Have your preschoolers been to Scholarville? It's an exciting
place, indeed, with personified alphabet residents who are ready
to make you feel at home and teach you a few things about letter
sounds, phonics, and more. As your child follows the map through
Scholarville, he gets to know each one of the alphabet residents
through short, fun, and interactive lessons.
This computer DVD-ROM preschool program includes enough material,
both animated and printable, for you to spend an entire week focusing
on each letter of the alphabet in order to make it stick with your
little one. However, since the program is very adaptable, you could
spend more or less time on each letter, depending on the needs
of your child. Here's how it works:
- A lesson begins with parent and child reviewing
letter sounds and motions from previous letters.
- Then, on the CD, the parent pulls up the next letter
to be learned. A teacher (real person) on the computer
shows the letter's animated character and gives a little phrase
about the character that reinforces its sound. At the same time,
she makes a movement to help show how the letter is formed. For
example, while showing a baker twirling dough, the teacher says, "Bob
the baker baking bread, buh, buh, buh." At the same time she
makes a large movement with her arms that forms a lowercase "b."
- Afterwards, two flashcards come on the screen
showing the animated character with both the uppercase and lowercase
letters. When you click on either flashcard, the phrase is
repeated. The parent can turn the flashcard over to learn how
to make the movements that go along with the letter.
- After one more look at the live teacher reviewing
the phrase and movements, the child plays a simple guessing
game. On the front of another flashcard, the teacher's voice
reads written clues aloud while the child tries to guess
the item the clue is describing. At any time during the clues,
the child can make his guess and use the mouse to flip the flashcard
over to see the answer.
- Ahead of time, the parent should print a number of
the provided worksheet activities, which are completed
next. Once the worksheets are finished, the child clicks the "finished" button
on the computer screen, which leads him to the map of Scholarville
and shows him which letter he will learn next.
Depending on how many printables you choose to complete, one lesson
can last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.
The printable pages cover way more than simply phonics practice!
While phonics is covered, so are letter formations, math, science,
and more. The worksheets reinforce things like patterning, counting
and numbers, sorting, graphing, colors, rhyming words, and making
recipes. Additionally, hands-on ideas are included for each letter.
For example, extra ideas for the letter "w" include cutting a large "w" and
painting it with watercolors, making window words, working with
Wiki Stix, and writing on a white board. For extension, thorough
reading lists are provided for each letter. There are even fun
printables of the residents of Scholarville that you can make into
magnets as well as a certificate to copy and present to your child
upon completion of the program.
The entire program is very organized and easy for the parent to
figure out and use. Even though the lessons are meant for preschoolers,
the parent must be involved. PreK Scholars is not a computer game;
rather, it is a series of computer-based lessons that the parent
and child interact with together. Parent resources are provided,
including instruction on how to teach your child how to cut with
scissors, a chart of correct letter formation that can be printed
off for your reference (or as a poster for your child's reference),
and a supply list for the additional activities (organized by letter).
My 4-year-old son enjoyed PreK Scholars immensely! I've found
it to be super easy to implement, and it's been a solid introduction
to the alphabet.