“Your Baby Can Read”…or can it?: Child Development Experts Weigh In On Popular Baby Product
The Today Show recently launched an investigation of the popular product “Your Baby Can Read”, a system of flashcards, DVDs and pop-up books which boasts that it can teach children as young as two or three to read. The product, which retails for $100-$200, is available everywhere from the manufacturer’s own website to retail chains such as Best Buy and Bed, Bath & Beyond.
As part of its investigation, Today Show staff enlisted the help of child development experts from some of the nation’s most prestigious universities to assist in determining whether children who had used the product were actually able to read. The experts unanimously found that the babies or toddlers touted as being able to read had merely memorized the cue cards repetitively presented to them through the “program”. One expert, Dr. Maryanne Wolf, Direction of Neuroscience at Tufts University went so far as to call the product’s marketing “an extraordinary manipulation of facts”. The findings of Dr. Wolf and her fellow child development experts are premised on the scientific truth that while young children can recognize or memorize certain words with repetitive exposure, the brains of infants and toddlers are just not developed enough to “read” at the level that enticing television ads might suggest.
Dr. Robert Titzer, the product’s creator, maintains that the 10 experts enlisted by the Today Show are all simply “wrong” and insists that his product and its claims are backed up by scientific research. However, when asked by Today Show investigators to produce the scientific data, he provided only customer satisfaction surveys and general studies related to child learning.
While Dr. Titzer, whose PhD is in the unrelated field of human performance (motor skills), won’t disclose specific details as to how much profit the product has generated, the company claims to have sold more than a million kits. Though the popularity of “Your Baby Can Read” is undisputed, the same cannot be said for its efficacy and we invite you to share with us your personal experiences with the product.