We held our second Literacy Launch Pad Meeting on Thursday, August 16th. We had another good turnout and were pleased to welcome two new members.
By popular demand, Merry was asked to tell us about her experience using the Love and Learning Program. Merry’s daughter is reading successfully, thanks in part to Love and Learning. She not only has a large sight word vocabulary, but she has shown that she can decipher words she has not encountered before, and in different contexts (“Press here” on a sign, “New York” on a t‐shirt). That’s awesome for any 5‐year‐old!
Here’s an overview of the program:
• DVDs show each letter of the alphabet, followed by a word starting with the letter (apple, bus, car, etc), then an illustration of the word, then a short video showing the word in action. The letters and words are clearly spoken. These videos, featuring the program developers’ daughter, who has Down syndrome, are great. I think kids would like them a lot. For example, the little girl eats an apple, gets on a bus, dances with her sister in the mirror, and tries on hats.
• In addition to the DVD, learning kits include an audio CD to help with vocalization, and short books to reinforce the words.
• Warning: The program looks old‐fashioned and clunky. It was made in the 80’s and hasn’t been updated. It’s slow‐moving and not flashy. But kids love it and it does seem to lead to success.
Prior to our meeting, I asked my peeps on the BabyCenter Down syndrome board to share their experiences with Love and Learning. Seven parents weighed in, and their comments echoed Merry’s positive experience:
• Worked wonderfully for my daughter! She really wowed them at preschool having
gone through the program.
• R learned to read the alphabet from kit one. She could also read all the words. My only complaint is that some of the words are weird. I wish they had picked higher frequency words.
• E learned her letters and the words on the first DVD. She also learned to read some words and numbers from Dvds 2‐4. I think she picked up more words from Brillkids but then we do that more often now. She is not as interested in the DVDs as she used to be. We also have the first computer program. It reinforces letters and words from the first DVD. E enjoys that. We really need to get back to using the DVDs more. In addition to reading I think it is helpful in the area of speech. I agree with PP on the words. I found otter to be an odd choice.
• V loved them and learned her letters from them at first. But I didn't do the whole nap time, sleep time listening to them like the "program" suggests. And yes, some of the words are odd. And I bet you can tell any L&L child just by asking them to show their neck. V hyperextends her head and draws a line down it, just like they do in the video!
• We used L & L in the beginning too. This was the program we were using at age 2 when I first realized that K could read words. We eventually went through kits 1 to 4 before moving on to another program. I agree with pp's comment in speech & reading. I'm sure K's reading vocabulary is the biggest reason that she speaks well. I also think some if their word choices are strange. I wonder if they picked words to match their home videos?
• We used the program as it was recommended by 2 families who gave their story (on the L&L website). I think that some of the program is sticking, when we use it consistently. I don't do the nap thing, I keep mine in the car and use them there. K is 3 1/2, and I was shocked the other day when she told me some of the letters! My husband and I are from the hometown the videos were recorded in, and love trying to figure out where they are when they show some of the scenes :)
• We started kit 1 when T was 22 mos. By the time he hit 2, he could read all the words and knew maybe 1/3 of the letters (knows most letter sounds now). I only used the dvd and books...no audio cd for us! At first I was disappointed in the age and quality of the video, but T LOVED it, so it was worth every penny. We've moved on to ipad reading apps instead now, but I think it was an awesome intro to reading for T, and taught him the connection between written words and the real world.
Reinforcing the “totally 80’s” feel of the program, there is no way to order online. You have to print out an order form and mail in a check. Instructions are on the Love and Learning website. We talked about approaching libraries and the Swindells Resource Center at Providence to ask them to stock the program so that parents can try it out before buying. It does not appear to be available used online, but we will keep our eyes open for deals.
Several of us are planning to use the program. We'll check back in on how it goes.
BOTTOM LINE: If you can get beyond the low-tech presentation, Love and Learning is a worthwhile investment.