If given the opportunity to replace the frustration of teaching a child math with the comfort and fun of reading a bedtime story, most parents would opt in quickly.
But is that even possible?
It is in the case of an app called Bedtime Math, which University of Chicago researchers found helped boost children's math scores throughout an entire year, and "eased parents' anxiety about math," Rachel Grumman Bender wrote for Yahoo Parenting.
The study involved nearly 600 first-graders whose parents utilized the app with them on a regular basis. Bender reported the app includes "short numerical story problems" that mix math concepts and a tale to keep kids interested.
The whole story part spurred success for both students and parents, Susan Levine, co-author of the study and co-director of the Center for Early Childhood Research at the University of Chicago, told Yahoo Parenting.
“Stories are very interesting to kids, and parents feel comfortable reading kids stories. This is something they normally do,” Levine told Yahoo Parenting. “Fitting math into this format feels natural. In addition, the stories show kids that math has a purpose. The stories are engaging, and the math is used to answer problems that are interesting to kids.”
And Sian L. Beilock, study co-author and University of Chicago psychology professor, told Eric Westervelt of NPR the study underscored other issues our society faces with math.
People rarely say they're not good at reading, yet even intelligent people brag about struggling with math, Beilock told Westervelt. Math anxiety is engrained in our culture, but support like the Bedtime Math app can show the subject is enjoyable and learnable.
"Integrating these sorts of counting and math activities into daily routines is a great way to socialize both kids and their parents to the benefits of math," Beilock told NPR.
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Payton Davis is the Deseret News National intern. Send him an email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter, @Davis_DNN.