Read Before You Buy Your Baby Can Read, Teach Your Baby, Toddler, or Kindergardener. Save money by making flash cards
I've been teaching for almost 15 years and it never ceases to amaze me when new products come out that are designed to aide parents in teaching their children (or babies) to read. A while back all you had to do was turn on the TV and you would see commercials for Hooked on Phonics, a program that was designed to help young school aged learn their letters and letter sounds. Hooked on Phonics morphed into the Phonics Game and now a new product, Your Baby Can Read, has been developed that is targeted toward children too young to be in school. I've looked into the Your Baby Can Read program and wanted to write this hub so that parents who are thinking of investing in the program can make an informed decision before spending their hard earned money on it. I also wanted to show parents alternate ways they can create their own program, designed specifically for their own child, for a fraction of the cost of Your Baby Can Read prepackaged program.
An Overview of the Your Baby Can Read Progam
The premise behind the Your Baby Can Read program is early language acquisition. Because the brain of a baby is developing rapidly between the ages of 3 months and 5 years there is a natural "window" for a child to learn languages easier and at a more rapid pace. To make this statement easy to understand just think about it this way. Have you ever shown a picture of something to a toddler and listened as they identified it? Show them a picture of a dog and the child will say "dog", or a picture of a cow and they will say "cow". That's language acquisition. Or what about reading a favorite book to a child and each time you read it they point to the pictures and tell you about them? Once again, language acquisition. It's a natural developmental process in a child. The makers of the Your Baby Can Read program have simply added additional steps to this natural progression, the written word and body movement. Instead of just seeing a picture of a dog, the child is shown the picture as well as the written word "dog". The program uses body movement to help trigger a childs memory of words. An example would be when a child sees the word "clap" they are shown a picture of someone clapping and are encouraged to clap themselves. The program uses videos, books, and flashcards to address the different learning styles of children. I've posted videos below that show exactly what is in the program and also a child using the flashcards.
It's All About Connections
Everyone's brain operates using a series of connections. When the brain is presented with new information it simply connects that information with what it already knows. The more ways that an idea can be represented-the more connections are made. The more connections the firmer the learning foundation. For example, if you are trying to teach your child his color words, show him the word for the color, show him a flashcard with the color and word written on it, point out examples of the color in the child's natural environment, give your child a box of crayons and have him identify the correct color to use to color a picture, and read him a story that contains the color word and point it out during the reading. The child's brain has been presented with five different and distinct ways the color is represented. It's what educators call "Authentic" learning. The more ways the word can be presented and represented to the child the firmer the child's grasp of that word is. The more you practice the word with your child the firmer his grasp of the concept of the color is. You can use everyday activities to accomplish the exact same results you would receive if you used the Your Baby Can Read program.
You Don't Need Expensive Programs
You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars to help your child acquire language at an early age. You don't need fancy books, or dvds, or premade flashcards. If you want to teach your child to read there are some simple things that you can do to help them. If you just put in a little time and effort into your child's language development you will see amazing results.
The first thing you can do to help your child learn to read is to read to them. When your child sees and hears you reading it reinforces the idea that words represent actual things or thoughts. If your child has a favorite story, read it to them over and over again.
Next you can use index cards to label objects in your house. Write the word "door" on an index card and place it on the door, or make an index card for the word "sofa" and tape it on the sofa. The more the child sees the word the more they will associate the object with the word. Label family pictures-put your dogs name on the picture of your dog, or grandma's name on grandma's picture.
Read household labels to your child. Show them the word "milk" on the carton of milk, or "orange juice" on the orange juice. Take the labels with you to the grocery store and have your child match the labels with the products. Cut out pictures of the groceries that are on sale at your local store and have your child locate and point them out to you. When you play either of these games with your child be sure to have them verbally identify the products. It's just another way to make a connection.
If you want to make flashcards make sure to have a picture of the word along with the written word you want them to learn. (This is a strategy used with people trying to learn a new language-the picture will initially trigger the recognition of the word. When triggered enough times the picture will become unnecessary.) The internet is a great place to download different thumbnail pictures to use on the cards. I use a special site to find pictures for my students weekly spelling words to help the children identify the words. You can also use old magazines and newspapers to find pictures.
If you want to get really creative you can make your own videos using your personal camcorder. Hold up the objects and the words that you want your child to learn and film yourself-or better yet record the child doing the same thing-what child doesn't enjoy watching themselves on TV?
These are just a few of the simple ways you can help your child acquire language and start reading. As I stated earlier, you don't need expensive programs to accomplish this, a quick trip to the dollar store and the library can get you started for very little money. If you want to spend the $200 on the Your Baby Can Read Program, then please do. Just remember the same results can be accomplished for a lot less money if you are willing to put in the extra effort.
If you aren't comfortable creating your own flashcards I've posted links to some education sites where you can purchase pre-made ones.
This is the first of what I hope to be many hubs designed to help parents help their children with their education. Check back often and if you have any specific questions-send me an email or just post a comment and I will get back to you. Thanks for visiting!
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Educational Websites and Stores
- Scholastic, Helping Children Around the World to Read and Learn | Scholastic.com
Scholastic.com, the flagship Internet portal for the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books, offers content and products for children ages 0-13 and the educators and family members who support their development.
- Lakeshore Learning Materials - Educational supplies for teachers and classrooms
Offers quality educational materials to enhance learning: teacher supplies, art materials & free resources, including ideas, activities, worksheets and more!
- Really Good Stuff - Fun and Creative Teaching Tools for Today\'s Classroom!
Really Good Stuff sells fun and creative teaching tools for elementary school classrooms.