New Study Shows Bedtime Math at Home Equals Success

bedtime math app

Using Bedtime Math at home as little as once a week boosts math performance significantly, according to initial findings from a five-year longitudinal study led by University of Chicago psychologists. The findings appear in the October 9 edition of Science, a leading peer-reviewed research journal.
Bedtime Math delivers quick, engaging math story problems for parents and children to solve together, typically over a few minutes. The results found that within just one school year, children who did Bedtime Math improved their math achievement on average by three months more than children who didn’t use it. Most notably, children of the most math-anxious parents who chose to do Bedtime Math had gains of half a school year, narrowing the “math anxiety gap.”
The University of Chicago study is examining how much elementary school-age children across all income levels enjoy math, and the extent to which it correlates with performance. Research has shown that children who begin school behind their peers in math tend to stay behind in later grades. The study is also observing the effects of parental math phobia on their children’s academic performance.
“Many Americans experience high levels of anxiety when they have to solve a math problem, with a majority of adults feeling at least some apprehension,” said senior author Dr. Sian Beilock, a cognitive psychologist and the author of the book Choke. “These math-anxious parents are less likely to talk about math at home, which hampers their children’s achievement in math. Bedtime Math encourages a dialogue between parents and kids about math, and offers a low-effort, high-impact way to do it.”
“Millions of dollars are spent every year on education reforms that hope to double kids’ yearly academic gains. Bedtime Math has actually achieved that goal for some of the most math-anxious families, and at no cost to them,” said Laura Overdeck, founder of the nonprofit Bedtime Math. “The fact is, in a given year kids spend three to four times as many hours outside school as in it, so their parents have a huge effect on their learning. Parents are a child’s most important educators, and thanks to Bedtime Math, any parent can succeed at this.”

“The idea is simple yet brilliant – make math as cuddly, fun and commonplace as a bedtime story,” said a sample review on the App Store. “My daughter was annoyed the first night I introduced this to her bedtime routine, accepting the second night, and by the third night she wanted math before her story. It has completely transformed my daughter’s attitude towards math.”
The University of Chicago study, led by Talia Berkowitz and Marjorie Schaeffer, consists of 587 firstgrade families from 22 schools in the Chicago area. Families were given an iPad installed with a version of the Bedtime Math app with which parents and their children read stories and answer questions involving math, including topics like counting, shapes, and problem solving. A control group received a reading app that had similar stories without the math content and questions related to reading comprehension instead. Children’s math achievement was assessed at the beginning and end of the school year. Parents completed a questionnaire about their nervousness around math.
Study senior author and psychologist Dr. Susan Levine added, “For many families, reading bedtime stories is a regular part of a child’s nightly routine. But when it comes to math, parents widely believe that it is the responsibility of schools and they pay less attention to their child’s math learning at home. We found brief, high-quality parent-child interactions around math using Bedtime Math – just a few times a week – markedly increased children’s success in math at school.”
Bedtime Math is a nonprofit organization that has become a leader in the area of childhood math content. By providing playful, zany math problems for parents to do with their kids every day, Bedtime Math helps children achieve in math which is important for success later in life, especially in STEM careers. Whether it’s flamingos, ninjas or pillow forts, kids can see the math in their favorite topics. Parents can sign up for the nightly email, download the free app, or read one of the best-selling Bedtime Math children’s books. For more information, please visit


Credit: Bedtime Math. I have reviewed in the past and recommend highly.


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