Follow our family as we journey through life.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Product Review: Brill Kids Little Reader

Did you know that it is possible to teach your baby to read? Well it is! With Brill Kids Little Reader, not only will your baby be reading, but you will have the satisfaction of being the one to teach her!

Little Reader is a revolutionary software program designed to engage your little sweetie in the process of learning. The program encompasses daily lessons over a 12 month period that increase in difficulty while reflecting on materal already covered. Each lesson is different so that your child maintains interest. Many of the lessons and flashcards are able to be personalized with pictures of familiar people and objects.

The ready-made curriculum is easy for an adult to follow. The program really stresses the important fact that the best teacher for your baby is: YOU! Keeping that in mind the program is designed to be user friendly and engaging for both parent and child. You can customize the program to fit your needs.

The daily lessons use flashcards, repetition, visual aids, movement, and sound to help your baby learn. The program has a computer component, but it also includes tons of physical materials to help expand your child's learning. The company is continuously finding ways to make your job easier and they have just introduced a new BINDER SYSTEM to help keep your materials organized and ready to use.

Brill Kids Little Reader comes with two options to buy. The Basic Edition starts as low as $149(plus shipping) , and the Deluxe Edition is $360 (plus shipping). Not sure you want to commit? Brill Kids Little Reader offers a 14 Day Free Trial so that you can witness the results yourself before you purchase. Click Here for more information about the free trial.

In addition to the Little Reader Program, Brill Kids offers two other programs for young children. Little Math and Little Musician seem similar to Little Reader in teaching techniques; utilizing the parent as the main (and best) teacher for baby. Little Math starts at $119 (plus shipping), but can be purchased as a bundle package with Little Reader for as low as $222. Little Musician is still in the development process and pricing information is not yet availible. Click here for all pricing information on Brill Kids products.

What makes this program worth it:

*It was well-organized and easy to follow.

*The program adapts to the ever-changing ability of your baby.

*Lessons are never the same.

*Website is clear and easy to follow.

*Customer service seemed great! Although I never had to access help from the company, it was easy to find support on the website. From the help center you can ask other parents who are using Brill Kids, ask questions at the help desk, view the user manual, view some video tutorials, or contact Tech Support.

*There are a ton of reviews from parents who have had success using this program. These reviews serve as motviation and encouragement to find ways to make the program work for your family.

Why the program was not a good fit for us:

*Daily Lessons. It was only ten minutes five days a week, but it was still hard for my family to commit to such a rigorous program especially with baseball, gymnastics, Boy Scouts, co-op, art and science classes, homeschool subjects, and just regular everyday life.

*I have advanced degrees in child development and early childhood education and it was difficult for me to get over the fact that whole language approach to reading is not appropriate when taught alone, even when used on babies and toddlers. The program address this issue and said that the phonetic approach will occur naturally as your baby begins to vocalize, but I did not think that this was addressed enough throughout the program. Some phonetic instruction is included as your baby advances and the company does address this issue here.

*Cost of program.

*We don't let our children watch television or play video games, and I didn't like the idea of having my baby or toddler in front of the computer.

*I still don't really see the benefit of teaching my toddler to read, especially when early reading has not been linked with future school success. On the contrary, it has been shown that children who read early "average out" with their like-aged peers in third or fourth grade. There are definite proven benefits of instilling a love of reading and learning in your child from an early age, as well as numerous benefits of reading aloud to your babies and children.

*I don't runderstand the why of "Why would I want my baby or toddler to read?" Especially when there are numerous other life skills that young children must master. Brill Kids does address this issue. Click here to read what they have to say.

My final thoughts

Although not a good fit for my Montessori-based, Charlotte Mason inspired, classical homeschooling family, I know of several families that desire these types of programs for their children. I encourage others to research the programs themselves to see if they are a good fit for your learning environments.
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS review group, I received Brill Kids Little Reader Free of charge in exchange for an honest review on this blog. I received no other compensation.


Krissy said...

Wow!! Very informative review!

Unknown said...

That was an excellent review. I like how you were honest and thorough. Thanks for your sweet comment on my Halloween treats post, hope you have a fun party!