(Phoenix, AZ, USA)
Levels Used: K
Dates Used: 2005
Likes: I chose this program for my youngest granddaughter as other phonics programs didn't work for her. She is an artist who sees everything as a shape. A capital E was a M, N was a Z. and the typical b, d and p, q were problems for her. I'm not an artist, so this was a problem area for me.
This program starts out with the child learning the zoo animals, one for each letter. One of the biggest problems that many children have is with the letters b and d, so I'll explain these. b is for Bubba Bear. They will see a picture of a bear sitting down with a honey pot above his head. When learning Bubba Bear you lift your hand above your head as if getting honey out of the pot. d is for DeeDee Deer. This is a dear standing up. When you say her name you use your fingers as antlers on your head. This does come with a video and a cd to learn songs pertaining to these animals. After all 26 animals are learned a letter is added to the picture. Now you'd see the bear with a b on the picture. The circle part of the b would be the bears tummy. The line on the b would be his head and arm lifting up to the honey. With the d, the circle would be the body of the deer while the line is her tail. After the child connects the letters with the animals he/she learns to read with the picture/letters. After a while the picture is removed and the letter is still there.
This also comes with a disk with games. The girls still ask to play the games, but it's not compatable with Windows Vista. (Maybe they've updated this.)
If you do get this, I recommend buying the Fonts disk. It comes with the animals by themselves, the animals with the letter, and the letters by themselves. This was helpful as I could type of words (fat, cat, sat, etc.) and she could read them with the animals/letter combination.
I did a lot of research before I purchased this product. I found out that it can be used for preschool children. Also, it's had some great success with mentally challenged children.
Dislikes: I purchased the books with this, but I didn't use them until the girls could read really well. The animals they use are too big for a beginner reader (Umber Umbrella Bird, Timothy Tiger, Gordo Gorilla, etc.) Other programs start out with simple words that rhyme, but this one doesn't. They give suggestions of games and cards you can make up to use, but while homeschooling 2 others this took up too much time. I was eventually able to get this child into another program I had.