A Comparative Review of Three Early Learning Products
By: Kylie Foxley
The whole idea behind early childhood education is the fact that babies and young children are capable of and actually like learning. Their brains are more susceptible towards absorbing information and therefore, all babies are potential 'baby geniuses'. As more people realize this, various early learning theories, methods and products have emerged. Today let's look at three of these products - Little Reader, Your Baby Can Read, and Glenn Doman Flash Cards.
BrillKids Little Reader is a computer learning software for children (aged from 4 months to 5 years old) to help them begin reading in a fun and joyous manner. It incorporates several theories in the early learning field, one of which is the flash card method which originally involved physical cards. Slideshows of words, pictures, videos, and audio can be tailored to the user's needs and played back either at random, or in a chosen order. Little Reader is also integrated with the BrillKids forum, allowing users to download additional content to plug into their software for free.
With Little Reader's simple, powerful interface, you can easily customize and play back your content as you see fit, and forum users are always contributing to the available downloadable content. LR also makes it easy for you to organize your library into folders, categories and playlists, meaning your content stays tidy.
As with all software, LR takes time to learn in order to maximize its potential; for parents who do not have much time, they may prefer to simply pop in a DVD for their child. LR also does not offer the tactile learning that flash cards can offer - babies can touch and play with flash cards, which can aid their right-brain learning.
Your Baby Can Read
Like Little Reader, the Your Baby Can Read DVD series is also an adaptation of the traditional flash card method, with added visuals and sounds to employ a multisensory approach to help teach babies and children to read. Each program lasts for half an hour, with each volume shown for one or two months ("retired" DVDs are shown intermittently). Designed to be played along with an accompanying book, parents are encouraged to say the word shown on-screen while running their finger along the corresponding word on the page, as well as singing and performing the actions.
The YBCR series allows for a simpler, more comfortable way to teach your little one - simply begin playing the DVD and sit down with your child in the living room. The DVDs contain videos, animations, music, sound effects and activities, providing lots of multisensory stimuli for your child.
Being pre-made, YBCR lacks the ability to customize content, and buying every DVD in the series for additional content can be very expensive. Compared to Little Reader where you can download additional content for free or Doman flash cards where you can make your own, YBCR looks to be a more expensive option for early education.
Glenn Doman Flash Cards
The most traditional of the three products in this review, Glenn Doman flash cards are large, durable white cards with either red or black words covering most of the card. The cards are shown in sets of five, three times a day, retiring cards at regular intervals and substituting with new cards. Based heavily on the concepts of right-brain learning, Doman recommends flashing the cards rapidly (less than a second each), so that the information is more easily apprehended by children and babies (who are right-brain dominant up until the age of three and a half).
Flash cards are very large and printed very clearly, making it very easy for babies to read the words. Also, unlike TV screen and monitor displays, flash cards are physical products that offer a tangible element to multisensory learning.
Buying commercial flash cards can be very expensive for parents who want a lot of content. As your flash card library grows, it will also take up a lot of space and become hard to organize. For parents living in certain areas, it can also be quite hard to find Doman flash cards, meaning they have to resort to making their own, which can be very time-consuming - time they could be spending with their little one.