J. Richard Gentry, Ph.D.
"..the best thing about Little Reader is that it builds positive parent-child social interactions and expands opportunity for the parent and the child to talk and have fun with books, concepts, and words." Read full review
Ideal for babies and young children, Little Reader is the most effective learning system for teaching your child to read.
At its heart is a revolutionary software system that delivers lessons in ways never before possible, making learning FUN for your child, and EASY for you.
The first thing that the parents noticed was that their child's vocabulary dramatically increased. Little Reader helps to achieve this through its built-in curriculum that includes thousands of words in over 180 subject categories, which are used in single words, couplets, phrases, sentences and full stories.
Following an increased vocabulary, many also noticed more and better communication. Little Reader helps to do this with the different professionally recorded voices that enunciate words clearly, and by encouraging interaction with the child.
Learning to read words is something that many parents have reported, especially where the child has finished the one-year curriculum in Little Reader. Little Reader starts by teaching whole-word recognition, and gradually fostering phonetical awareness through the Pattern Phonics™ system. Find this hard to believe? Watch the many videos of babies and toddlers reading with Little Reader!
Parents often talk about the pride they feel in being the first one to teach their child, and the joy in witnessing their child making great strides as they not only learn to read, but learn about the world around them.
The most treasured experience from using Little Reader that parents report is the bonding that inevitably happens between parent and child. Even fathers who otherwise felt 'left out' in those first one or two years report being able to share intimate bonding experiences with their child through Little Reader.
The easiest way for you to teach.
A pre-planned 1-year curriculum removes any need for you to think about what you should teach your child each day. All you need to do is press 'PLAY' and have fun interacting with your child! Lessons are deliberately designed to last approximately five minutes each day to cater to young children's short attention spans and make it easy for you to fit this into your regular daily routine.
Something new to see and hear each day.
Not only is the lesson content different every day, even the same day's lesson plays back differently each time! Little Reader automatically randomizes and rotates media, and each word file typically comes with 3 recorded voices, 5 images, 2 word commentaries or sound effects and - to help better illustrate things and concepts such as animals, action words and stories - 1-3 videos!
Take control of the lessons.
Want to give the lessons a personal touch and make it even more engaging for your child? Easily modify the lessons or create your own by using your own voice recordings, photos and videos! Teach words that are personal to your child (like family names), as well as words specific to your culture or locality!
Download more free content.
Your child's learning isn't just limited to the curriculum - you can choose to download over 5,000 reading lessons in 27 subject categories and more than two dozen languages. Most are available for free, and all can be easily imported into your Little Reader with just a few clicks of your mouse.
Comprehensive in its scope and design, our curriculum will guide your child in a systematic and progressive fashion: from sight-reading single words, to sounding out groups of words, to reading complete stories by the end!
The Little Reader curriculum spans a period of one year, with two semesters of six months each. Based on a five-day week, each semester comprises 130 days of lessons. Every day one word will be retired and one new word added to each category of your lessons. When the end of a category is reached, the first word retired will return.
Each day's session is made up of a number of different lessons. For example, a day's session may contain the following lessons:
In Semesters 1 and 2 of the curriculum, you will see these types of lessons - more than once a session in some cases:
Word Flash is used to teach words through the flash method. Words will auto-forward rapidly and take less than a minute to play. What's good about this method?
Multisensory lessons teach at a leisurely pace and this is the part where you can interact with your child the most. You control the speed of the lessons, and manually move from word to word. What's good about this method?
Picture Flash is lessons are pretty much like Word Flash lessons, but the difference is that you teach the meanings of words by flashing pictures. This effectively reinforces what your child has learned during the Multisensory Lessons! What's good about this method?
Pattern Phonics™ lessons show groups of color-coded words with varying vowel and consonant clusters. From the fifth week onwards, your child will not only learn to sight-read, but will also be guided to decode the written language in an intuitive manner. What's good about this method?
Little Reader includes simple stories which use words from the curriculum, so towards the end of the curriculum, your child will learn to read not only simple sentences, but even complete stories! Story Time also lets you teach your child at your own pace by manually moving between each sentence in the stories. What's good about this method?
For a detailed comparison of Little Reader with other products, please see here.
The Little Reader 1-year curriculum is designed for beginner readers, so your child is likely to be familiar with many of the words that are included. However:
The curriculum shows over 3,000 words in 180 Categories, from single words, to couplets, phrases, sentences, and stories, and so there are likely to be many more words that your child will not be familiar with.
The curriculum also lays down a strong foundation for learning phonics with the Pattern Phonics™ lessons, making sure your child learns the essential skill of being able to sound out new words he/she has never seen before. The color-coding function that comes with Little Reader also helps your child start to see words in their constituent parts (such as in different syllables, or even broken up into consonants, vowels and blends).
Even for words with which your child is already familiar, Little Reader can be set to show the words in upper case and even custom fonts (such as cursive fonts), ensuring your child has a better grasp of all the different ways that words may appear in everyday life.
Little Reader's library is infinitely expandable! Not only can you customize your child's lessons to include words particular to your culture or locality, you can also download literally thousands more files from our online download library, many of which are for advanced readers, even teaching encyclopedic knowledge. The vast majority of these files can be downloaded for free, and the others are premium files which require loyalty points that can be purchased or earned for free through forum activity.
Little Reader is also commonly used to teach foreign languages, and there are already over a thousand foreign language files in our online download library. We also do have the full Little Reader curriculum in Chinese, available for separate purchase as a content pack (voices are recorded in Mandarin, which written text in SImplified or Traditional Chinese.) We are also launching foreign language curricula in all major languages, and these may be purchased as add-on packs when released.
Many people have negative associations with TVs and computer screens (especially concerning children), but the reasons are mostly not applicable anymore with today's technology.
Previously, old-style TV sets and computer monitors (big chunky ones, known as CRT - cathode ray tube - monitors) produced significant amounts of radiation, but the situation is much improved with today's LCD monitors.
Old computer monitors had low refresh rates, which cause eye-strain with some people if they have to gaze at them for hours. Today's monitors have much higher refresh rates, and furthermore, Little Reader lessons only require sitting in front of the computer for a few minutes at a time, not a few hours. TVs in general also get a bad reputation because, for example, the American Academy of Pediatrics advise that babies below 2 should not watch TV. However, the reason has got nothing to do with the TV itself, but the CONTENT. Programs like those on the Cartoon Network have rapidly changing images which bombard children with stimulation, and watching such programming for a long time may desensitize them to other stimulation, leading even to attention deficit disorder.
With Little Reader, the lessons last just a few minutes and is nothing like that type of programming.
Phonics plays a large part in Little Reader lessons, as phonics is a critical skill that every child must master.
In many of the videos showing young children reading, many of those children are not reading phonetically, but rather, they are reading by recognizing the entire word. This is called "whole word reading", or "sight reading".
What many people do not realize is that over time, with a lot of exposure to words, children are able to pick up the rules of the written language (ie., phonics) themselves naturally and intuitively, similar to how they pick up patterns of the spoken language.
A native English speaking child does not need to be taught language rules like adding an 's' to plural or adding an 'ed' for past tense, because they hear enough of the language to be able to figure out the rules and apply them to new situations. That's why you sometimes hear mistakes like saying "gooses" instead of "geese", because they picked up the pattern of adding the 's' and applied it to "goose". And this is a good sign, because it shows that they pick up patterns easily.
Similarly, they are able to decode the written pattern by themselves, naturally and intuitively. With Little Reader, we encourage this natural way of learning phonics using our Pattern Phonics™ system, where we teach phonics by not teaching, but rather by letting the child figure out the phonics rules herself gradually and intuitively. Little Reader not only taps your child's natural ability to recognize patterns, but makes it as easy as possible for her to do so - by showing group after group of word patterns, and even color-coding the letters to make the patterns as obvious as can be! (See Pattern Phonics™ lesson sample here.) Pattern Phonics™ lessons start on Day 21 of the curriculum.
If you were to rely solely on the traditional way with teaching phonics, then you would have to wait until the child is about 3 years old when she can enunciate sounds. You would first have her learn A to Z, and once that has been memorized, teach her that A is "ah", B is "buh", C is "cuh", etc. After that, you teach them to put sounds together like B + A + T makes the "BAT" sound. This is a very logical, LEFT-BRAIN way of teaching, and is how adults are used to learning. However, we do not believe that it is the easiest way for very young children to learn. We also believe that using the Pattern Phonics™ system, phonics rules can be taught long before a child turns 3.
Whether or not Little Reader is appropriate for your child is not so much to do with age, but you're your child's reading ability. You can start using Little Reader as early as 3-6 months, but many parents are also using it on much older children, especially when introducing a foreign language. Note: Different children react differently to Little Reader at different ages. Some don't pay attention when they are 1, but then suddenly take a big interest when they turn 2, and vice versa. All kids are different!
Little Reader comes with an English language (US or UK) curriculum. We also do have the full Little Reader curriculum in Chinese, available for separate purchase as a content pack (voices are recorded in Mandarin, which written text in SImplified or Traditional Chinese.) We are also launching foreign language curricula in all major languages, and these may be purchased as add-on packs when released.
However, you can download many content files in many different languages from the BrillKids forum.
Firstly, our strong advice is NOT to focus on results. Focusing on results tends to bring about negative emotions such as anxiety and disappointment, which will be picked up by your child.
Instead, treat lesson time as a time for bonding with your child. The aim is to expose your child to reading and to have fun while doing so, thereby giving her a joyful and loving experience. Keeping a bonding-focused mindset will make you a much more effective teacher, and you are also likely to find that your child learning to read is a very pleasant side-effect.
Having said that, it is very difficult to say when you would start to notice that a child has started to remember words. All children are different and develop at a different pace. A lot also depends on when you start and how much your child is enjoying the lessons.
Some parents who started early (eg., at 5 months) started noticing that their child can recognize some words as early as 9 months. Some parents who started later (eg., at 2 years) notice this even after 1 month. Some parents have reported that their children never showed any signs of learning for many months, until suddenly one day they read out words that they see in the street. Whatever the case, always remember that this is not a race! Any exposure to reading that you give to your child during the early years will already be very beneficial.
Your license allows you to install our software on up to 2 computers at any one time. When activating your license key, your activation record will be registered in your BrillKids member account. If you change computers, simply access your member account online and remove one of the activation records to free up a spare slot.
Note that you can remove your activation record to free up an activation slot - this is especially useful when you change or upgrade your computers. You can also do this when you need to reformat your hardware.
You may remove your activation record for a total of 5 times. Beyond this, we will need to verify your identity to make sure that your license key has not been compromised.
J. Richard Gentry, Ph.D., a former university professor and elementary school teacher, is author of Raising Confident Readers: How to Teach Your Child to Read and Write-From Baby to Age 7 (Da Capo Press/Lifelong Books). His other books include The Science of Spelling (Heinemann) as well as a popular spelling textbook series for grades K-8, Spelling Connections (Zaner-Bloser).
He can be reached at his homepage, www.JRichardGentry.com.
A new software-driven early education program called Little Reader makes it easy for any parent to teach their child to read during the preschool years. It's fun and natural, requiring only about five or ten minutes a day with a parent and child interacting at the computer along with good old-fashioned lap reading.
Babies and toddlers are hard-wired for early reading, but few parents give them the right stimulation to make early reading easy and fun. It's time for a cultural change among parents who put off reading practice with their kids until formal instruction starts in school. Take advantage of a window of opportunity for early reading open to all children from birth to age 5 or 6.
Most parents and even some educators don't understand that the young child's brain is hard-wired for early reading, but advances in brain imaging are changing that misconception. Scientist Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the University of Washington Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, and her colleagues have shown images of white matter in the 9-month-old brain connecting areas used for talking, grammar, reading, and social interaction with areas for listening and understanding. Dr. Kuhl reports that the track that connects areas of the brain used for reading is present in infants before 12 months of age. 1
Baby/toddler readers aren't just geniuses with special capacities; every child's brain appears to be wired for early reading, just as it's wired for learning language. The window of opportunity for acquiring languages is understood to be between 0 and 7, when virtually any language you put in front of a child can be acquired with great skill. In fact, babies and toddlers can learn languages better and more easily than adults. Beyond age 7, the language-learning skill diminishes. While a new language can be learned after age 7 - just as one can learn to read later in life - it's learned differently and not automatically or with the same ease of production. When a parent or caregiver stimulates the reading brain through social interaction, babies and toddlers who crack the reading code likely use special brain-based computational skills similar to the way they crack the speech code and build concepts and vocabulary. 2
"Babies and toddlers are hard-wired for early reading, but few parents give them the right stimulation to make early reading easy and fun..."
Waiting until age 6 to learn to read presents problems, especially in America where 88% of poor readers in first grade will be poor readers in fourth grade. 3 The root of the problem is that one third of the kids entering kindergarten aren't ready for success with reading. They haven't reached the first pivotal benchmark for beginning reading: They can't write their names, clap out syllables, name some letters, recognize even a few words in print, or tell about a favorite book that has been read to them over and over. 4 This year in America, 33% or about 1.5 million children entered kindergarten without these preschool skills. Why? Because nobody taught them at home.
Teaching reading for a 6-year-old nonreader through formal instruction requires a specially trained teacher. Learning to read at 6 and older requires formal reading lessons and the child has to have stamina along with the type of logical, deductive thinking that is quite challenging for kids who haven't had a lot of preschool exposure to literacy. 5
Little Reader is just the tool kit the parent or preschool teacher needs to introduce reading early and easily. It provides an easy-to-follow informal curriculum designed to be used daily but only for five or ten minutes. Parents delight as babies and toddlers move from reading words, to couplets, to phrases, to sentences, to easy little stories - all at the child's own pace. Baby/toddler reading brains soak reading up like a sponge, not by force, formal lessons, or deductive reasoning, but with repetition of word and book reading as fun interactions with their parents.
Reading aloud and talking to preschoolers is fundamental, but lap reading or bedtime stories may not be sufficient to enable young children to pick up reading. Longitudinal results from a recent study show that drawing attention to print in explicit ways during book reading to preschoolers enhanced the child's reading, comprehension, and spelling scores two years later. 6 Little Reader includes just what is needed for this task. Along with wonderful easy books for lap reading and reading aloud, it provides brief software-driven word games giving parents exactly the tool they need to build their child's language, concept, vocabulary, and word reading via short focused attention to printed words.
With Little Reader the child experiences printed words as meaningful discrete units that map to spoken sounds through engaging pictures, animation, and voice. It's not just a flash word program, which many parents would find distasteful. The Little Reader presentation can be customized and personalized so that the baby's or toddler's first words can be pictures and sounds from baby's own world: baby's nose, Mommy's hair, Grandpa waving to baby in a family video, though he's 1,000 miles away, or favorite pics and video of the child's dog, cat, or gerbil. The possibilities are limitless, meaningful, and fun with downloads and uploads as easy as taking images from a cell phone.
Little Reader is a wonderful way to introduce kids to technology. Beyond that, it provides a forum that allows parents from all over the world to share content that they have created for free. Is your toddler fascinated with dinosaurs, butterflies, or dump trucks? You can get lots of free content on almost any topic that parents of other toddlers are sharing-all with just a click. Free downloads are also available of word games in many different languages.
It's well established that children don't learn to read by looking at the pictures or at Mommy's or Daddy's face during lap reading. 7 Little Reader uses overt means to evoke the child's visual and verbal attention to the printed word, making this important quality of first good teaching easy for parents because attention to word properties is built directly into word games. For example, it's easy for parents to increase the child's attention to print with Little Reader's subtle introduction of letter-sound correspondence and left-to-right directionality of spelling. Parents make sure the child's eyes are in the right spot for reading simply by pointing to a cursor that tracks a word's spelling from left to right on the computer screen. The child's brain and special capacity for pattern recognition does the rest. Little Reader word games get the child's attention focused just in the right place at the right time.
"..the best thing about Little Reader is that it builds positive parent-child social interactions and expands opportunity for the parent and the child to talk and have fun with books, concepts, and words. Everything the parent needs is right there in the kit - just pick it up and interact."
A program component called Pattern Phonics™ makes sure that early readers get the exposure to spelling patterns that is needed for toddlers to "pick up" knowledge of phonics patterns. How toddlers do this is not well understood, but it likely involves capacities for pattern recognition and inductive learning. It does not involve the deductive memorization of phonics rules and applications associated with formal instruction. That's much too hard for toddlers.
To take advantage of this window of opportunity for picking up on patterns, both phonemic awareness of sounds and phonics are built into the spiraling Little Reader curriculum. Kids learn chunks of letter-sound correspondence just as they inductively learn the rules of grammar when learning to speak in phrases and sentences. That is to say, they learn to apply phonics rules by experiencing printed language in use, rather than by having the rules explained or by consciously deducing the rules. Along with the word games, engaging illustrated little stories contrasting words and patterns such as pink pig, pig wig, two pigs, and two wigs enable kids to intuit letter-sound correspondences for letters such a p, w, the ending s sound, and the –ig and –ink chunk. By 2 or 3 years of age, many early readers astonish their parents as they begin to use pattern phonics to unlock words they have never seen.
Teaching early reading requires intimate physical contact, such as snuggling with a book or cuddling with the baby or toddler at the computer. Perhaps the best thing about Little Reader is that it builds positive parent-child social interactions and expands opportunity for the parent and the child to talk and have fun with books, concepts, and words. Everything the parent needs is right there in the kit - just pick it up and interact. The program isn't about a computer or DVD teaching a baby to read - it's a tool for parent-child bonding and fun with literacy.
I've been teaching beginning reading for thirty years. Little Reader is the best product I've seen for putting the parent in the driver's seat and making it easy to teach a preschool child to read. When you put early reading in front of your child, you launch a successful academic future and give yourself piece of mind. Let Little Reader help you give your child the gift of reading.
Education Nation, Dr. Patricia Kuhl and Dr. Andrew Meltzoff on Brain Power: Why Early Learning Matters.
2 Patricia Kuhl, “Cracking the Speech Code: Language and the Infant Brain” Pinkel Lecture, Institute for Research in Cognitive Science, University of Pennsylvania. April 16, 2010. For the full lecture go to http://www.ircs.upenn.edu/pinkel/lectures/kuhl/index.shtml.
3 Connie Juel, Learning to Read and Write: A Longitudinal Study of 54 Children from First Through
Fourth Grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80 (4) 443–47. 1988.
4 J. Richard Gentry, Raising Confident Readers: How to Teach your Child to Read and Write - From Baby to Age 7. New York: Da Cappo Press, 2010.
5 Lise Eliot, What's Going On in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life. New York: Bantam Books, 1999.
6 Shayne B. Piasta, Laura M. Justice, Anita S. McGinty, & Joan N. Kaderavek, (2012). Increasing young children's contact with print during shared reading: Longitudinal effects on literacy achievement. Child Development, 83(3), 810–820.
7 Shayne B. Piasta, Laura M. Justice, Anita S. McGinty, & Joan N. Kaderavek, (2012). Increasing young children's contact with print during shared reading: Longitudinal effects on literacy achievement. Child Development, 83(3), 810–820.
Eliot, Lise. (1999). What's Going On in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life. New York: Bantam Books.
Gentry, J. Richard. (2010). Raising Confident Readers: How to Teach your Child to Read and Write—From Baby to Age 7. New York: Da Cappo Press.
Juel, C. (1988). Learning to read and write: A longitudinal study of 54 children from first through fourth grades." Journal of Educational Psychology, 80 (4) 443–47.
Kuhl, Patricia. (2010) cracking the speech code: Language and the infant brain" Pinkel Lecture, Institute for Research in Cognitive Science, University of Pennsylvania. April 16, 2010. For the full lecture go to http://www.ircs.upenn.edu/pinkel/lectures/kuhl/index.shtml.
Kuhl, Patrcia & Rivera-Gaxiola, Maritza. (2008). Neural substrates of language acquisition," Annual Review of Neurosciscience.31:511–34.
Piasta, S. B., Justice, L. M., McGinty, A. S., & Kaderavek, J. N. (2012). Increasing young children's contact with print during shared reading: Longitudinal effects on literacy achievement. Child Development, 83(3), 810–820.