He is otherwise normal and, like all children, is fond of playing with others.

Other similar cases

But baby Thuan is not a unique case. Local media reported about three other babies in the country who could also read at an early age without having been taught.

They are Nguyen Hung Son, born February 2002, of Long Binh hamlet, Tra Vinh city; Nguyen Dong Quoc, born September 2002, of Tan Uyen district of Binh Duong province; and Nguyen Anh Tu, born April 2003, of Pleiku city in Gia Lai province in the central highland.

All of them began to read when they were around 30 months old.

Reported by Nhu Lich – Translated by Minh Phat

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