Monday, May 9, 2011

Homeschool Review: Monki See Monki Doo

When the TOS Crew offered the Monki See Monki Doo DVD as a review product, I thought it would be fun for Little Bit (age 2) to get to "review"something after all the fun things her big sisters have gotten to review this year. We received the first DVD in the program, Baby's First Words (retail $24.95) and the book Know Your Monkey (retail $11.95).
The concept of this program, as I understand it, is that by seeing words, hearing the words and seeing pictures of the words, even babies/toddlers can learn to recognize sight words. Quite frankly, I have no interest in "teaching my baby to read". As long-time readers of my blog know, I strongly believe in the concept of "Better Late than Early" and not pushing academics for young children. So, my goal in this program was not to "teach Little Bit to read".  That said, this is still a cute video for babies and toddlers. It uses puppets, children, animals, etc. in a way that captured, and for the most part, held Little Bit's attention.

The recommended way of using this video is to have the child watch it daily and also have them "review" the flash cards, and slide show. The video includes a "slide show" of all the words used in the video. The flash cards are a separate product that we did not receive.  I chose not to "require" any of this. I did try to offer "monkeys" when/if Little Bit asked to watch TV but if she asked for something else, I went with it. I have not used the "slide show" aspect of it. She has the book available to her with her other books and I've taken the book along in the car some since she tends to "read books" in the car. So, we have not used the program "as designed".  

As for the video, it's cute. Little Bit likes it (and so does our cat, LOL). While I don't know that it's teaching her to read, per se, she remembers what's coming next and repeats various words and phrases after they're said on the video. So it could be argued that it is teaching her speech/language.

 I was amused to hear the video ask "who changes your diaper". My 2 yr old might not know how to read, but she IS toilet independent and hasn't been in diapers for 6 months or so! Struck me as amusing that the makers of the video apparently believe that a child can learn to read as a baby/toddler, but not learn potty independence until later, as is typical of our current culture (I'll stay off my soapbox on WHY I think this is true in modern western culture).

I would agree that the recommended age range of 3mo to 3 years is the group that would enjoy these videos for the movement, music, bright colors, puppets, animals, etc. and I would guess that it would help to teach young toddlers to say the words presented.  I can't speak to how well it would teach them to read. This "first words" video includes 40 words, such as body parts, and other "useful" words for young toddlers.

So, who would I recommend this for? I don't like the idea of "teaching babies to read", but the video and book are cute, and children will probably like them. If you're looking for videos for young children these are a nice option. If you don't "need" videos to entertain your little one(s) while you do other things, I'd say that simply reading wholesome, age appropriate books to your children will, long-term be a better way of teaching reading, and a love of reading.

Disclaimer: I received the above mentioned products in exchange for writing an honest review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

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