Your Baby Can Read: How to Select Books for Early Readers

So you taught your little infant, toddler or preschooler to read a bunch of words, some couplets and you are working on sentences. What should you look for in a book for your little one?

Your Baby Can Read Flip books:

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I first started by using the Your Baby Can Read books that came with that companies kit. Now I do not own the whole reading kit. I actually bought each DVD on Amazon back in 2007 before YBCR really blew up in the mainstream. But I did find 4 of the 5 books at our local thrift store. Can you say score!!

Preschool Prep Sight Words books

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These were past down to us a year and a half ago by a good early learning friend. Her little ones loved them, and so does Little Z. The words are on one page in bold black font. Perfect for little eyes. The pictures are on the other page. The best part is there are 3 sets of books with 12 books per set. Lots of fresh materials.

Meet the Sight Words – Level 1 – Easy Reader Books (boxed set of 12 books)
Meet the Sight Words – Level 2 – Easy Reader Books (boxed set of 12 books)
Meet the Sight Words – Level 3 – Easy Reader Books (boxed set of 12 books)

LeapFrog Book Sets

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These were also passed on to us from the same friend that gave us her childrens Preschool Prep books. While the writing is on the same page as the picture, they separate the two. Picture on top, words on the bottom, but not in the picture.

LeapFrog LeapReader Learn to Read, Volume 1 (works with Tag)
LeapFrog LeapReader Learn to Read, Volume 2 (works with Tag)
LeapFrog LeapReader Learn to Read, Volume 3 (works with Tag)
LeapFrog LeapReader Learn to Read, Volume 4 (works with Tag)

Little Champion Reader

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Reading Kit for Baby, Toddler and Kids – Little Champion Reader 3-Level Reading System

Little Champion Reader is complete learning program for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. There are several books and flashcards that come with the series, that are awesome!. As you can see the words and the pictures are separate, making them ideal for little ones. Also there are larger words and the sounds are colored differently to help a child sound out the words if they are at that stage in the game.

What if you can’t find books that have clear print for your child to read?

2014-12-11 08.54.13A good friend of mine passed on this book to us. She covered the words with words she printed out. While they are still in the picture, the white background separates them enough to hold the child’s attention.

This is a great thing to do when you find a well illustrated book at the library book sale, but the story is too long for your child.

What books do you use with your child? Please share them with me as we are always looking for new books to explore!

 

Sorry about the lack of updates this week. We had our NACD meeting last week and received out programs on Friday. I have been processing them, and working them into our schedule. I’m hoping to have figured them out enough this week to share what we are doing.

 

 

Must have IOS apps for babies and toddlers

One of the most helpful tools I have used to teach Baby Z a lot of has been our iPad. From an early age I would sit him on my lap and we would spend a few mins going through some educational apps.


As he got older he would get excited to do his lessons. He could be running around playing, ignore me as I walked in the room. But as soon as the “Hooked On Phonics” app theme song would start playing, he would come running and sit in my lap.

I’m so sad this technology was not available when Wes was a baby. I feel this gave Baby Z such an upper hand. Baby Z does not let me videotape him often, but here are some videos of him working on his shapes and sight words at 16 months old. 

My top 5 must have ISO apps for babies and toddlers are(in no particular order):

Now some of these apps your child will not be able to do on their own. I did the hand over hand method with my son. I would guide him hand and talk to him about what we were doing and why we were selecting that answer. If he didn’t want me to guide his hand, I would just have him sit in my lap and I would do that activities and explain what I was doing. Eventually when he learned how to do it, I would feel his hand tug away from mine and he would answer himself.

app1

Baby Doesn’t Count

apps2

Any Preschool Prep app. We love them all!

app3

Teach Me Toddler. Afterwards we went straight to Teach Me Kindergarten.

app4

Hooked on Phonics

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Splash Math

What apps do you use with your baby or toddler? Why do you like them? Leave me a comment and share!

Prepping for the NACD

NACD Logo-Letters OnlyWell things are about to start getting interesting around here. This week the boys are having their evaluation with the NACD- National Association For Child Development via Skype.

The NACD is run by Glenn Doman’s nephew Bob Doman. They combine over 3000 methods of therapy to create the perfect program for your child.

I have looked at 2 other programs:

The Family Hope Center and The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential(IAHP). Both of them seemed awesome.

However the IAHP seemed a little to strict. I am not able to quit my job and do programs 10 hours a day. Also I am using some alternative treatments that are working well for my boys like NAET(Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique)

The Family Hope Centre seems very good too. I have watched some of there video seminars and have been very impressed. The one thing stopping me is the travel cost. The cost of paying for passports to fly into the states, plane tickets for 2 adults and 2 kids, accommodations, dining out while there, and missing nearly a week of work is just not possible for us right now.

I have been saving to do either the Family Hope Centre or the IAHP, but could never pull the trigger. Then I discovered the NACD. All assessment can be done over Skype, and if we want to go down the Minneapolis for an in person evaluation, we can hope in the motor home and be there in 10 hours. We could easily book a Friday appt, book Friday off of work and make it there and be back before work on Monday.

So this is a new adventure for my family. I’m so excited, as it seems so promising.

Stay tuned for more updates!!

Howie & Skip’s MonkiSee ABC Round Up

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As many of my long time readers know, my family and I are crazy about Howie & Skip’s MonkiSee videos. If you haven’t already, please check out my past reviews MonkiSee Reading Program(The First 3 DVDs First Words, Shapes and Colors), On the Farm, Around the House, and Action Words.

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Now I have the opportunity to review yet another awesome video in this series, this one is called “Howie and Skip’s MonkiSee- ABC Round Up.” Little Z is crazy about this one! Well he loves all the MonkiSee videos, but this one is new and fresh to him.

This video combines Glenn Doman’s method of teaching babies to read, with multi-media and several awesome songs and raps. A word is presented with each letter of the alphabet a in clear bold font on a white background. Then Howie, Skype and the creator Krista’s children show the kids what sound that letter makes and other words that begin with that letter.

What makes this DVD different than other ABC DVDs? MonkiSee uses a more expanded vocabulary. They don’t just say “A is for Apple”, they also use A is for Awesome. Other examples are like for H they use the word Habanero, or S they use spectacular. It is an awesome way to expanded your child’s vocabulary.

Check out my MonkiSee Vlog Review below

Would you like to win one of the MonkiSee Digital DVDs? Well Krista has agreed to allow me to do a giveaway! The winner gets to pick one of the MonkiSee DIgital DVDs! So please go and enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Teaching my toddler. What apps are we using?

I wish the iPad was around when Wes was a baby. It is a educational teacher, with millions of amazing educational apps, that can keep a child’s attention. What more can you ask for.

SAM_0965It is the perfect tool for Little Z. I have been using the iPad and the iPhone with him since he was a toddler.

We started with apps like Little Reader Touch, that allowed us to play Little Reader lessons from out apple devices. I found it a lot easier to sit cuddled up with him and the iPad instead of sitting at the computer doing the same lessons. We also did the app Baby Doesn’t Count. This app is based on Glenn DOman’s method of teaching babies math by using baby’s ability to perceive quantity intuitively

After a while we introduced Little Z to the wonderful world of Preschool Prep apps. With these apps he had an educational explosion and learned so many things, and in such a short amount of time.

So what are we doing now on the ipad?

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Brain Pop Jr: This is a paid for subscription. However if you are a member of Testingmom.com, you receive assess to this program for free. You select which topic you want to learn about that day and there are tons of videos where Annie and Moby teach your child about that topic in a short 4-6 min clip.

Reading Eggs: We were doing Reading Eggs, however my subscription ended. As much as I love the program and I know it did wonders for Wes. I think its a little too repetitive for my busy 2.5 year old Little Z.

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Teach Me Kindergarten: Now this is a favorite of Little Z’s.

This program teaches printing, Sight reading, Spelling, addition and subtraction.

While you’re working through the program, the little teacher mouse gives you green checks for items you got right and yellow checks for things that may have taken a few tries. In the parent settings you select how many green checks your child needs to earn a coin. We do the max with Z and have him set to 10 coins. AFter you collect coins you can select things to buy in the virtual stores.

Honestly Z doesn’t understand the coin system. He plays because he loves it. We use the coins to indicate when we have done 10 questions.

I believe this program has helped Z get a real good grip on his math skills and spelling skills.

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Splash Math(Grade 1): I bought this app a while ago when it was on sale. But Little Z was not ready for it at that time. Well a month or so ago I was trying to do MathSeeds with him, but it was too slow and too easy. So I heard people on my Early Learning Facebook group talking about Splash Math again, and I decided to try it again with Z.

Well turns out he was ready. At first he would only sit for a couple of problems. Now he can sit for a good 5-10mins doing the program.

I should also mention, we use this as an INPUT program, as I do with many of the apps I use. I sit him on my lap and guide his hand around and talk to him about how we work out the problems. After a while I feel his hand start going to the answers before I guide it there. I follow his lead, if he goes for the correct answer I allow him to. If he doesn’t move, I guide him to the right answer and talk about why its the right answer and how I got to that conclusion. If he could to the wrong answer, I redirect him and explain why.

Overall a great program that records your child’s progress.

2014-11-04 13.26.27Memory 4 U: This is an app that was used with the NACD up until this week. I believe they made a better app, but seeing as I paid for this one already, and its serving our purpose, I’m going to continue to use it.

Basically it is designed to help your child work on their memory skills. You can set the levels and buy extra packages to change the icons. For us we use the preset icons. I have never felt the need to spend the extra money.

2014-11-04 13.25.50Classical Conversations Cycle 1: This is an input only app for us. We go through the material for each subject once a day for a week, and then we move onto the next subject.

This app was on the pricey side at $14.99. But for the amount of information in it, I believe it is worth it to us. farfaria1

FarFaria: This is a subscription based online library for kids. We use it to read books. Want to learn more about this product and maybe win a subscription for yourself? Go here to sign up, the winner will be drawn on Friday.

 

What apps do you use with your children??

Toddler Tula Vs Ergo Carrier. My Experience with My Favorite Baby Carriers.

Testing out our new Toddler Tula

I love babywearing! Well I guess you can’t say I babywear any more, so I also LOVE toddler wearing. 

I reopened my home daycare when Little Z was 4 weeks old. I can’t imagine being able to care for a newborn, on top of a few toddlers without babywearing. 


I started babywearing back when Wes was a 4 month old. I had gotten myself a stretchy wrap called the “Peapod Creations CuddlyWrap” I have been told it is almost identical to the more popular Moby Wrap Baby Carrier. While this is an awesome wrap for small babies, Wes was not a small baby by any means of the words. Then winter came, and I never baby wore him again. 

Cuddlywrap while Hiking

This time around with Z, I wanted to make babywearing work. For the first 4 months of his life he lived in the Cuddly Wrap. He was born weighing in at only 5lbs 15oz, so it worked great for us. 

Chilling in the Cuddlywrap



Then I experimented with a few other structured carriers, until I was introduced to the Ergobaby Carrier. Honestly I thought I was in heaven! 

Napping in the Ergobaby

The reasons I loved the Ergobaby so much were:

  • Unlike the CuddlyWrap, it did not alway need to be tightened.
  • Easy to take off and on, which made it ideal for quick trips to the store. 
  • For the first 2 years of Little Z’s life it was super comfy!


Shopping in the Ergobaby
Then earlier this year, I started to notice a lot of people talking about this Tula Carriers. I didn’t get it. They looked so similar to the Ergo. Ok well except the prints were a lot cuter. But I didn’t get WHY people were so crazy about them. The Ergobaby was comfortable too and cheaper.

Then a month or so ago I noticed, I was not as comfortable wearing Little Z as I use to be. He hit that 25lbs mark and if I wore him longer than 10-15mins, my shoulders would start to hurt. 

I kept hearing about Toddler Tulas on our local Babywearing Facebook group. So while waiting for our Cranio Sacral appointment, which happens to be attached to our local cloth diaper/ baby carrier store, I tried on the sample and it was like HEAVEN! The only thing is he seemed to swim in it. Since the store was actually closed there was no one to ask. 

So I started to debate, maybe I should get a standard Tula. Well he is almost 2.5 years old, maybe I should stick to the toddler. I was just going to order the standard and someone suggested going back and trying on both when the store was open. 

So I went and tried the Standard Tula. It felt great to me too! But then the shop lady pointed out to me that Little Z’s legs were not sitting as M shaped as they should be. So I tried on the Toddler Tula and he looked so much more comfortable. Because of the wider base his legs were tucked in nicely in the M shape. 

Now that Little Z is sitting more ergonomically, baby wearing is more comfortable for him. But also, because he is in the proper position, he is more balanced, making him easier for me to wear. 

This last week I wore Z to go vote for our local Mayor elections, then woke him for a bit at a playdate(ok this one was to show my friend how awesome my Tula was LOL), and then I wore him at the YMCA after he ran on the track. 

It is like night and day! I’m sold on the Toddler Tula now. Even though the Ergo and the Toddler Tula are designed for up to 45lbs, and Little Z only weighs 25 lbs, I can’t imagine using the Ergo for much longer. 

Can TV Teach Your Young Child? Powerful tool, or Gateway Drug to TV addiction?

I know there has been a lot of debate over the years about screen time for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Each camp has their points and beliefs. As a parent you have to make that decision for you and your child. 


My personal point of view is screen time can have its benefits. As long as you are very selective on what you let your kids watch. It is also better if you watch these DVDs together with your child, but even if they spend 30mins on their own while you get dinner on the table, I believe these videos will help educate your child while entertaining them. 

Just remember, DVDs don’t replace one on one time teaching your child. Its a tool, not a complete method.

My Top DVD Picks for Young Kids:

1)LeapFrog: LearningSet, Volume Two (Three-Disc DVD + CD)and basically any video created by LeapFrog are time tested and true series in my family. We prefer the original ones before Tad and Lily were twins. But over all these DVD’s helped solidify some concepts I had been working on with my boys, like letter sounds, word building, numbers, skip counting, etc. 


 2) Sparkabilities : Sparkabilities is a developmental media series for birth through preschool. You and your child can enjoy smart-fun designed to develop essential learning skills with Sparkabilities 4 engaging and educational DVDs. Introduce your baby, toddler or preschooler to early concepts in math, reading, art, music, emotion, language and motor skills.

Z loved this series from the time he was just a tiny baby. When he was just a month or so old we realized that he had a condition called right torticollis. It is when the muscles on the right side of his neck are tight, causing him to lean to the right. Because of this we had to do tons of tummy time and exercises. 

Problem was tummy time was a nightmare since his head grew from the 10th to the 97th percentile within months, but his body was behind in the 3rd. Sparkabilities offered him a educational distraction, and encouraged him to lift his head. 

 3) MonkiSee and Memoflix DVDs
 MonkiSee is a fun and entertaining collection of baby DVD’s that expose babies to upbeat music, original poetry, lovable puppets and real world images.  The MonkiSee collection teaches your baby to identify their body parts, colors, shapes and more, all while learning to read.  The Monki See series is rich in language and has been proven to increase your baby’s vocabulary


My kids love these two series. The songs are catchy in the MonkiSee videos and most of the children in them are Krista(the creators) children. Its a family affair, and its fun to watch the kids grow as we watch each new DVD.

Memoflix are awesome flashcard presentations. I feel no guilt when I put these on for Little Z. He loves to watch them and they are basically a Doman Style flashcard presentation. Except that I can play them on my 55′ TV and don’t have to stumble around with huge clumsy flashcard. Nor to I have to spend time finding pictures. Its a bunch of great lessons put together for me.




4) Your Baby Can Learn(Formerly known as Your Baby Can Read):

This is a series that was created by Dr Titzer, who used this same method with both his daughters with great success. But in recent years, the FTC has been after them stating they are making false claims. This breaks my heart because I know through personal experience and from many other parents that I personally know who have used it, it works!

There are others awesome series from the company.

  • Your Child Can Read
  • Your Baby Can Discover
  • Your Child Can Discover
If you can get your hands on any of these, they are awesome learning tools. 


5) Suzie’s Piano Primer – Piano Lessons for Kids!

This is a popular DVD in my house. I believe it is one of two reason Wes skipped a level in piano(the other reason was BrillKids Little Musician). 

I would play it for him everyday before school. When he sat down for his first piano lesson within 5 mins she said “This book is way to easy for you!”. She bumped him to the next level because he knew the basics. He went on to complete that book and skipped one more level before we found which book was the correct level for him.

To this day his piano teacher is always complimenting him on his awesome Musical Sight Reading. I always say, “Its thanks to Suzie’s Piano Primer!”

 6) Signing Time Full Collection 1-13

My kids alway liked this series. I found it was able to teach them so much in the 30 mins. Rachel the host teaches your child the names of animals, actions, parts of the house, feelings, etc in a multisensory approach. 

First the word comes on the screen. For many kids, especially children whose parents are teaching them how to read, will learn to read the words in the show because they are shown in large, clear print. Then Rachel or the children Alex and Leah will teach your child how to sign the word. Afterwards videos of other children signing the word and pictures of the word will play in a little clip/video. 

My oldest who was speech delayed, learned a large part of his signing vocabulary from Signing Time. Now my youngest has the speech thing down, but these DVDs helped explained his vocabulary.

 7) Rachel and the Treeschoolers:

This is a new series that hasn’t been out long. Rachel Coleman from Signing Time created a series based on a  comprehensive curriculum for preschoolers. 

I purchased this series during the KickStarter campaign they ran early this year. Basically Rachel had approach some TV studios, but they turned down the series because it was “Too Educational.” So these DVDs have been completely funded by 2.400+ people who disagreed with this statement. 

Rachel Coleman and her TreeSchooler friends will actively engage your child in learning reading, math, science and social skills. 

I’m quite amazing with how they are able to teach more complex topics to young children. My barely 2 year old was running around the house singing ” Photosynthesis, Photosynthesis, Photosynthesis.”

8) Preschool Prep Series Collection
This is an awesome DVD series for kids 0-3 years old. The videos are very simple, yet educational. 

They teach:
– Letters           – Sight Words
– Numbers        – Phonics
– Shapes
– Colors

The one thing about these DVDs are they might not be very entertaining to children that have been exposed to a lot of mainstream kids TV shows like Dora or Spongebob. But for younger kids, it grabs their attention and will teach them all these subjects. 

My youngest learned all of the contents on these videos, with exception of the blends and digraphs by the age of 16 months! The nice part is that Preschool Prep also makes apps for the iPad, iPod and iPhone. I was able to use the videos to teach him, and the apps to give him time to practice what he learned. 

So again, its up to you as parents if your going to allow your child to watch TV. But from talking to many parents, TV is a part of their children’s lives. So if you do allow your children to watch TV, make it educational. 

Do you allow your kids to watch TV? If so, what shows do you allow them to watch. 

Disclaimer: I have done reviews for Sparkabilities and MonkiSee in the past. Beside receiving their DVDs for other past reviews, I have not received any other compensation.   



Does NAET help ADHD? Autism?

So last month I wrote about how Wes was doing with NAET. You can read about it HERE, but basically to summarize, it has worked WONDERS for him when it comes to foods that were once an allergic trigger to him. Foods like gluten and dairy. We were also able to reset his body when it came to damages caused by heavy metals from the vaccines he had as a young baby. 

 
He is more focused at school. Able to participate in treat days at school and birthday parties without having to bring a gluten free/dairy free alternative. He is now able to participate in activities at the Y without a one on one adult support. He is not really utilizing his level 2 support worker at school either. Also if things keep going this way, next year he wouldn’t even need one. 
 
But the biggest difference I have noticed with NAET is in my 2 year old. He didn’t have food allergies that we were aware of. However he was diagnosed with Autism and we were also told he most likely has ADHD, but will not get the ADHD label till just before he starts school.
 
Three and a half months into NAET he is a different child. I finally feel like I’m caring for a typical 2 year old. Not the tasmanian devil in a 2 year old’s body. 
 
We really noticed a difference about 2 months in. Once the changes started happening, it was like a snowball effect. And literally we would have a treatment done and the next day he would start doing something new. Or stop doing something old. 
 
We went from a child that was only safe in a playpen, to us packing up and putting the playpen away.
 
A child who would not make eye contact, to a child who is making eye contact way more.
 
To a child who didn’t care whether someone other then mom was around. To starting to show interest in extended family members. 
 
From a child who just runs back and forth all day, to a child who will sit down and play with toys or watch a show. 
 
I feel like I’m getting my little boy back. And I know this would not have happened without NAET.
P.S If your interested in reading more about this, check out the book,Say Good-Bye to Allergy-Related Autism NAET

Dr Phil Show Mom Attempts to Take the Life of Her and Her Daughter. Is She a Monster or a Victim?

I got a message last night from my friend, “Did you watch Dr Phil today?” It was 11pm when I saw the message and things were very busy all evening in our house, so I just shot her a message back saying “No, but I have it PVR’d.”

Then I got a call from her this morning. She told me I had to watch it, because it was about a woman who tried to commit murder/suicide. She couldn’t handle her autistic child’s violent attacks on her younger daughter, she felt had no resources available, so she tried to take her daughters life and her own. 

She also told me, “I get it. I would ever kill my autistic daughter, but I get the extreme hopelessness when your autistic child is beating the crap out of your younger child.”

So when nap time came around today, I watched it and I had so many emotions running through me. I knew as soon as my boys were down for the night, I would be watching part 2. 

After watching both shows I felt for this mother who felt this was her only answer. I don’t believe it was the right answer, nor could I image myself ever doing the same to my child. However I don’t lay the blame in her lap, or her husbands. I blame the medical system and the government. When parenting leaves you with brain injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder there is something terribly wrong. 

Parents are left to the wolves on long waitlists. They don’t have the skills to deal with these situations or the resources. Anything worth doing with children with Autism either has a REALLY long waitlists that you can age off, or a huge price tag. Insurance companies cover some cost, but just as it starts working, you hit your max for the year. Which seems to be what happened to this family on Dr Phil. 

When I found out the waitlist that my son would be placed on I remember speaking to Wes’s service worker supervisor. I told her, mark my words, some poor family with no resources will snap under pressure and a child will be hurt. Little did I know, this had already happened. 

I have been blessed to have found alternative therapies that are working amazing for my boys. Early Learning, naturopathic/homeopathic therapies, diet changes, NAET, ABA therapy, just to name a few. But I should also mention, this puts saving for our retirement, family trips, our children’s educations, etc on the back burner. These therapies help and they are worth it, but the financial burden on the family is extreme. 

However, I have hope. My boys are amazing children. I know in my heart all our efforts are helping. I know in my heart my boys will be awesome members of society. I know they will have careers, and wonderful lives. I pray everyday they will find love and have families of their own. 

I have hope. I don’t care if the debt keeps adding up. I will find the money to keep fighting. 

After watching these two episodes, I hope Dr Phil can help everyone involved. I hope he can raise awareness. I hope we can start finding answers. I also hope that the people in power can look into these alternative resources and treatments. They have been life altering for my family. I wish they were available to everyone. 

So my opinion, Kelli(the mother in this story) is as much of a victim of autism as her daughter Issy. So are Issy’s siblings and father. Lets hope though that through this and with the help Dr. Phil offers, they can be no longer victims, but survivors.