I don’t think I ever mentioned it here, but last Christmas, my parents got Darah the dvds and flash cards that are constantly being advertised on tv to teach babies to read. My mom happened to score the entire set from someone who had purchased it from her grandkids, and the parents weren’t interested in using it. So everything was still in its original packaging, but mom got it for a really good buy!
To tell you the truth, I wasn’t super excited about the system, either. It all sounded like more of a parlor trick than something of substance that would stay with Darah forever and truly give her the ability to read. What I also didn’t like about the system was that you were supposed to let your baby watch the same 20-30 minute DVD every day, twice a day. That was more tv than we liked Darah to watch at that time (by a long shot).
But, we decided to give it a try. Darah did enjoy the videos for a while, and lo and behold, it wasn’t too long before she started reading the words on her flashcards. Even though I still didn’t feel confident about how much she had actually learned (versus memorized), even I had to admit that it was pretty cool to see a 17 month old read the word, “chimpanzee.”
But after about 3 months, Darah had been through all of the DVDs (MANY, many times) and she stopped wanting to watch them. She was bored with them. And she started resisting reading her flashcards. I think the work just got too repetitive and old to her. It probably won’t surprise you to hear that her “reading” skills started to decline, as well. Without those daily video drill sessions, she couldn’t remember as many of those words, anymore. She can still read many of them, but not nearly as many as she could when she was watching her videos, and she doesn’t seem to have nearly as much fun reading now.
So, we’ve been in a reading slump. I’ve wanted to keep moving forward with her on reading, but I haven’t known what to try. Then I learned about BrillKids, another company that has worked hard to develop a system for teaching reading skills very early. Their products are more expensive than what you find on the tv commercials, but after seeing their first semester of english reading for myself, I understand why. BrillKids is actually computer software, as opposed to a DVD. You have the option of buying just the software, or you can buy a deluxe reader kit that also contains flash cards and storybooks and other helpful resources. While the $250 price tag for the kit is tough to swallow, the sheer volume of material you receive really does blow the competition out of the water. I have just been reviewing the software alone, and what really impresses me is that a semester has roughly 6 months of lessons (meant to be taught 5 days each week). Each lesson is different! You are meant to give the lesson to your child 1-2 times, and then you move on to the next lesson. Yes, of course you will see many of the same words, but I love that they switch up their presentation so that children are not simply memorizing.
Another thing I love about BrillKids early reader software is that parents need to be involved. With the dvds, there was really no role for me in helping Darah. You just pop it in and push play. All I could help with was the flash cards. With this system, an adult is needed to click through the lesson, and you go at the speed you desire, so you can stop and have conversations about the words you are learning, you can manually use the arrows to point to the different letters in the words, and you can help make the experience much more fun. I can tell you that Darah absolutely LOVES having mommy involved with her lessons. At this age, it just feels like an extra-special treat for a parent to sit with a child and read, and I love to encourage that. BrillKids allows me to be part of the learning in a way that I just couldn’t with the other system.
If the price tag for the year’s worth of material is just more than you can handle, BrillKids does offer the software download for $150 for a semester. That might be a good way to start to check it out and make sure you like it. I can tell you after trying it for just a few weeks with Darah, I feel much more excited about the BrillKids approach to teaching reading, and I think that boredom is not going to be a problem moving forward, since the lessons always change!
Also, don’t miss the BrillKids offer of a free trial! You can score 9 days of content to check out on your computer, and you can keep it for 14 days while you decide if you want to make the investment. You’ve got nothing to lose but your fears! Definitely check it out.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary product for review purposes. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are strictly my own. This post contains affiliate links.