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Sorry, Parents. Your Baby Isn't Learning to Read, Study Finds

Joyful mother showing images in a book to her cute little son
Photograph by Getty Images/Wavebreak Media

For all of those parents out there who think their babies are actually learning to read, a new study has some bad news for them.

Research from New York University's School of Culture, Education and Human Development finds that giving babies media programs such as the controversial Your Baby Can Read does nothing to actually improve language development and reading comprehension skills, according to The Atlantic.

The researchers examined 117 infants, aged 9 to 18 months, separating them into treatment and control groups. The kids in the treatment group received a baby media product that included DVDs, flashcards and flip books that were used every day over a seven-month period, according to the study. The control group received none of this.

"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, the study's senior author and a professor in NYU's Department of Teaching and Learning.

Turns out, the babies in the treatment group scored the same as the control group in 13 out of 14 skills, such as recognizing letter names, letter sounds, sight words and comprehension, according to the site.

Parents of kids in the treatment group, however, were unconvinced of the results. In exit interviews, the study reports, moms and dads believed their children were, in fact, learning to read and actually benefited from the program.

Baby Einstein might be genius after all.

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