Friday, October 22, 2010

Brill Kids - A Review

Product: Little Reader Basic

Price: $149 (1 semester) / $199 (2 semesters)

Company: Brill Kids

To Purchase: Little Reader

Age Range: 1 semester - 6 months old / 2 semesters - 12 months old

Other Products:
Little Reader Deluxe
Little Math

Little Musician -
To be released soon

Brief Overview:
Ideal for babies and young children, Little Reader is the most effective learning system for teaching your child to read. At the heart of Little Reader is a revolutionary software system that delivers lessons in ways never before possible, making learning ENGAGING for your child, and EASY for you. - from the website

In-Depth Look:
I have a 23-month old daughter. We have been using this program together on a regular basis. The recommendation is to use the program for 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening.

It is intended to be a joint effort. Don't sit your toddler in a booster chair to watch it alone. Instead, sit there with your child and interact with her while watching the lesson.

Choose the day that you are on; then choose Part 1 or Part 2. The lesson will walk you through the steps as you click the mouse or press the spacebar (depending on the option you choose).

Let's take the example of the word: POINT. The screen will display and say the word: POINT. Then it will show a girl with her hand extended pointing and say something like, "Can you point?". Then the next clip is a short video of a girl putting her arm up and down in the "POINT" position, while asking your child to do the same.

Another example would be the word DOG. It will show the word DOG. The next screen shot is of a DOG and you will hear the dog bark. Next is a short video of a different dog.

An important thing to mention is that the software has a couple of pictures and videos for each word. So there isn't just one picture of a child eating. There are a few pictures of different children eating. Then the videos are more different children. Some are real people and some are cartoon-like people. This is important because you don't want them to only associate the word to one image. Eating isn't just when that one person puts food in his mouth. Eating is when anyone puts food in their mouth.

Same as with items like CAT. Little Reader uses more than one picture and video of different cats, so the toddler doesn't just associate CAT with that one little white fur ball in one picture.

Another key factor is to progress through the screen shots quickly. The instructions mention that this is important to the success of the program. During most of the lesson, this is up to you since you click to move to the next image. But during the review part, the lesson will quickly proceed through the words of the day on its own.

When it is time for my daughter and I to use Little Reader, I tell her it is time for her to do school and ask if she wants to. She says "Yes" and comes over and hops in my lap. We go through the lessons for that day a few times, because she enjoys it and asks for more. I stop before she is tired of it because I don't won't it to be a chore for her and I also don't know if it is just too much information at one sitting for her.

Does she enjoy? Oh yes! She sits still and watches and listens and interacts. When the program says, "Can you stand up?", up she stands.

When it asks, "Can you sit down?", down she sits. It is so cute when Little Reader asks her to laugh, because she does. It is funny because she isn't laughing because something was humorous. She is laughing simply because the lesson asks us to.

Is she learning? Yes! She has gotten to review and practice words that she already knows. She has learned some new words and their meanings.

Is she learning to read? I honestly don't know. It is too early to tell at this point. But I do think that she will learn to recognize these words in the near future.

I enjoy this program. My 23-month old daughter enjoys this program. I intend to continue using Little Reader all the way through the 2 semesters of lessons. I am excited to see the results. I look forward to hearing my little one read these words within the next year at the age of 2.

Please note: Little Reader is only compatible with Windows.

To see other reviews, click here.

Disclaimer: I received Little Reader Basic free of charge, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.


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