Have you ever played the ABC game in the car to pass the time during long trips? We used to play it for hours. We would pick a subject (cities, animals, etc) and we would go through the alphabet. Each person would take a turn and say an animal that started with the letter that we were on. A – Albatross, B-Bat, C-Cougar, D-Dolphin… and so on. Well, this is how Cindy Coleman, M.Ed. conceived the idea for the iKnow Animals, Letters & Sounds Beginning Reading System.
Cindy assembled a team of educators, curriculum and technology specialists, artists, musicians, animators, digital media and motion graphics developers, and the world famous San Diego Zoo to create an educational program for kids that incorporates a fun-filled learning experience with information on animals from around the world.
I received the iKnow Animals, Letters & Sounds DVD set and the ABC Cards to review. There are 4 DVDs in the set, each covering different locations. The San Diego Zoo, Africa, The Rain Forest and a music DVD each take the learner to different places. I think I enjoyed watching these DVDs just as much as Baby Bird did. She loves animals, so she stood and watched all of the animals as they came on the screen, then danced when the music started up. There were a few seconds where there was nothing but the background on the TV. Baby Bird started to crawl away, but as soon as another animal came on the screen she was back to watching and dancing. And she gave a little squeal when the Sea Lions came on. We have Sea Lions in West Edmonton Mall and I think she remembers seeing them. I couldn’t believe it.
The program focuses on one animal at a time. The speaker speaks very clearly and slowly and they foster learning through songs, repetition, sounding out words, reviewing the alphabet, and then the screen switches from an animated screen to real life. So you can see the animated animal and then see the animal in it’s natural state. The music is soothing and upbeat and I really like how they show the words to the songs they sing as well as they display the words and letters on the screen as the speaker talks. They also talk about the animals and their natural habitats and I learned a lot about some of these animals I had not known before.
Included in the set is a deck of 52 letter-animal playing cards. The letters on the cards are textured so kids can touch the letters and get a feel for the shape of them. There are 26 animals on the cards, so each animal is on 2 cards. For example, there are 2 cards with the letter ‘G’ on them. There is a gorilla on both cards. On one, it is just a picture of a gorilla, on the other, it is a picture of the gorilla with scenery behind it. These cards would be great to play Go Fish with…I guess you could call it Go Gorilla!
There are also some online games that accompany this learning system where children can apply what they’ve learned from the DVDs. These online adventures focus on phonics, the alphabet, vocabulary, spelling, and comprehension.
I love this learning tool. Learning needs to be fun and interactive for kids and that is exactly what these DVDs and cards are. The story takes children on an adventure through the famous San Diego Zoo, a trek through the Rain Forrest and on Safari through Africa. With that much fun, kids don’t even realize they are learning something!
The complete learning system which includes the DVDs, ABC Cards and online activities retails for $49.99US. To learn more about and purchase the iKnow Animals, Letters & Sounds, you can visit the Take Pride Adventure Learning site.