My Journey to the program
My journey in trying to teach my children to read began almost when my son was born. I was learning about elimination communication, and saw in passing a comment made by a parent that the reaction people have to EC is similar to that of teaching your baby to read. What?!?! That started a new searching frenzy that led me to Glenn Doman, the yahoo group
Teach Your Baby to Read, and my desire to homeschool my children went into overdrive.
Glenn Doman's writings as applied in our home have made such a big difference for our children. But the one fundamental part of the picture that was lacking was in our reading program. After a discussion about the importance of phonemic awareness and some of the damage that can be done with whole-word methods, I decided to focus on phonics from the start. At first, everything went well- my son learned his ABC's, and read a few simple words, and although that was great, I wasn't seeing the results that were typical for parents who were teaching their younger children to read.
The difference? The whole word method! Phonics was often taught later, but it was always the whole word method that got the feet in the door. It makes sense too. When a child starts putting two words together in a sentence, it is a major milestone. Tiny children have a hard time remembering more than one thing at a time, and so when sounding out the word "C-A-T", by the time they get to the "T" they have forgotten about the "C". At least this was my experience with my oldest son. He was so excited about the letters, that he struggled to think of them in the context of a word. By applying the whole-word method first, they learn about words first, they learn that the GOAL in reading is to know what the word is, and then the sentence. Perhaps I am reiterating myself, but to sum it up, I have come to be a believer in the whole word method first, phonics later. You need both to become a truly proficient reader.
The problem is, I was burned out. The idea of reading lessons for my son was a bit stressful to me, because Peter didn't enjoy most of our reading sessions. Every time we started, he would be eager enough, but soon he would become frustrated and avoid it all together. So we would wait a month and try again. Meanwhile I eyed the Your Baby Can Read program and fell in love with the interactive books and cards that come with the videos. So I sold my college textbooks (the ones EVERY vocalist should have in their library, but since I chose to be a professional mother instead…) and came up with the money to buy the whole program. Let me tell you, I have an extreme lack of buyer's remorse! It works! And the best part of all is that my children love it. They are eager for the movie, they request the book and cards, and my 3-year-old son has started bringing me his toys and asking that I help them to learn to read as well (giving him more practice. SWEET!)
How the program works for our children
In less than two weeks, we are already starting to have success. The video above is not anything amazing. He's not a whiz-kid, and I don't expect anyone to watch the video and think that he is. The point of the video is to say "This is where we are, and it's working for us". I am tickled pink with the progress that he is making, and I am so grateful for a program that has jump-started our reading program and put us back into gear. The best part of all is that he LOVES it. He now wants to know what everything says, he is brimming with confidence at his ability to learn, and he is eager to continue the journey. He can't wait for me to get out the Volume two materials, but he has to wait… I was a little bit worried that he might be too old for this method, but he's not. Life is good.
On a side note, has anyone noticed their child having a harder time with serif fonts? I read somewhere that they do, and you can see it in this video. He usually reads "elephant" just fine.
The program is working for my 22-month old as well. She isn't reading as many words as Peter, but she is reading. Then again, she isn't really talking as well as he is either. All of the vocabulary words in the movie have become some of her favorite. When I hum the theme song to YBCR, she gets excited and starts to dance. I am trying to teach her to read as well, of course, but I am focusing on Peter, and will show the videos at his rate first, going back to fill in the gaps with her later.
As for my 4-month-old baby, when he's awake he gets the reading sessions with the other kids. He is usually very attentive to the movie until it gets to "Twinkle, Twinkle", at which point he decides that breast is best. He usually watches the tail end, and loves that part too.
Application in our home
We're doing the whole program in our home. We watch the videos after breakfast, and at night. At bedtime the lights are out and the kids get to sit on "the big bed" to watch it before they go to sleep. They do not know that we've moved "lights out" time up, and they think that they get to stay up later. It is a win-win situation, and there are no distractions.
The pull-out cards are viewed when do go through our school box, the book is read during every story time, and the parent's guide flashcards are shown randomly, but at least once a day. It has been really helpful for us to connect our reading sessions to things that we were already doing.
Thank you, YBCR, for creating such a wonderful product. Whatever it is you did, you nailed it. We love the new release, and we look forward to using the Your Child Can Read videos when the time comes.