Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My New Best Friend

Last month I asked my Mr to pick up this DVD at the store...

He came home with a three pack of Leap Frog DVDs that came with a bonus pack of flash cards for letter recognition.

Exactly one month later, my "nearly three" AND my "nearly two" both recognize ALL of the letter sounds!!! As a phonics fanatic this makes me SO incredibly excited and proud! And though I'm completely embarrassed I should be embarrassed to admit it, as a teacher with a reading endorsement, all I really did was hit the "play" button a couple dozen times.

Now when we're out and about,  instead of pointing out excavators and swings and puppies, my boys point out letter "sounds" (i.e. when they see an M or an S they will say "Look mommy! "mmm" or "sss""). (Be still my heart).

Yes...Leap Frog Letter Factory, you are my new best friend.

I'm not sure yet how these will work for my boys but we're on to blending (drawing individual sounds together to pronounce a word, e.g. c-a-t, blended together, reads cat) and these are the resources we'll be starting with...

Click here to look inside!

Click here to look inside!

and of course...

So how did you teach your child(ren) to read? What are your favorite resources?


  1. Such a helpful post. I am definitely ordering those for upcoming birthdays. I have been on the lookout for a good letter sounds DVD. I was unaware that my favorite educational toy brand had one! Thanks Bernadette! And I love your blog. :)

  2. M, Thank you! I'm so glad you found it helpful. Doesn't Leap Frog just rock your socks off?!
    I love this particular DVD (Letter Factory) because letters become so much fun for little ones. There is a storyline, lots of catchy songs, and lovable/goofy characters. I definitely felt it was worth the $7 it cost and it is available with free shipping on Amazon.

    AND, I have to tell you I love your blog as well...especially your wit, sarcasm, and the story about how you and your hubby met! It has inspired me to write something similar (but altogether different) about G and I...maybe for his b-day.

  3. Bernadette, we used the same Letter Factory video, and Luke knew all of his sounds right away. This is SUPER helpful, especially for vowel sounds and sounding out phonetical words (i.e., Bob Books).

    Blending, I think, is much more developmental than cognitive. Some kids just get it, others it can take until they're 5 or 6, even if they know all the letters and sounds. For us, I used Phonics Pathways to teach two letter blends, so that we were learning "m-a, ma" before "m-a-t," and so on. The book is dry, so we used lots of marker/chalk boards, crayons and paper to learn every single consonant-vowel blend. After that, BOB books were much more doable.

    Now we're doing "Explode the Code" book 2, and are almost done with ALL the Bob book sets, which is incredible to me since it took nearly a year for Luke to get the hang of blending, but once he got it we've been zooming through Phonics faster than I expected. He's now 4.5.

    The Leap Frogs are fun, but my $0.02 is that letter factory is by far the most beneficial. The others haven't had the same academic impact, at least for my boys.

    Beautiful blog, B!!

  4. And...I just realized that my post sounds a little bit "know it all," and I forget that you were sitting beside me in education classes learning all the same information only a few years ago!!! Sorry! I get a little passionate sometimes....!

  5. Mallory, Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I've been going back over what we learned at FUS, looking at what seems like a million different resources, and pouring over homeschooling blogs to learn about how other mothers have been successful in teaching their children to read, but I hadn't found anything about mothers who are CURRENTLY teaching their child(ren) to read.

    It is helpful to hear all of your tips and words of wisdom as someone who has just recently gone through all the steps and still has everything fresh in your mind. (I didn't think it "know it all" at all).

    I'm encouraged to know that you liked the Letter Factory (wasn't that just way too easy?) and the BOB Books.

    I completely understand the "phonics passion"...I get a bit carried away at times myself. Phonics is just way too much fun...if you're a nerd like me.

    How did you come to choose Phonics Pathways? Did you feel like it was engaging for your little guy?

    I'm glad you like the blog! I have to admit that I stole some of my design ideas from yours because I just love the way yours is set up (i.e. favorite saints and such).

    We're praying for you in this last trimester. you're almost there!

  6. I wrote a big blog post about this same topic in January, and you can read about some of the other hits/misses we've done/are currently doing.


  7. Sweet! I'll be sure to check it out! Thanks Mallory!

  8. You ladies are so incredible! I love everything that I'm learning here and over at Mallory's blog!! Now, if only we lived in the same neighborhood!!

  9. Sarah, Thank you so much. I am flattered. And, I completely agree! How much fun would we have if we were all neighbors?!