Saturday, July 3, 2010

Early Reading Programs

I've been looking into the various early reading programs or DVD and flashcard sets for a few months now. There are so many choices and I can't decide which to try. I have started with the reading program in the book Teaching Reading to Children with Down Syndrome to introduce Matthew to sight words but I have no progress to report yet.

Below is a list of the programs (in alphabetical order) that I have encountered (but have no experience with, except for Teaching Reading to Children with Down Syndrome) in my search:

- Baby Bumblebee
- Click N Read Phonics (offers online phonics lessons.)
- Love and Learning (this reading program is designed specifically for kids with Down syndrome.)
- Monki See
- Preschool Prep Company
- Reading A-Z (an online reading program.)
- See and Learn (offers activities designed to promote the development of language, reading, speech, memory and number skills in children with Down syndrome.)
- Teaching Reading to Children with Down Syndrome (a book that provides guidelines for a language-experience approach to teaching reading.)
- The Learning Program (based in Orange County, California, this program was developed for children with Down syndrome and designed to supplement traditional education. The Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis offers reading workshops using this program.)
- Your Baby Can Read

I am particularly interested in Love and Learning, See and Learn, The Learning Program, and Your Baby Can Read so I may be exploring these more. Although some programs claim to be "the only program guaranteed to teach kids to read", I personally do not believe in the "one size fits all" philosophy when it comes to reading. Maybe I'm wrong but I think a combination of some of the methods would be more beneficial than just sticking to a single one, with the idea of tailoring the various programs to Matthew's learning style and interests.

What method(s) do you use or plan to use?

Related post:
Book Review: Teaching Reading to Children with Down Syndrome


Runningmama said...

We plan on using Love & Learning, it was highly recommended to us by our Developmental Pediatrician at the Down Syndrome Clinic.

Kimberly said...

I have the Preschool Prep Company videos and Your Baby Can Read. Both sets are fairly entertaining to my little ones (31 and 15 months, the latter with Ds). I don't recommend Your Baby Can Read because on the 5 dvds I got with the set, there are barely over 100 words and a lot of the words aren't that useful (chimpanzee and hippopotamus are two examples). I think it's useful for getting your kids to recognize that written words have meaning and giving your child a vocabulary for building on, but I don't think it's worth the money and am really not sure it's the best choice.

The words in The Preschool Prep Company series are good words that are on the 100 top sight words reading lists that I've seen in various places. It is good for learning the basics of other areas covered (letters, numbers, shapes, etc.)

I've read a lot of books on teaching your child to read and the ideas in the Woodland Press book are the same as a number of others I've read on teaching kids that aren't blessed with the extra chromosome as well, and they seem to be the same as used in the Love and Learning and Your Baby Can Read series. I created a couple of useul MS Word documents that you can use, if you wish. The two powerpoint presentations are the same but the sample is much smaller as an example. They are easy to modify for your own use instead of the pictures that I have used. The word document I used to print small pictureless flashcards (which I'll admit I haven't used) and the excel document is a collection of various wordlists that I have collected from different areas.

I can't recommend Signing Times enough, not only for communicating for your little ones and teaching sign language, but also for learning to read. There is no question that my older one has learned to read from watching these videos and was reading words and signing them before she was speaking them.

RK said...

We used Love and Learning for a while, and I wasn't a big fan. We borrowed it from our DS group in IL. It was fine, but it was so simple, I just ended up making a more fitting version. And some of the words were really odd choices for beginners, I thought. Maybe they have updated it since then.

We've just started using some of the Preschool Prep videos from the library, and the girls love them. They are picking things up very fast. So far, I'm very impressed. We're only a couple weeks into them.

The faves for the girls are still the powerpoints I made of the letters, numbers, and colors, and the sight words from the top 300 list...

Rosa said...

I got the Love & Learning program and my son said apple and A a few times, but he didn't show excitement for this program. Then, Our speech therapist brought Zoo-phonic and my son enjoys it, so we quit the Love & Learning program. He is learning the short sounds for the alphabet with the Zoo-phonic. It keeps him engaged with the alphabet since the beginning to the end. The Zoo-phonic is expensive, so I haven't gotten yet. I keep working with what we got from our SP.

I am currently using flash cards with my son and he is labeling a few pictures. I think flash cards are a good start for sight reading. According to my SP, sight reading is just recognized the word, but not necessarily the meaning of the word, for that she recommended flash cards instead of sight reading cards for now. Flash cards are working realy good for us.

I also talked to a mom in our local Down syndrome Association about her experience of teaching her daughter to ready thru sight reading; she said her daughter was able to read, but after a while she realized her daughter was recognizing the words, but not the meaning of what she was reading.

heidi marie said...

very interested to see which you choose and how it goes. i have been thinking about the same things with henry.

Laura said...

I agree that there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to reading.

When my dd was very young we used Baby Bumblee for vocabulary building. My understanding is that that is what the program was developed for. They do have some free flashcards, which we now use for reading, although I didn't think of doing that until more recently. They have both the pic & word on the same side, so I neatly print the word only, on the other side to give my dd practice reading materials printed by hand.

We started teaching out dd to read with the L&L program. By the age of 2, we realized that she knew the alphabet & most of the words in kit # 1. We also used a computer based program that allowed us to show the word & pic on the screen, or print them out as flashcards. Then I joined my local DS association & tried YBCR, & the Downs Ed program (which you can download for free on their site). We have even tried The Learning Program. Wow! it looks like a lot when I list them all! My dd learned the words in all of these programs. If I were to do it again, I would probably just use the 2 free programs. My dd seemed to learn more quickly when myself or a family member read her the words than when she watched a DVD.

You can even make your own reading materials. We do this a lot now that our dd is reading short sentances. This way we can make books about her, the family, pets etc., which keeps her more interested.

2 things that I think are important are: 1. If you are using flashcards, go quickly. I flash the cards as quickly as I can say them. Don't underestimate your son - he will learn quickly. If you go too slow, he will get bored & not want to sit for cards. 2. Always quit before he is ready, so that he is excited when you bring the flashcards out again.

The other thing that is very exciting to me is how much reading is helping my dd learn to speak. You may have seen all of my questions on the BBC DS board about this topic. Kids with DS are visual learners & what better visual cue than a written word? My dd attempts to say all of the words she reads & usually says those words more clearly than words she does not read. Since we have begun reading sentances, she has been using more sentances in her speech as well which is fairly advanced for her age. After seeing her read, our progressive SLP is even starting to use her reading to promote her speech.

My dd just turned 3 about a month ago & is reading around 200 words. Reading not only helps with every thing I have listed above, but it also has helped her learn shapes, numbers colors & more. I try to comment any time I see someone wondering about reading, because I am so amazed at how much it has benefitted my dd. When I started teaching my dd before she turned 1 year of age, I was so unsure about it that I didn't even tell my husband! It took a while before we could believe our eyes (& ears) enough to show others. We just never realized that little kids could read.

I encourage you to try one of the programs with your son - I'm sure you will be amazed too! If you have any questions, please ask away!