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Parents, Kids & Math

October 12, 2015

An educational app helps parents with math anxiety help their kids excel in the subject.


8434233996_2599f38315_z Intel Free Press flickr cc by sa 2.0

Engaging with children around number concepts at home could help prevent them falling behind in math at school. (Intel Free Press/CC BY-SA 2.0, via flickr)


Parents, kids, and math. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

We all know that reading to our kids at home encourages literacy. But we usually leave math to their teachers.

TALIA BERKOWITZ (University of Chicago):

There is this big push to have parents work on literacy with their children. And there isn’t a message being sent to parents that math is something parents can help their kids learn.


University of Chicago developmental psychologist Talia Berkowitz is trying to change that. She and her colleagues had first graders and their parents use an educational app called “Bedtime Math” together just a few times per week. It features fun stories and related math questions, without the distracting noises typical of many kids’ apps.


And what we found is that the more parents and children used the app, the higher childrens’ achievement on a math assessment at the end of the school year.


The researchers report in Science magazine that the greatest gains were in students whose parents had high levels of math anxiety. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.