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baby_learning(MCT)—Miami Shores, Fla., tech consultant Rudo Boothe, age 33, attributes his professional success — anyone’s professional success, actually — to having learned to read and perform basic math at age 4. So now with his own 19-month-old daughter, he makes sure to introduce those educational concepts at every turn.

From putting cans of tomato sauce in the supermarket cart to the backward countdown of the microwave timer, the duo these days is heavy into shapes and word-association.

“My attempt is to make numbers very important,” Boothe said. “Greatness is the objective. To be phenomenal at age 7.”

Boothe isn’t competitively parenting for mere sport, but rather for investing in his child’s future ability to make money — at least if you believe researchers in Scotland. Boothe, for his part, does put stock in University of Edinburgh findings that prove increased reading and math ability at age 7 will directly correlate with bigger paychecks later in life. And that these educational aptitudes are better predicators of income than even intelligence, education and socioeconomic status in childhood. American educators agree that early childhood education is critical for a lifetime of success, but offer their own proof as to why we shouldn’t dare discount the other variables.

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