‘Baby Wordsworth’ DVDs -Not Really Worth it?


Irene Kim

baby-wordsworthDue to the fast development of technology and significant growth in media, parents try to find more accessible ways to educate their children. As a result, the first infant-directed DVD series called “Baby Einstein” launched. These series were made by a Walt Disney company based in California, which later on became a great hit among parents. This was a phenomenal invention and was so inviting to families,  due to the fact that they could just show videos to their infants and supposedly make them smarter. Back when my little brother was a year old, my parents would haul all the Baby Einstein DVD’s they could find on the market and played them -all day in hope of making my baby brother smarter. My parents still strongly believe that the educational videos they have shown to my brother had made a big difference when he was young. So this was an interesting topic for me to look into and see whether my parent’s belief was right or wrong.

One of these videos my brother watched was the Baby Wordsworth from the Baby Einstein Company. This video is targeted for children over 9 months and strives to improve early language development. The reason it is targeted for infants during this period is specific to language development. According to Tamis-Lemonda, a language development researcher for human psychology, infant’s language accusation starts to arise between 9 to 13 months.(2001) Starting with these months, babies start to make communication by babbling with sounds and as more time passes some words may become recognizable by the parent. Also, infants start to understand language around them during this period as well. This video is a 35 minute long video and presents 30 different types of words which are usually objects found in the house. They also show children and parents playing various activities in the house while labeling. Whenever a word is presented, the video also shows the text and introduces the sound of the text as well.


Despite the fact that the video has captivating features, many started to hold suspicion on whether the product actually worked, since intelligence is something parents cannot easily measure. Thus, many simple studies have been conducted to test the effectiveness of the DVD. A particular study was conducted at the University of California with 95 toddlers (12-25 months). These babies were randomly assigned into a control group where no DVD was assigned and a experimental group where DVDs were assigned. To compare and contrast, both groups were tested for language skills and the parents participated in completing several scales that report the infants language development and cognitive skill improvement. The experiment was continued at each infant’s house for a full 6 weeks (watching DVD, not watching DVD) and came back to the lab to do the same measurements again every two weeks.

The results were shocking due to fact that there was no such difference between the two groups. (DVD watched group and no expose group). Not only did they fail to improve, but also the infants who were exposed to these specific DVDs, closer to 12 months, have shown lower vocabulary scores. Along with this study, many other similar studies had risen up on the surface, all arguing that these DVDs had no such miraculous effect on infants language development.

In conclusion, the article here has good evidence that the ‘Baby Wordsworth’ DVD is not really worth it after all. The supposed effectiveness and specific language development that the advertisement highlights and boast about are now unsupported and flawed due the results of this specific research. In addition, the result of this research strongly suggests that children are most likely to learn a word faster and accurately from an adult than that of a monitor screen program. Although real life interaction is highly encouraged, as technology grows, more companies are going to try to develop an effective yet easy way to educate children. I personally believe that it is inevitable for children to take in technology and education bound with it. Consider just this moment, as I am writing an assignment electronically! Thus, I believe more research and more development should be done in the near future in order to harmonize education and electronics altogether.



Richert, R. A., Robb, M. B., Fender, J. G., & Wartella, E. (2010). Word learning from baby videos. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine164(5), 432-437.

Tamis‐LeMonda, C. S., Bornstein, M. H., & Baumwell, L. (2001). Maternal responsiveness and children’s achievement of language milestones. Child development, 72(3), 748-767.

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2 thoughts on “‘Baby Wordsworth’ DVDs -Not Really Worth it?

  1. Neiva Sarellano
    I’ve never heard of ‘Baby Wordsworth’ before but you wrote a detailed description as to what the show was about and what it claims to do. The results from the article were interesting, the show had no effect whatsoever to the participants. It’s really shocking how easy it is for shows to falsely claim all of these advantages it has on children’s learning. I also agree that there needs to more research on the use/exposure of electronics and the effects it has on infant/child development.


  2. Jeffrey Orrego – u0885013

    Like Neiva above, I never heard ‘Baby Wordsworth’ or ‘Baby Einstein’ up until recently actually. Perhaps the closest thing to educational videos or shows for me were Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street. However, I did not watch those shows often; Instead, I opted to watch movies like the first movie of Lord of the Rings or Gladiator. Oddly enough I feel that because of my parents presence when watching the movie and them always telling me “it’s not real, just actors in costumes” was enough to for me to know they just were. . . not real! I would think though that at 9 months the child doesn’t quite associate the word with the object in the screen, and the object in the screen with the object in real life. Children don’t even read or write until much later in life, so having the words in the screen doesn’t help one bit. Or the lines for that matter since they can’t even begin associating the symbolism represented on the line. Unless the parent was actively helping the child, and even then it is still debatable. There are studies were both DVD and parent interactions still yields lower scores than just parent-child interactions. The experiment you mentioned in the article answers that same question of whether the DVD are actually helpful or not. It is hard to think of a question for future investigation about benefits of TV shows in young children since it might get their attention, but clearly they don’t make the connections. Overall it is a great concise article describing the DVD and showcasing through an article it is plain useless.


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