Friday, October 22, 2010

TOS Review: Brill Kids

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Little Reader Basic Product Description:

This reading software is designed for kids from 6 months – 3 years of age. While it is a flash card program it is run through your computer, so you and your child use the computer screen rather than paper flash cards. Daily sessions are only 2-5 minutes each.

image What Their Website Says:

With Little Reader, you can be sure to make learning ENGAGING for your child and teaching EASY for you. With its user-friendly interface and powerful functions, you'll find yourself turning into your child's first and best teacher in no time!

Can't figure out how, what and when to teach your child? Dont worry! Little Reader comes with a parent-tested and educator-approved early reading curriculum - all you need to do is follow it!

You'll always have lessons to teach for each day, from word and picture flash lessons to multisensory and Pattern Phonics™ lessons, and even short sentences and stories!

Little Reader also lets you create personalized lessons or download additional lessons on different topics and languages from the Little Reader Library at the BrillKids Forum - this ensures that your child's learning process won't stop where your reading curriculum ends.

And each Little Reader license key can be installed on UP TO 2 computers (for example, you can install Little Reader in your home desktop PC and in your laptop computer), so you can teach your child wherever you go!

And one last thing: we at BrillKids guarantee that you'll never teach alone, as our Customer Support team and everyone in the BrillKids parenting community are here to provide support and advice on how to go about teaching and using Little Reader

Product Review

As far as the product itself goes, the downloading process was fairly easy, it took a little time and seemed like a large file, but overall, self-explanatory and easy to do. There are many ways to personalize this program for your child, which is fun and always a nice touch to anything we do with our children.

Below is an example of what some of the included flashcards look like. You are able to personalize word like your child’s name, adding a picture if you’d like.

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When I asked Lexie what she thought all she could talk about were either the puppy dog or kitty cat pictures. She would sit and watch the sessions with me each day but in the few weeks that we were doing them, I didn’t notice any “reading” being done. Though 4 weeks (when our family started using the product) is not an adequate period to gauge success for this type of product.

It’s very nice that the sessions are so short, they were able to maintain her attention and while she didn’t respond or want to interact at all at first, in time she warmed up a little bit. At no point, however, did she read the words on her own.

A negative to this program for me, is that Little reader uses what is called a “whole-word approach” to learn how to read. It is basically word memorization. Brillbaby addresses the whole-word vs. phonics debate in an article here. From a personal viewpoint, I do not prefer to use this type of approach for learning how to read. The makers of Brillbaby agree that whole-word learning should not replace phonics learning. From a purely personal perspective (I am not an expert even a little bit), I believe phonics should be taught first and as the primary reading tool, though whole-word reading is eventually needed in conjunction to phonics (i.e. sight words), and in time most of us learn to read using whole-word approach (rather than phonics), however, when teaching the skill of reading I prefer to lay a solid foundation in phonics and build from there.

To Purchase

Little Reader Basic is for available for purchase for $149.00 for 1 6-month semester. For me personally, the price seems a little high, but it doesn’t seem to be that far off when comparing it to other products like it.

There is also a trial version you can try out here.

To see what my fellow crew mates are saying go here.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free, through my association with the TOS Crew, for the purpose of review. The opinions expressed are my own.

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