Hello all, thought I'd write a review of my own on this since I've had some ask us about it. We bought Maggie the 4 DVD version of Your Baby Can Read for Christmas this year. She has been wanting this program since she and I first saw the commerical about a year ago. I held off because I've had many tell me how inferior learning to read using the whole words approach is and how superior using phonics only is. To be honest I'm not sure why I listen to other people. If and when I do, I, for the most part get some kind of resistance from my children. Plus I thought maybe Maggie would take to the phonics approach like Katie and Hannah did. Alas, she has not and Lord knows we tried, but I'm finding that the Your Baby Can Read approach works much better for her.
We began the program on 12/31/10 so we are only really 5 days into the program now. From what I have witnessed with Maggie is nothing short of a reading miracle. Even that first day she was learning to read words. After her second viewing she knew how to read about 2 or 3 words. We are on day 5 and she knows about 14 of the 22 words on the first DVD. This is with making our own flashcards and using them, randomly giving her words to make sure she just isn't memorizing the words in order and so on. I can see us going through this program much quicker than the schedule allows for the program.
Your Baby Can Read is geared towards children ages 3 months to 5 yrs of age. The 'window' of opportunity in teaching children to read. Dr. Titzer is the creator of the program and I was able to watch a little bit of the Workshop DVD before it went all wonky on me. I'm not sure if there is a scratch on the disk or what but I didn't get to see it all unfortunately. The program was actually created out of love. Dr. Titzer found he wanted something stimulating for his daughter while she was in daycare during the day. So he created a video and learned himself that she was learning from them. So he turned his focus away from adult learning to how infants/toddlers learn. You can go onto the Your Baby Can Read website and see testimonies from parents and watch their young children actually read. These are real people with real testimonies. In all actuality the idea isn't really a new one at all. This has been common knowledge in China. Dr. Titzer described how he was once a judge in China for a baby reading contest. That they literally hold contests with young babies and children in reading. So here is my run down of the program: The Your Baby Can Read comes in sets that contain 3 to 5 DVD's. The set with the 5 DVD's is the full program of Your Baby Can Read. Walmart carries the 3 and 4 disk program. They also carry one volume each on Walmart.com (some Walmarts may have these in store as well)if you just want to give the first one a try. Your Baby Can Read website , Ebay and Amazon.com carry the 5 DVD sets. The kits come with a Parent Guide, Workshop DVD, 3 to5 boxes of sliding word cards, 3-5 books and if you have the full set already made flashcards.
The program works like this: Your child watches the 1st DVD, twice a day, every day for a full month. After a few weeks of watching the DVD you can pull out the cards and books. Now of course this depends on the age of the child. An older child can really start using the books and cards the very first day versus a young child who may need those few weeks for the words to soak in. We used the DVD, the cards and the book the very first day. It also says for your child to watch the video twice a day for a month. Again depends on the child. I've heard of little ones blowing through all 5 DVD's in as little as two to three months, and some have needed to follow that full month schedule. Just remember to follow your child's lead. Depending on the age of the child you will watch DVD's 2 and 3 ever day for two months. An older child ages 3-5 can go through each DVD in a month if they need to. Of course again this all depends on your child. After 5 days doing the 1st DVD I can comfortably say that I will start DVD 2 this Friday with her ( that will be 1 week from where we started). Of course you have to slide in DVD 1 during the next week. You continually review the other DVD's as well. You don't use one then leave and go to another. How are we using it? Just like the guide suggest. Watch the DVD twice a day ( though since she has started school I have only been able to do once a day with her, and I'll do them twice on the weekend. Then after she is finished watching the DVD we play some card games or use the books and read those. It doesn't take us long and its a good thing while she has 'potty time' and has to sit on her potty for a while. I'm hoping this schedule will work just as well as watching it twice a day everyday. I did try to see if she'd watch the video before school but she wasn't up to that. So we just played card games. Maggie also likes to write the words on her dry erase card that comes with the sliding word cards. The sliding word cards are really neat. Maggie likes them because she can see the word first then slide a picture of the word on the side of the card if she forgets. The book does the same thing pretty much. It shows the word , then you open a flap and the picture is on the inside. The program is not time consuming, but it does involve parental involvement. You can let your child watch the DVD but you need to follow up with the flashcards and reading the books along with your child. In the end Maggie is reading about 14 of the 22 words from the 1st DVD.
Maggie 4 years 5 months, reading words on 1/4/11(words are randomly given)
and loving it. My plans are to let her do this program, then go on to Your Child Can Read, and follow that up with Preschool Prep I'll also throw Starfall.com in there , Progressive Phonics and Literactive to finish it off with some phonics. The Your Baby Can Read does teach phonics but with the idea that your baby will and can figure out the phonics patterns. It also includes phonics teaching ideas in the Parent's Guide. So its not a totally whole words approach.
My opinion is I think this program gets children off to a great start in reading. The younger you can start them the better off they are. I wished I had known about it when Marilyn was little and was able to start Maggie sooner with it. The program really does work and is well worth the money.
I also had a few people ask questions about the program, here are my answers:
Q: How do they do the program?
A: The child watches the DVD. The DVD's show the word, has a little pointer that goes under the word, twice, then they show a short clip of a child, animal, ect doing some kind of action with the word. For instance the first word on DVD 1 is "hi" they show and say the word twice, then show a short clip of a little boy named Grahm and he says " Hi, my name is Grahm and we're going to learn to read!" And the video goes on. There are about three breaks in the video. Two of them will have familiar songs. Such as Twinkle, twinkle little star, and Itsy Bitsy Spider while they flash the words to the song on the screen with cute video. Then there is one poem in the video , the first one has " The Zoo" with a child reading the poem as the words and pictures are shown on the screen. Maggie really likes these a lot. They are still learning but don't realize it. There is a schedule for the different age groups in the Parent's Guide that it comes with.
After they are finished with the DVD , depending on the age of your child , they can can use the slider cards, flash cards and books that go along with the DVD after that day or in as long as a few weeks after starting the DVD. That's about it. No fuss, no muss. It really doesn't take long to do at all. And the reward is great.
Q: Can I use this with my hearing immpaired child?
A. At first I wasn't so sure but I think I can say you can. With some modification on your part. Young babies I've seen as small as 9 months on video reading and they aren't verbal yet. So they use simple signs to relay that they know what that word is. Of course they can hear the video so it doesn't take to much effort on the parent. With that said I'm sure that the parent would have to sit there and reinforce the signs. So I would say , yes you can use this program but you the parent will have to sit and show your child the proper sign for the word. Once they start learning the word and know the sign I can say you can sit them in front of the video on their own. There is also a company that has videos to teach children ASL and they have the word, a picture, etc. The name is called Signing Time you could also create flashcards and make your own books to go along with it and it would be the same as Your Baby Can Read. Either way if you want to put the time and effort to modify it, you can do it !
Q: What is included in the package?
A: The complete pacakge that you can get off the Your Baby Can Read website, Ebay and Amazon.com is a 5 disk program. This program comes with the 5 DVD's, 5 books, 5 sets of sliding card, parent guide, parent workshop, and flashcards.
If you buy the sets from Walmart they usually come in either single volumes that only include the DVD and sliding words cards, or they also sell the three disk version and 4 disk version(what we have) and they come with the DVD's , books, sliding cards set and workshop. This does not contain disk 5 volume or the premade flashcards. Either way , it can get you up and going. Just depends on how much you want to spend. The complete kit from the website costs around $200.00, you can go to Ebay and find it for less and even Amazon.com. I wouldn't worry about getting costumer service or anything. As great as a product this is , they unfortunately have a really bad customer service problem that I hope at some point will be addressed. So get the program whereever you can for whatever you can afford.
This Review is linked to Homeschool Curriculum Review Round Up