Parents The Only Ones Learning Something Trying To Teach Babies to Read -- It's That They Can't

I had those friends who bought all the Baby Einstein tapes and started using them when their babies were in utero.  And there's that commercial where two-year-olds are reading Shakespeare.

But a new study has found that these parents can no longer feel superior.  Babies cannot learn to read.

“While we cannot say with full assurance that infants at this age cannot learn printed words, our results make clear they did not learn printed words from the baby media product that was tested,” says Susan Neuman, a professor in NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Teaching and Learning and the study’s senior author, at newswise.com 

Let's face it. We all want to believe our kids are special, even gifted. (My mother always used to brag I spoke in full sentences at one.) But the truth is that, while they may be, the only ones these products have an influence on are -- parents.

In exit interviews, newswise reports, "There was the belief among parents that their babies were learning to read and that their children had benefited from the program in some areas of vocabulary development.

“It’s clear that parents have great confidence in the impact of these products on their children,” Neuman explains. “However, our study indicates this sentiment is misplaced.”
The results of tests showed no differences between the infants exposed to baby media and the control group on 13 of the 14 assessments used. The only assessment that showed a difference was parents’ beliefs that their child was learning new words despite countervailing evidence from a standardized measure indicating no differences between groups.
So parents, get over yourselves.  Your kids are no more gifted than the rest of ours -- at least, in reading young.  But love 'em anyway!


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