Thursday, October 29, 2009
Your Baby Can Read - A Review: 1st installment
I am going to review (1st of a series) the video learning series Your Baby Can Read. This is a video series that claims that after watching (and using the supplemental materials), your baby will be able to read. Now, they don't make any specific claims (that I know of) that say that by a certain age, or after a specific amount of time, that your baby will be able to read.
The product comes with 5 volumes. Each volume comes with a 30 minute video, a flip book, the really cool flashcards with pictures that slide in and out, a slide book with words from each of the videos, and some other flash cards.
One of the claims that has not proven true AT ALL is that they say that the video can keep your kids attention for hours. Um...not in my house. I mean, both of my kids will stop watching attentively after like 10-15 minutes, depending on if they are tired or not. I usually pause the video if they stop watching, and turn it back on later if they are interested.
One of the "tips" that they give is that you should cut out all other TV from your kids lives. No cartoons, no baby einstien, no movies, etc.
Your kids watch each video 2 times a day for about a month or two (depending on the video).
They tell you on the videos that children take a long time to learn the first 20 words, but after they know about 50, they will start to actually be picking up the phonics and the letter patterns which enable them to actually read, and not just recognize words.
Ok, our experience: We have BoyD (3yrs 10 mo.) and GirlM (1yr 9 mo.)
We have been using the materials for like 6 weeks. We have gone through the first video and are watching the second. (they are actually watching it right now so that I can type this!) We don't watch TV during the week anyway, but we still let BoyD watch cartoons on Saturday morning, and we eat dinner on Sat. night in front of a movie. (this Saturday it will be Cinderella)
So, we have not followed that suggestion.
The videos have cute songs and poems that my kids love. My kids (especially GirlM) really participate in the videos. They watch them, follow along, say all the words that are printed and spoken, dance with the music, and do the directed actions. For example: the video will have written the word "nose," it says "nose," and then shows a little kid touching their nose. It will then tell the kids to "touch your nose". That part is great.
Now that we have moved on to the second video, we will occasionally watch the first video as a "review." It gives a little bit of a variety, which helps my sanity!
We also don't watch it twice a day every day. We probably do twice a day for BoyD maybe 4 days a week, and for GirlM like 2-3 days a week. Mostly they watch it while I am preparing lunch and dinner. GirlM watches less of it than BoyD, but when she watches it, she interacts with it more. Maybe that is a girl/boy thing, or maybe it is an age thing.
The other materials (that go along with the video) are FANTASTIC! I mean, I love them. The kids love to look at the flip books. The have the word printed on the page, and then you either flip it up or down (I wish that if flipped sideways) to show the image of the corresponding word. It also gives little things to do with the picture like "touch the dog's nose" or something. The sliding flash cards are fun as well. It gives the word, and then you slide out a tab and it shows the image. The kids think it is fun to play with those.
We probably look at 1-2 of those materials every day. I think that using those things really enhances what the videos show.
Our results (so far):
GirlM does not seem to recognize any of the words.
BoyD recognizes most of the words from the first video, and a couple of the words from the second. I am actually amazed! He really can look at these words, only printed, in any order, and tell me what it says. He recognizes the following words:
elephant, dog, cat, mouth, eyes, nose, gorilla, arms, arms up, hi, wave, and a few others that I can't remember. He also will put his hand over the "se" in "nose" and tell me it says "no." This was with out prompting from me. He does the same with eyes and the word yes. At this point he isn't reading per se, but he is recognizing the words w/o seeing any pictures. I think that is pretty cool!
I don't know how long it will take for him to get to that 50 word mark, but with very little effort, he is picking up words.
My current conclusion (this could change as we continue the process)
-This is a good program that seems to be working well, at least for our 3 yr old.
-Because the AAP recommends that children under the age of 2 should not watch any TV, and because BoyD is picking this up SO MUCH FASTER than GirlM, I don't think that the new baby due in Jan will be watching this until they are at least 2.
-It probably does "work" in that babies younger than my children could eventually do what BoyD is doing, but since it takes so long, and actually reading to your babies is probably better suited to them, I don't see recommending this product for 3 month old babies, like the info-mercial suggests.
-I will be using the cards/books and other materials that came with the program with the new baby, because I don't see how it can hurt!
Ok...I know that is a ton of info, but I hope it helps! GirlM will continue to watch the videos with her brother, and I will post another update in another month or two to note her progress.