Big Brother typically watches 30-45 minutes of TV each day, sometimes a little more and sometimes none at all. It is a convenient distraction when I am trying to get ready in the morning or prepare dinner in the afternoons and can’t give him my undivided attention. Although I believe that hands-on experiences will ALWAYS trump any multimedia learning (including TV and video games), I do believe that technology can be a resource to help children over the age of 2 learn various concepts. Like all things, however, moderation is key.
The Preshool Prep Company sent me the first “Meet the Sight Words” DVD to review. Sight Words (also known as high-frequency words) are words that children should learn to automatically recognize about the time that they are starting school or when first learning to read. Automatic recognition of sight words is just one component in a balanced literacy program. The purpose of having children learn to automatically recognize some words is because many of these words don’t play by the phonetic rules and therefore children cannot “sound out” the words to read them. They also tend to occur frequently (examples: a, and, the, of, is).
I was somewhat familiar with this company because we have the “Meet the Colors” DVD already that Big Brother really enjoys. The DVD series relies on repetition to help teach your child–the sights words are repeated throughout the video and those words are the only words spoken. They also show the sight words in different sizes and fonts while repeating the word aloud over and over. After introducing the sight word in print, it then switches to a type of cartoon involving the actual word doing an action. Even though I honestly feel that Big Brother is too young to learn sight words, I let him watch it with me. He loved it and has watched it a couple times since! Here is what I really like about this video:
- At the beginning of the DVD, there is a short introduction for parents on what exactly sight words are. I especially appreciated the part in the video where the announcer said, “Even if your child recognizes sight words, this does not mean she can read.” Sometime we equate memorization for knowledge and understanding–this is not usually the case!
- There is a setting on the DVD that allows you to just show a few words at a time–perfect for classrooms or short sight word practice.
- The “characters” (sight words) are entertaining and captivating for young children!
- You can change the sight word “a” to the way we actually write (and teach) the letter “a” or you can have it be the printed “a” that is seen in books.
I wish this DVD would have been available when I was teaching! I would have loved to recommend it to some of the parents of my students who struggled with sight-word recognition.
Something I’m not crazy about, though:
- This DVD is labeled appropriate for 15 months-6 years. I personally think that this is not developmentally appropriate for a 15-month old child. In my humble opinion, children do not need to learn sight words until they have already learned all of the letters and the sounds. Therefore, I would recommend this DVD being geared for children 4-7 years of age.
In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states here that,
The good news for your child between the ages of 2 and 4, however, is that Preschool Prep has other DVD’s too–on letters, numbers, shapes, and colors! So even though this particular video might not appeal to your younger child, these others probably will. Big Brother loves the “Meet the Colors” DVD!
I also had my sweet friend Rachel, a former 2nd grade teacher who now has a 4-year old daughter and 2-year old son, preview the movie with her kids and give me her feedback as well. Her 4-year old loved it and watched the entire thing, paying special attention to the scenes and characters and concentrating more on those than the actual words. Her son watched the first 2 words and then lost interest. She felt that the video was a very creative tool that older preschoolers and kindergartners could definitely benefit from. She agreed with me that the appropriate age would be 3-4 years and up. She also commented that it would probably take multiple viewings of this video to actually “memorize” the sight words.
Bottom Line: I think ”Meet the Sight Words” is a wonderful and creative resource for parents of children 4 years and older. Make sure it is just one way that you help your child learn sight words though–young children need lots of exposure in a variety of different settings. Other ways you can help your child learn sight words is by pointing them out while reading or making up games involving sight words (like BINGO).
Would you like to enter to win a “Meet the Sight Words” DVD for your child? Just enter your name and e-mail address below and I will randomly choose a winner on Monday morning (9/27). I simply ask that if you don’t already follow I Can Teach My Child on Google, subscribe via e-mail, or “like” us on Facebook…please do so prior to entering. Thank you!