Brillkids Little Reader review

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July 10, 2013

in Brillkids, Early Learning, glenn doman, preschool education, Reading

Do you want to teach your baby or toddler to read? Maybe you have already read about using flash cards in Glenn Doman’s Teach Your Baby to Read book or you have used sight word DVDs such as Your Baby Can Read or Monkisee. I have started using all those on the side as well, apart from reading a lot of storybooks with my daughters every day since they were little babies. Another tool I have been using over the last three months and that I have found extremely flexible, easy and effective is theby developed by my favurite early learning parent community Brillkids.

How does it work?
The Little Reader program is mainly based on Glenn Doman sight word flash-cards but integrates Shichida style multisensory right-brain education methods for enhanced memorisation and automization. Wow, that sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Each sessions lasts about 5 minutes and has several sections to teach reading via different methods of about 30sec to 1 minute each. It consists of the following parts:

  • There are three “multisensory” sessions on kid friendly topics such as wild animals, colours, parts of the body or transportation vehicles. They will show the written sight word (“the flash card” if you will), then a picture of the item accompanied by a sound (a sound the animal or vehicle makes or a voice that teaches you more about this item) followed by a very short video, so it combines the sight word with a static picture, a sound, a moving picture, and often a piece of “encyclopaedic knowledge” about this item
  • There is a pictures sessions which flashes about five to ten pictures of the item accompanied by a voice that names it. This is great for younger kids to build up vocabulary. The pictures flash quickly and you consider this part of Shichida-style right-brain education
  • There are sight words which flash sight words that are read aloud. By the way, you can choose if you want the voice to speak in American or in British English when you download the software for the first time. The sight words reinforce the concept of high-frequency words to help automise the reading process
  • Then there is pattern phonics that would flash, for example, “words beginning with c” and then “car, cup, cat” to teach children how the change in some letters changes the words. Or you would have “words ending in ar” and see “car, far, bar”
  • Lastly, there is word split, which shows a whole world and then splits it into syllables to help learning sounding out words “cat, c, at” or “dog, d, og”
  • Games: in this optional final part of the session, the child might be asked to pick the word “doll” from two or four sight words that are shown, or from several pictures. This way you can secretly check if your toddler is learning. Glenn Doman is against testing children so I keep this absolutely optional and fun, but often my daughter likes this part the most and loves pressing the right answer as this makes stars twinkle on the screen and a voice says “You got it!!” I am quite thrilled to see my 2.5 year old tends to get 80-90% answer correct on these games after only a few months of using Little Reader

My children love the multisensory sessions and the sight words and pictures are flashed so fast they’re happy to watch. Pattern phonics and word split are less popular but that’s okay, it’s supposed to be fun and children still pick up a lot from the parts that they do enjoy.

How do I get started?
I highly recommend downloading a 2 week trial first. It isn’t actually a two week trial but an unlimited trial, but it gives you ten days worth of content. I actually used this over a month as I wasn’t as consistent in doing the sessions (recommendations is to run each session twice daily, and then move on to the next sessions, and to do this five days a week). You can download this trial to your PC, or you can download the trial as an app on your ipad or iphone (see below for more info on mobile access). Once you have used with your kids for a couple weeks or even months, you can see for yourself if you feel it’s working or not and then make a decision on downloading the full version. I waited for about a month and also trialled the Little Musician software, and then I purchased both at the time (you get some bundle discounts).

What does it cost?
You can sign up for a two week free trial. Following that, you can get the most basic Little Reader Version starting from $149 for 1 Semester worth of content or $199 for two semesters worth of content. I bought it in a bundle together with the Little Musician software, and there are lots of other bundles in the Brillkids shop.

Can I have a discount, please?
Yes! Use my affiliate code BKAFF115621 for a 10% discount at check out. This works for discounts on software bundles as well!

Any advanced user tips?
Once you have the app installed, you can download additional free content created by Brillkids users and also by Brillkids. I downloaded the free multisensory sessions on motor vehicles and wild animals that my children love. You will find lots of additional files to download on the Brillkids forum. You can create and integrate your own files as well. Also make sure to go into the settings and customize font sizes, lower case or upper case letters, flash speed, type of voice and many more options. The multitude of settings, especially in the PC version, is a big strength of the program.

Does it work?
I use a lot of different tools as mentioned at the beginning, so you never know exactly which part contributes the most. I think it’s very important to try different things lest kids get bored. I have been doing it inconsistently with my toddler (instead of 10 sessions per week, we probably do at most 5). I am doing it a bit more consistently with my little baby because she just thinks it’s great, whereas with my toddler if I get the ipad out I risk her asking for Peppa Pig cartoons as soon as the session is finished, if not before. Anyway, since we started, she’s learned a lot of sight words. We sometimes play the “games” at the end of a session and she gets about 80-90% of the words right, so clearly, she is picking up a lot of words. She can already read words like “tiger”, “school”, “blue”, “doll”, “cat” and many more. I haven’t checked exactly but I think she can read about 30 or 40 sight words already. With the baby, as we started around 5 months, I expect that she will be far more advanced by the time she is 2.5 years old but I have no interest in testing her. It will be fun to see what happens when she starts talking! Anecdotally, I have heard from many people that children who use this software have an unusually large vocabulary early on when they start speaking.

Can I use it on my ipad or iphone?
Yes, you can use the free app on the ipad or iphone which contain ten days worth of sessions. When you purchase the full version, you also need to purchase tablet access for an additional $15 (and again, you can use my affiliate code BKAFF115621. Then you “enable mobile access” and can download the full content onto your ipad. Unfortunately, the amount of settings on the ipad version is slightly limited (in terms of font styles etc.) so I still prefer playing Little Reader on the PC, but you can definitely use your ipad when you’re on the go and at home. It’s actually a good thing to switch between devices for additional variation.

Have you used Little Reader? Did it work for you?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Alpa November 24, 2014 at 5:02 AM

Hi,

I recently came across your blog post. I really enjoy reading them. 🙂 There’s a lot to learn from each of them.
Thanks for writing detailed review on little reader. It helped me a lot in deciding to buy it or not. I’ve decided to go for little reader and little math.

-Alpa

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Genius Experiment January 28, 2015 at 10:09 PM

Hi Alpa, thanks for your comment, I am glad you liked the review! How has it been going? Is your little one enjoying it?

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