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Baby reading claims that babies can learn how to read and that that has all sorts of benefits.
Does it work?
Basically, no. A research with 117 babies and the Your Baby Can Read program showed no difference in language development or reading skills.
Your Baby Can Read
The best known method is Your Baby Can Read from Robert C. Titzer, although this company (Your Baby Can, LLC) defaulted in 2012 due to the high costs of fighting the FTC's false advertising claims. Titzer got a $300,000 fine for false advertising in 2014 because he "misrepresented that scientific studies proved the claims". Oops!
It has since been restarted as Your Baby Can Learn. The website's footer says "Dr. Titzer and the Infant Learning Company are not affiliated with the company Your Baby Can, LLC.", which is a rather strange claim as Titzer was involved with Your Baby Can, LLC for 15 years.
Titzer often uses his Dr. and Ph.D. titles for advertising. His Ph.D. is in Human Performance, and his bio says that "he worked in infant development laboratories conducting important theoretical experiments related to infant learning" and "Dr. Titzer has become a recognizable expert in the area of infant learning and his work has been published in scientific journals". However, Human Performance is related to the study of motor skills, which is not quite the same as learning how to read. When pressed, Titzer admits that he is "not a traditional expert as far as reading, a reading specialist person. I'm looking at this from a different perspective."
Titzer has published three publications in a journal, in 1993 (a journal article), 1998 (his Ph.D. thesis), and 1999 (a single-page conference abstract). Two of those relate to baby reading; but the fact that it's published doesn't mean it's true.
- Your Baby Can Learn
- Baby Einstein
- Larry Sanger wrote a whopping 131-page essay strongly defending Baby Reading. It's long and full of anecdotes so it must be true!
- The Influence of Reminder Trials on Contextual Interference Effects by John B. Shea & Robert C. Titzer. Journal of Motor Behavior. Volume 25, 1993 - Issue 4.
- Infants' understanding of transparency: a reinterpretation of studies using the object retrieval task and visual cliff by Robert Craig Titzer. Ph.D. Thesis, Indiana University, 1997.
- Infants' and toddlers' abilities to visually discriminate written words by Robert C. Titzer. Infant Behavior and Development (1998) vol. 21, Supplement, page 722. doi:10.1016/S0163-6383(98)91935-X.