As part of my efforts to teach Gavin how to read, I bought him the 5-set “Your Baby Can Read” DVD series.
We’ve worked our way through the first four DVDs, although we’ve only played them once or twice each. At this point, I’m not entirely sure how much Gavin has learned because I haven’t tried testing him. I’m trying to resist the temptation to test him because Glenn Doman, one of the pioneers in baby education, wrote in his book “How to Multiply Your Baby’s Intelligence” that testing tended to have negative effects on a child’s learning development.
Nevertheless, I have a strong suspicion that Gavin hasn’t learned how to read anything from either the DVDs or our current efforts to teach him how to read. The only words I know with certainty that he can read are “Thomas”, “Gordon”, “Henry” and “Percy”. Sadly, I cannot even include his own name into the list! Maybe I should have named him Thomas instead!
Now that we’ve seen the DVDs, here’s what we think:
Gavin seems much more interested in viewing his “Your Baby Can Read” DVDs as compared to the Tweedlewink DVDs. When I put on one of the DVDs from “Your Baby Can Read”, he actually comes to sit next to me to watch it. He also responds to the verbal cues on the DVD and sometimes repeats the words as they are spoken by the voice-overs.
I think I should reiterate that the Tweedlewink series is about expanding your child’s knowledge, whereas “Your Baby Can Read” is purely focussed on teaching your child to read. That said, the styles of presentation are very different. Tweedlewink is very much like flashcards being presented on a TV screen. The voiceover is flat and fairly monotonous. The alpha-wave background music, while intended to increase brain receptivity, is somewhat like elevator music.
“Your Baby Can Read” is much livelier. Although the style is still somewhat reminiscent of flashcards on TV, the visual images are in video as opposed to a picture being flashed onto the screen. The presentation of “flashcards” are also interspersed with songs like “Incy Wincy Spider”, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Old McDonald”, which are catchy and entertaining.
There is a lot of repetition and overlap of words across the DVDs, which I am sure is necessary, however it also means that not a lot of material is covered. The presentation of material is also rather haphazard and lacks structure. It is almost as if they picked a bunch of words that they figured babies are most likely to use and concentrated only on those words. This is very different from Glenn Doman’s “How to Teach Your Baby to Read” where words are grouped into categories, such as body parts, possessions, objects around the house, etc.
The DVDs offer a good introduction to reading, but I don’t really think they serve well as a complete reading program. If you really want to teach your baby to read, you need to do more beyond simply playing the DVDs for him.