Friday, September 9, 2011

Let's Read

For Isla June's first birthday, we purchased the Your Baby can Read  set (thanks to a giftcard from her Pawpaw and Nonna).  I had been struggling for a while-like since before she was born- if I was going to introduce this program into our household.  And after some research and some first-hand experience, I was sold. 
The testimony that swayed me, specifically, was from a student in my classroom.  He was completely non verbal, and after a year in my class, I was only able to get some words (like 10) and some academics out of him (matching).  That summer his mom started the Your baby can Read program.  By October he was able to count to 10 and say the letters of the alphabet, and by the end of the 2nd year, he could name and recognize 16 letters.  I don't think that the video alone would have done it; it was definitely a combination of the video and my classroom efforts.  But, I think (and from Isla June's experience), the videos open up the ability to communicate.
Anywho,  I swore before I had a baby, that I was not going to have television in the house.  That was back when I knew everything about being a parent-ha.  But, I realized that the television is a necessary evil and can be used beneficially.    I read all the pros and cons about the series- it teaches whole language approach while it is proven that phonics is the best way to teach reading. 
Wanna know my opinion on that? learning isn't a one-size fits all approach.  Yes, phonics works-its proven and it is a great tool for children to learn independence in reading.  But, it teaches our children to be very slow readers.  If you had to sound out every.single.letter.in.every.single.word. yeah, you get my point.  We have to learn how to memorize whole word.  Reading at a faster pace is also correlated to enjoying reading.  The faster you can read, the more you like it.  So, my professional opinion is to teach both methods- whole language and phonics.  And the videos do that!  
Again, this is all my opinion based on my experience with teaching children to read.
And all this wordage is to say.......
Isla June read her first word today!! 
She has this book......

I think her Aunt Julie gave it to her, passed down from cousin Aidan and Annalise.  And today...she pulled it off the shelf, laid it down...and started to clap.  I was on the phone with Jeremy and looked over because I wasn't sure why she was clapping (this motion is also her version of "more").  Then I looked at the book and said, "oh my gosh, Jer, Isla June just read her first word!".  I was so happy we could both be "there" to experience it. 
This program has been great for our family.  I really feel like it, along with the sign language has opened up her ability to communicate, and realize that she can communicate with us.  She loves the flash cards and the books that come in the kit too.  Sometimes they are the only thing that will entertain her in the car.
For me, these videos help me to know that I am giving her every opportunity to learn and to grow, even when I have to resort to turning on the television.

*I was in no way compensated by the company for this post.

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