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Meet the Letters and Meet the Numbers Review by Dena Wood and Willena FlewellingBy: Kathy Oxley
Preschool Prep Company
P.O. Box 1159
Danville, CA 94526
Meet the Letters is a DVD that promises to help young children painlessly and quickly achieve complete upper and lower letter recognition by using a memorable character for each letter. The program states that it can be used for ages 9 months to 5 years but was developed and is intended to be used by babies and toddlers in that critical window when they are first learning to talk.
In focusing on my older children, I've been lax in teaching my youngest boys letter recognition and was eager to try this program on my four and five year olds. I was somewhat concerned that they would find a 40-minute video of letter names boring. Surprisingly, such was not the case. In fact, when I asked if they'd like to see it again I was met with a resounding, "Yes!"
The video uses several techniques to hold interest and aid in retention. First, each letter is shown several times, allowing time for the child to offer its name, if known. Then, the letter is named and turns into a character that somehow corresponds to its sound. For example, "r" is a rainbow, with the curve on the "r" being rainbow colored. Both boys eagerly anticipated what each letter was going to turn into. The characters all have different voices, which also add variety. One may have a cute baby voice, while another has a low daddy voice. Letter names are voiced short, long, high, low, etc. Another plus to the program is that it introduces all the forms of each letter. For instance, there is a lower case "a", an upper case "a", and a typewritten "a". This is a great benefit as children later apply their skills to reading. All forms of the letter have something in common. For example, the upper case "w" is a "well", while the lower case "w" is the "water" in the well.
Meet the Numbers was developed in response to the overwhelming success of the Meet the Letters DVD and uses the same techniques in helping children memorize their numbers from zero to ten in only a few days. This video runs 30 minutes. I am impressed with both of these programs and see how they would be exceptionally effective with babies and toddlers, as intended. However, with only a few viewings, that they greatly enjoyed, both my boys increased substantially in their letter recognition skills and Mommy's guilt level was significantly lowered. I highly recommend these DVD's to anyone with children currently working on letter recognition skills or with babies or toddlers they would like to give a great head-start in pre-reading skills.
Meet the Letters is a 40-minute program that teaches the ABCs and upper and lower case, including both forms of the letters a and g. Bonus features include the "ABC Song," video flashcards, and a special section giving extra practice with letters most often confused, such as p and q.
Meet the Numbers is 30 minutes and covers numbers 1 to 10, familiarizing the child with both forms of the number "4". Bonus features include video flashcards, and counting forward and backward. The delightful, colorful, animated letters and numbers will keep the littlest ones busy learning in a fun way while their older brothers and sisters are doing their school work.
These handy little programs are perfect for use in the homeschool because they teach the child on his own, with or without reinforcement from the parent. And because it focuses on the name and form of the letter, and not what it represents, Meet the Letters was very helpful as a remedial tool for my 6-year-old son, who learned his ABCs by representative pictures and needed to learn to recognize the letters on their own with no other associations.
The one drawback I found with these charming DVDs is that they tend to be too repetitious, as each number or letter name is repeated over and over in various tones of voice before going on to the next one. So unless you don't mind putting up with choruses of protest from your older children at hearing it yet again, you might want them to be gainfully occupied in another room while it is playing. But if the DVDs are used for a limited time each day rather than letting them play all the way through, that should not be a problem.
I would recommend Meet the Letters and Meet the Numbers to any mom who wants to give her small children a head start on learning their letters and numbers. I only wish there had been such a program when my high schoolers were little.