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Keeping my kids engaged in learning, especially when we were trying to lay a solid educational foundation, was a lot easier when I found these DVD's. (read more)
As you've probably figured out from reading the side bar on this page, I'm a homeschooler. I have two boys, and both seemed to be equally on board the, "I hate reading" train when I started working on this fundamental with them.
Of course I read to them. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom was an absolute bed time staple in our house. I spent hours telling stories about zoos, pigs in pajamas, what a mouse will do if you give him a cookie, etc.
The alphabet was a pretty easy thing for them to remember, and somehow, in my young parenting brain, I thought everything else would come just as easily.
I had no idea.
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By the time we started tackling preschool, I was starting to understand that my oldest was having a tough time keep FUN in the phrase, "reading is fundamental".
More like "Reading is a great reason to cry." or "I'm pretty sure my mom hates me."
I knew I needed to help him, but I also knew that it was super easy for him to get frustrated when I was helping.
I mean, think about how you feel, even today as a full fledged adult, when you're trying to do something you find frustrating. If you're like me (even if you don't want to admit it) and someone you love is nearby, there's a high chance you might take your frustration out on them.
It's not that we're horrible people, or at least I don't think we are. Rather, I think it's because the people we love are our "givens". We know they're going to be there for us, even when we go a little nuts.
If there's one person you know you can freak out around, it's mom. :)
So, I needed to take myself out of the equation. This is something I found time and again with reading, which is why I wrote the post about my Amazon Rapids Review.
Go check that one out, especially if you have readers over the age of 5.
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Preschool Prep company makes DVD's geared toward kids who are learning what we'd consider the building blocks of their education.
Preschool Prep Letters
Preschool Prep Numbers
Preschool Prep Shapes
Preschool Prep Colors
Preschool Prep Sight Words
Preschool Prep Phonics
I purchased the Preschool Prep DVD set when my oldest was young (probably around three years old), but as I said, he really already knew his shapes, numbers, colors, and letters, so the main DVD's I played were, Meet The Sight Words, and Meet The Phonics.
My youngest started on the colors, numbers, shapes, and letters DVD's long before he even took his first steps.
The great thing about the Preschool Prep DVD's is that you just pop them in, push play, and go on about your day.
MEET THE LETTERS
All of the letters are a character. I'll show you a picture below.
Let's say D is a dancer. She dances all over the screen, this lovely letter D, in both upper case and lower case.
And, as she dances, the DVD says "D", "D, "D", "D".
She leaps, the DVD says "D". She twirls, "D". You get the idea. It's not in a rhythm or pattern, so your child won't get used to the beat of the letter being said. Rather it's random, and the scene is constantly moving, keeping your little one engaged as he starts to put together the sound of word "D" with the dancing D on the screen.
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Meet The Letters is actually free on YouTube for a limited time, so if the video below is working, you're in luck. You can check it out before you buy it.
NUMBERS, SHAPES, COLORS
Each of the Preschool Prep DVD's follows the same format as above. The number, shape, or color will be animated on the screen as the narrator continually repeats the name of that letter, shape, or color.
Here is an example of Meet The Numbers:
An example of Meet The Shapes:
And, an example of Meet The Colors:
MEET THE SIGHT WORDS
I'm not sure who decided what Sight Words were, or why kids needed to just know them instead of learning to sound them out, but I knew it was recommended my kids learn to recognize them by sight, so that's the route we took.
As with the other Preschool Prep DVD's, these have a group of letters come up on the screen. The letters are always doing something active. For example, I know that "My" is a whale that swims all around the screen while blowing the occasional spout of water from its blowhole.
"Of" stands there and fixes a leaky pipe.
"Play" plays a game of baseball.
Each word stays on the screen for around a minute, with a little intro and outro before moving on to the next word.
Also, at the end of each Sight Word DVD, there are sentences the TV reads to your child as a scene is acted out. The scene will be based on the sight words your child was learning in that DVD, like so:
MEET THE PHONICS
Again, same idea. Over and over, a letter sound, digraph, or blend is repeated as an animated scene takes place.
Here is an example of Blends:
Here is an example of Digraphs:
And here is an example of letter sounds. This video is also free in its entirety for a limited time on YouTube.
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LEARNING WITHOUT TEACHING
I really cannot say enough how useful this series was for my kids. I love it so much that I recently purchased the set again for my niece, who has three young girls of her own.
If you live in a house where the TV is on and providing background noise, it's just so easy to make THIS your background noise.
You will be amazed at how quickly your little ones pick this stuff up, and it's absolutely effortless.
I hope it helps!