Friday, October 22, 2010

Can Babies REALLY Learn to Read? (Crew Review)

 image There are a lot of programs out there that claim that you can teach babies as young as six months old to read. This is something I admit I have been very skeptical about as I have seen the advertisements here and there in the recent past. Which is exactly why I was so excited to review a really neat product from Brill Kids called Little Reader. I was enthusiastic to see how the program worked and to see how my toddler would react to the lessons.


Little Reader is a computer based program that’s designed to teach your baby (or young child) to read using a multi-sensory, interactive methodology. The software breaks each short lesson down into 3 parts: Word Flash, Multisensory, and Picture Flash. The lessons are designed to be used twice daily and are very short. Each lesson groups the word list into categories, and your child will encounter the same words over and over again, allowing them plenty of exposure to new words. The lessons are fun, age-appropriate, and engaging. There are a plethora of options available allowing you to customize the lessons by choosing at what speed the screens changes, what pictures accompany the words on the screen, and you can even program your very own voice into the lessons! I only played with a few of these options during our review period, but there are plenty of ways for you to make the program work for you and your child.

We received the download version of this program which did not come with any of the optional additional materials (such as readers and flashcards). I used the software with my 2 year old son and within the first few sessions, he was hooked and even threw a fit wanting to continue doing more of the lessons after we were finished with that days activities. I don’t feel at this point that we have been using the product long enough to actually gauge whether or not he is learning to read with it, but there were several positive things I have noticed about using Little Reader with him. First of all, he was thrilled to have something of his very own to “do” on the computer (just like the big kids). Secondly, he really enjoyed the words and pictures and videos that played on the screen as we went through the lessons, and loved repeating the words that were shown to him. I never had to coerce him into doing the lessons at all. Every day I would ask him if he was ready to do his “baby reading” and he would immediately jump up and down and say, “Yes! Baby reading!”. Third, though I sat with him through every lesson, it was very much an option for me to set the lesson up and walk away if I needed to. That was definitely a very nice perk, especially when we have several times throughout our school days when he wants mommy to entertain him, but I have to help one of the older kids with schoolwork.

One of my favorite features of the software was that it gave me the option to print off picture flashcards for any lesson I wished. I did this for a few of the first lessons and again, Joey thoroughly enjoyed “playing” with the flashcards. Using the flashcards there are lots of fun ways for you and your child to interact with the words they are encountering in the daily lessons. This was definitely a plus in my opinion.

So can this program teach your child to read at an early age? I can’t really give you a yes or no answer to this question, HOWEVER, IF it is possible for a baby, a toddler, or even a preschooler to learn to read, I can see how this program would be an excellent tool to help you reach that goal. The developers of this software have really done their research and utilized it to give you a very thorough and fun way to expose your young child to the world of words. I do think that use of the Little Reader software (along with reading to your child often and as early as possible) is a great way to introduce your child to written language and can easily see how it would give your child a head start in that area. I have now taught 2 children to read (and am still teaching one struggling reader) and can see what a benefit Little Reader could be to every parent.

If you want to learn more about Little Reader, or any other Brill Kids early learning programs, you can visit their website here. The Little Reader program is available in several formats (including the download version) and pricing starts at $149. A free trial is also available here. If you are at all curious to learn more about the Little Reader program, the website is chock FULL of informative videos, screenshots, and information for you to browse through.


image DISCLAIMER: This item was provided free for review purposes through the TOS Homeschool Crew.  I received no other compensation, and this review is our honest opinion.  Click the TOS Homeschool Crew banner above to read more reviews on this and other products by other Crew members.

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