Friday, June 14, 2013

Promote Early Literacy with {Review & Giveaway}

As a teacher, I am always interested in learning more about programs that can help students with reading.  Even though my son is really too little to use, I was really excited to review it to see the educational value it could offer children and parents and even teachers in the school setting! is the award-winning global education initiative from the team who brought Neo-Pets, the virtual pet website with over 30 million subscribers, to kids around the globe.  ABCmouse’s goal is to help children build a strong foundation for future academic success by providing a comprehensive and engaging online curriculum in early childhood education.
 ABCmouse was the recipient of the 2012 Teacher's Choice Award and 2011 Parents Choice Award, and has some of the best curriculum advisors who are more than happy to give you additional insight or participate in interviews:
  • Kimberly Oliver-Burnim: Named United States National Teacher of the Year in 2006
  • Dr. Rebecca Palacios: A pioneer in the field of dual language learning, and is co-founder and past vice-chairperson of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) 
  • Dave Hendry: Nationally-recognized expert on achieving learner engagement and understanding through application of principles of instructional design as well as two-time winner of the George Foster Peabody award and The Educational Press Association's highest award for curriculum design. 
Early literacy and childhood education is so important when preparing your child for kindergarten!  Gone are the days of Letter People and learning the basics in kindergarten like we did.  Nowadays your child is learning how to read in kindergarten and if they don't come to school with the basics they will start behind the game from the very first day. is a subscription based program and does have a yearly membership fee. After signing up and paying, you are then given a video tour on the features of the site and how to use it.  Family accounts get to have up to 4 members (including the parent) which is great if you have more than one child who can participate on Each member gets to make their own avatar that takes them through the program.  There are 6 academic levels for Toddlers through age 5+.

 I started at Level 0 (Toddler) for my son. :)  There are 38 lessons in this Level, each lesson has several learning activities including songs, painting, jigsaw puzzles, cutout puzzles, and even printables.  The lessons focus on a letters of the alphabet, colors, and basic themes that toddlers would be interested in (birthdays, zoo, getting dressed, etc.).  To encourage your child to complete the lessons they earn tickets for each activity they complete. Later they can go "shopping" in the store and buy things with their tickets as a reward.

These are screenshots of all of the activities in Lesson 1 in Toddler Time.

So, how did I like some of these activities?  I loved the songs!  They were all very catchy tunes.  I also liked that you can opt to have the words displayed with a bouncy ball for your child to follow along.  I did wish that there was some kind of animation that could go along with the songs though, especially when meant to keep a toddler's attention.  I think the kids would have fun with the paint and puzzle options as well.  One thing that was really helpful is that as your child mouses over anything, the programs says what it is or the words out loud.  Obviously, this would be a necessity for a toddler since they can't read yet, but I like that the word is still there so that they can start seeing the correlation.  I do feel like your child would need to be very good at controlling the computer mouse to be able to do this independently.  It would also be great to do the activities together with your toddler.

There are tons of other things your child can choose to do in the classroom if they just want to explore.  They can focus on Reading, Math, World, Art & Colors, Music & Songs, Literacy, Puzzles, and Games.

Here is what the Reading option brings them to:

 You can select the level to focus  on (Preschool, Pre-K, Kindergarten).
Below is the difference in a Preschool Level book focused on the Letter A and a Kindergarten Level Book focused on the Letter A.  The lower level book just focused on the basic short a sound with simple words and examples, where as the higher level focused on the short and long sounds and provided much more text and examples.  In both options the program reads the books out loud and highlights the text as it goes.

Another fun option with that I explored was visiting different places- in these examples I visited the Farm.  After clicking on the farm I was given the options of "Seeing the Animals" or "Activities and Games".

 Kids can read books of varying levels about the farm.

When you choose to visit the animals this is what you see: has just released a new children's app, 26 A-Z Music Videos, that has fun, educational content for kids that will keep them entertained for hours!  The app comes with three pre-loaded videos, and children can earn tickets for each video they watch so all videos are eventually downloaded for free.

Follow & Connect:  You can Like ABCmouse on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Buy It:  You can buy a 1 year membership, good for up to 4 people in your family, for $80.00 at

Win It:  One lucky reader is going to win a 1 year membership to  Enter using the Rafflecopter below.

Ends at 11:59 p.m. E.S.T 6/28

Congratulations Laurie J.!

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  1. I have 2 daughters that are in school and really benefit from abc mouse
    Jessica Cox

  2. Claier RheinheimerJune 15, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    This would be for my 2 year old son.

  3. This would be for my 4 year old son who is in preschool.

  4. Cindy B (on rc/fb) ~ both my lil boys would get to use it :D


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