Robert Titzer

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Robert C. Titzer
Born June 1960 (age 54)
Alma mater San Diego State University
University of Southern Indiana
Pennsylvania State University
Indiana University Bloomington
Occupation Academic

Robert C. Titzer (born June 1960)[1] is an American professor and infant researcher. In a settlement of a compalint of false advertising made by the FTC he was fined $300,000, and prohibited from making certain claims or using the product name “Your Baby Can Read.”[2]

He has been a professor, teacher, and public speaker on human learning for around 20 years, and has taught his own children to read using the multi-sensory approach that he developed.[3] He is the founder of the Infant Learning Company, a company that produces learning products for infants.[4]

Education and degrees[edit]

Titzer received his teaching credentials from San Diego State University. In the late 1980s, after receiving his credentials, Titzer taught at public schools in Guam and California. In 1985, he earned a communications degree from the University of Southern Indiana and later, he completed a Master of Science degree from Pennsylvania State University and received a doctorate in human performance from the Indiana University Bloomington.[5] At Bloomington, he did experiments in infant learning at developmental psychology laboratories. During his tenure as professor at Southeastern Louisiana University, Titzer developed a program to teach toddlers to read.[6] He has also been a professor at three additional universities, which are Pennsylvania State University, Indiana University, and California State University, Fullerton.[5]

Publications[edit]

A search of the PsychINFO database reveals three publications which include Titzer as an author. He was one of four co-authors of a paper which was published in Psychological Review; the paper was published in 1999 and was titled "The Task Dynamics of the A-Not-B Error". The other two citations in PsychInfo include his dissertation, which concerned the infant's understanding of the visual cliff; and a paper he co-authored in 1993 entitled "The influence of reminder trials on contextual interference effects."

Occupation[edit]

In 1997, Titzer began selling "Your Baby Can Read!" videos. By 2003, around 60,000 had been sold.[7] In April 2011, a complaint was filed with the FTC against the company selling the Your Baby Can Read product. The complaint, by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said the company's claims were false and deceptive. In July 2012, the company folded, citing the high cost of fighting legal battles.[8]

Criticism[edit]

Some experts have criticized Titzer's videos as being suspect because they lack rigorous scientific review and are commercial products.[1] Some also question the use of videos as a tool for infant learning.[1]

In November 2010, Jeff Rossen and Robert Powell of NBC's Today wrote: Titzer "calls himself an infant learning expert but actually holds a graduate degree in 'human performance' — the study of motor skills."[9]

Several doctors criticized the videos for promoting rote memorization instead of actually reading. Maryanne Wolf, Tufts University's director of cognitive neuroscience, said: "It's an extraordinary manipulation of facts."[9] Today interviewed ten experts who affirmed that the brains of babies and toddlers had not attained the requisite development to read at "the level the way the enticing television ads claim they can".[9] Titzer argued against these claims, saying that scientific research bolsters the effectiveness of Your Baby Can Read.[9]

On August 22, 2014, a press release from the Federal Trade Commission related the following: "Your Baby Can Read creator, Dr. Robert Titzer, and his company, Infant Learning, Inc. d/b/a The Infant Learning Company have settled charges that they made baseless claims about the effectiveness of the Your Baby Can Read program and misrepresented that scientific studies proved the claims." See Defendants Settle FTC Charges Related to “Your Baby Can Read” Program at http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/08/defendants-settle-ftc-charges-related-your-baby-can-read-program?utm_source=govdelivery<refname="Defendants Settle FTC Charges Related to “Your Baby Can Read” Program"/>.

Personal[edit]

Titzer and his family live just outside of San Diego, California.[5][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Gale, Elaine (August 29, 1998). "Too Young To Read?; Education: Robert Titzer Says He Can Help Parents Teach Even Infants How with His Videotapes and Books". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 23, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2009. 
  2. ^ Morran, Chris. "Creator Of "Your Baby Can Read" Program Settles False Advertising Charges". Consumerist. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Koay, Allan (June 8, 2007). "Window of Opportunity". The Star. Archived from the original on October 23, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2009. 
  4. ^ Brackemyre, J (2005). On Target. Joplin, Missouri: College Press Publications. p. 55. ISBN 0899009409. 
  5. ^ a b c "Teaching Baby To Read". WLS-TV. June 13, 2006. Archived from the original on October 23, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2009. 
  6. ^ Ludwig, Jason (June 15, 2007). "Expert: Your baby can read". Ahwatukee Foothills News (Freedom Communications). Archived from the original on February 17, 2008. Retrieved February 27, 2009. 
  7. ^ Salmon, Jacqueline L.; Matthews, Jay (March 3, 2000). "'Smart Baby' Products Reeling In Parents". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 27, 2009. 
  8. ^ http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jSEkrE2pSHB1JFm3HNs76z-DKcBg?docId=e726800f7650410aa4cda054f7a082ba
  9. ^ a b c d Rossen, Jeff; Powell, Robert (November 1, 2010). "'Your Baby Can Read' Claims Overblown, Experts Say". Today. Archived from the original on June 16, 2011. Retrieved June 16, 2011. 
  10. ^ Shaulis, Sherri L. (June 28, 2002). "Even Babies Can Read, California Researcher Says". The Vindicator. Archived from the original on June 2, 2010. Retrieved June 2, 2010.