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Meet the Phonics

by Kathy Oxley

Reviewed by Anna1111

We have enjoyed the Meet The Phonics series of videos by Preschool Prep Company. These really help with the necessary task of "over-learning" phonics principles.

In Letter Sounds each letter is reviewed along with its most common sounds. It includes animated pictures to aid memory and sound effects and just the right amount of repetition, with words containing the letter being featured. All of the common sounds are mentioned - so for C they mention /K/ and /S/ - depending on your style of instruction that may or may not be a good thing. Letter sounds also includes a video on the function of Silent E and one on R-controlled vowels, as well as one on vowels with a little song. Those little videos have been very helpful in helping us learn those concepts.

In Blends all of the common consonant blends are reviewed: St, Cl, Dr, etc. This one has been exceedingly helpful in our reading practice. (Although, I do hear "This one is in my video!" every time we encounter a consonant blend!

The third video, which I have found much less helpful at this point is on Digraphs. It includes the needed ones: SH, TH, WH, CH, but then also includes many obscure ones which occur very rarely in beginning reading - many of which simply have one silent letter (wr, kn). We tried watching it early on, and I felt it would just serve to confuse. I think it WILL be helpful, and plan to watch it again in coming weeks - but it is not really "Preschool Prep" material - it's more appropriate for kids who are nearing the end of phonics instruction rather than for ones who have not yet embarked on it. We downloaded youtube videos for SH, TH, WH, CH which helped with those things. If I had to do it again, I would have waited to view Digraphs until much later in phonics instruction.

The videos also include a little story with pictures at the end, and a child sounding out the story and reading it as each letter in the text is highlighted -- very helpful and motivational to my little one.

This series also has some sight word videos which we have not used, since I am not a fan of sight reading. But, for those who do choose that method of instruction, I would expect those videos to be of the same fine quality as their other videos.

One drawback of this series: for learning letter combinations this publisher likes to use an image of a slot machine with spinning letters (or sometimes similar casino-type games.) Some Christian families might find this imagery unsuitable. I don't mind just explaining to my little one that those games aren't ones we play in real life. (And, in Digraphs there is a ghost for the GH sound - to illustrate that it says /G/ in ghost but is usually ghostly silent - a little abstract for my little one who isn't familiar with ghosts anyway.)

Recommendation: All in all, I find this series very helpful in learning phonics principles, and highly recommend it.

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