Monday, May 9, 2011

Can Your Baby Learn to Read? - A New TOS Review!!

Recently I was given a chance to review a product that is mainly for my littlest, who is only 2.  MonkiSee is an educational program that includes DVD's, books, and flashcards to help babies (age 3 months) through the age of 3 learn to read.
The Product:For the review, I received the Baby's First Words DVD as well as the Know Your Monkey paperback book.  First I'm going to tell you about the book.

The book is "paperback", but with glossy, high-quality pages that can withstand a toddler (or a baby for that matter) twisting them, turning them and otherwise man-handling them.  There are pictures of the monkeys (Howie and Skip) from the video and about 25-30 words that are also mentioned within the DVD.  The words are located on the first page and then the next page has pictures of the monkeys focusing on the words from the previous page.

The DVD includes the feature show which is about 30 minutes in length, a slideshow of the 40 words from the show, as well as a Parent Guide.  The creator, Krista Guerrero, and also a homeschool mom of six, designed this program after reading a book called "How To Teach Your Baby to Read."  You can read more about her story and the creation of MonkiSee here.  Krista tells you for best results to watch the DVD at least 5 times a week as well as reading the book and working with the flashcards at different times of the day to allow several exposure times to the information.

Our Experience:
Since this was a shorter review period then the estimated "month or so" preferred for the program, I made sure we got to watching the DVD as soon as possible.  I even watched it on several occasions with other children both within the age rage and outside the age range.  My older girls and another little boy I watch (who is also 5) enjoyed watching the show.  They thought the animals, puppets, and children were all delightful and there were many times of giggling and laughter.  But all of my older ones are at least pre-reading if not reading full out.

My son, as well as two other children (one 2 and one 3) also enjoyed the DVD.  They found it captivating and most times would sit and mimic whatever words were said.  My son, who had the most exposure to the DVD (at least 5 times per week) has not really shown much in the way of recognition of the words.  He LOVES the video and also enjoys the little "intermission song" with Skip and Howie.

Seanan also loves the book. When we read the book together he is always interacting with the words by finding the body parts on himself as well as pointing them out on the monkeys.
Now I know that some of you may not be interested in the 'whole word" or 'sight word' style of reading, but I am all for testing things out and making my judgments later.  And when someone offers you a ONE YEAR GUARANTEE on their product, that shows complete confidence, and that's exactly what MonkiSee has done.  You can buy their product and if you are not satisfied in a year contact them and let them know. 

My Thoughts:
One thing I found that I did not like was the lack of printed words on the screen.  The words would be flashed in red in a large easy to read font, but not every time the word was spoken.

I also thought there were too many ancillary items in the clips that were more of a distraction for the intended viewers/learners.  For instance, the word nose, one of the clips has a dog puppet sniffing (with his nose) in a pile of mulch looking for his bone.  Every time my son (and the other younger learners in my house) see this clip they don't say nose.  They say dog and bone because that is the predominant focus.  The older kiddos recognize that the dog is sniffing with his nose for the bone.

I did like the fact that on their site they have a whole page of resources, as well as FREEBIES - some flashcards you can print.  So for now, the verdict is still out on this one.  I'm not sure if he will begin to read earlier because of such focused exposure, but since he likes the video and the book I will continue to "test" the product. 

You can check out the  DVD MonkiSee Baby's First Words which is available normally for $24.95 but is on sale for $19.95.  They also have two other DVD's,  MonkiSee All About Colors and MonkiSee All About Shapes each also avaiable for the same price.  There are two books Know Your Monkey and Monkey Likes the Color ... are regularly priced at $11.95, but are currently on sale for $9.95.  For those of you who think that this product is for you then be sure to check out the Reading Kit, which is available for just $139.95 and free shipping.

You can also read what other Crew members thought about this product by visiting the TOS Crew page for MonkiSee.
*** I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of money for any of my reviews. My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences with the products and services that I receive.***

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