Friday, October 22, 2010

TOS Review: Brill Kids Little Reader

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As part of my participation on this year’s TOS Crew, I have been given the opportunity to review the Little Learners Reading System by BrillKids.

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What is it?

Little Reader is a software system designed to teach your baby or young child to read, that “delivers lessons in ways never before possible, making reading engaging for your child and easy for YOU”.  Here is an example of the screen for a typical lesson.

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According to their website, Little Reader is different because…

1)The lessons are never the same
There is immense variety in the lessons.  The lessons are presented with different fonts, styles, pictures, audio and video so that your child is never bored.

2) It has a comprehensive curriculum
Little Reader uses 2 methods: the flash (right brain) method and the multisensory method. It claims to provide visual, auditory and kinesthetic stimulation.  The key to success however, is parental interaction.  Parents are encouraged to engage with their child throughout the lesson.

3)It offers personalization
Parents have the opportunity to customize almost every lesson. For example, you can download a picture of Uncle Jon when the word “Uncle” is presented.

4)It is easy to use
That is always good news for busy moms!

Apparently, there are two other components to the program that I didn’t get to review: the Presentation Binder and Little Reader Storybooks.  You can find videos with more information about these components on YouTube. 

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My Impression:

Since my youngest is almost 2 1/2, I didn’t really have an authentic “baby” to try this out on.  However, my son is a little delayed in his speech and I saw a golden opportunity with this program to expose him to language in general.

Every day, for a few minutes at the beginning and end of each day, we did a lesson. The lessons consist of 3 parts: A, B and C.  He seemed to really like the 1 on 1 time with mommy doing the computer. Even my 3 year old wanted to do it! He smiled when the pictures and words flashed across the screen and seemed to enjoy the program. Did it work? Hmmm. Well, it didn’t teach him to read unfortunately. But it DID encourage him to “use his words” to communicate. I would often ask him to say the words (which I’d never heard him say before) and much to my surprise, he could say it. That part was exciting.

I found the program to be a little sparse in content-at least without the other 2 components.  As far as teaching a baby to read, I really can’t comment on if this program would work.  I find it a little hard to believe (esp. as a former educator) that babies can authentically learn to read this way. This program seems to rely on memorization and since I’m a big believer in phonics, I have doubts that they would retain what they’ve memorized. Of course, that’s just my opinion and their website claims otherwise.

Click here to see what others are saying about Little Reader!

How Much Does it Cost?
Little Reader starts at $149 and goes up from there depending on which package you choose. Click here for  ordering info. Pictured below is the deluxe kit for $360.

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Disclaimer: I was given this software free in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the TOS Crew.

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