Monday, May 9, 2011

MonkiSee Review

I've had lots of opportunities this year to review fascinating, interesting, entertaining, and useful products. This one is no exception. It definitely entertained my little ones! They thought the monkeys, Skip and Howie, were adorable and funny. 

MonkiSee is an entertaining program designed for children ages 3 months old to four years of age. It is intended to teach children to read using repetition of sight words.  The thirty minute videos introduce babies to words for body parts, colors, shapes, and much more using puppets, colorful images, poetry, and songs. 
Through regular viewing of the program (recommended three times a day, five days a week), your baby will learn to recognize words and start reading. Each video also includes a slide show that may be watched to reinforce the words that were taught. Satisfaction is guaranteed and a full refund promised if you are not completely satisfied. 
  • The MonkiSee DVDs retail for $24.95, but are currently on sale for just $19.95 each.
  • A full MonkiSee Reading Kit, which includes all three videos, two books, five sets of flash cards, an instructional dvd, and the MemoFlix Video Flash Cards DVDs Volumes 1 & 2 is available for $139.95.
Read more about MonkiSee creator, Krista Guererro's philosophy HERE. Find some additional learning links HERE.

**I do feel I have to warn you about one thing...the MonkiSee theme song (which the kids loved) is very catchy and it will get stuck in your head. LOL. Thank goodness it's cute. ;-)

Here's what my kids thought about the videos:
  • Cowboy, age 5, was a bit above the target age and is already reading using his phonics decoding skills. However, watching the video with Firefly and Boo a few times helped him gain some confidence in identifying other sight words. However, his interest was not retained for the entire duration of the video after the first viewing (playing outside is just more fun, says Cowboy).
  • Firefly, age 3, was right in the middle of the target age range, and while she did laugh at the antics of the animals (puppets) a few times, and she did connect the words with the names of the parts or objects being shown, she did not make any huge reading progress. However, I also did not show her the video the recommended three times a day, as that is just too much TV for a child, in my book. My kids watched it once a day, five days a week, for almost three whole weeks.
  • Boo, who is almost two, was interested in the video, but I have to admit, he'd rather watch Pooh. He did, however, sit for each of the showings, and say words along with the pictures, adding to his vocabulary during our trial. He smiled and laughed at appropriate times, and seemed to be entertained. As he watched the video more, he responded to it more by raising his arms and doing what the video told him to do.
  • Me, well, here is what I thought. I thought the video was very well made. They took an interesting concept and made a nice product out of it. I have used similar sight word products to drill words with my children before and while it is not something that I feel fits with our family's educational philosophy (I am much more a phonics person, with a heavy emphasis on the reading aloud, and I am not into pressuring kids to read early), I think the way they have organized these videos and grouped which words are presented on each one (shapes, colors, body parts) makes sense. 
  • So, if you are into the idea of encouraging your child to read at a very young age, or if you feel your child needs help developing their spoken vocabulary, this might appeal to you. It was very cute. OR If you are looking for a video to occasionally entertain a young one on car trips or while you make dinner, this might be a good video for you to add to your collection. After all, your kids will at least be seeing something educational.
  • However, in my opinion, if you want to help your child to learn to read (and to learn to love reading), I personally think that investing an hour an a half daily into reading out loud to your child while they sit on your lap and interact with you and with the book's text would be a better investment.
We also received the book, Know Your Monkey, as part of this review.  This beginning "See and Say" book teaches your baby twenty-nine different words.  The story is written in rhyme and teaches your baby the names of their body parts. As you read the story, the children say the words and copy what the monkeys do in the pictures.  
  • MonkiSee books regularly cost $11.95, but are currently on sale for $9.95 each.
How we felt about the book (targeted to ages 0-3):
  • Cowboy, Boo, and Firefly all felt the book was cute. Cowboy, who already reads, built up his confidence by reading the book to the other kids. Boo learned the word "monkey."
  • Mom says: The quality of the book Know Your Monkey is top-notch and the pictures are cute. The rhyming is fun, and the story, while brief (24 pages, 40 words total), is one that Boo, in particular, liked. All of my kids liked the monkeys a lot. We had to go get out our monkey puppets so they could play with them. >smile<
  • This book is called a "See and Say Story" because you are supposed to be able to consistently read the book with your child, see the pictures, then they will say the words. I agree that this is probably true, given enough readings, but this is true with most simple books. My oldest could "read" Old Hat, New Hat long before he could read independently because we'd read it together so many times. 
To read what other members of the Crew had to say about MonkiSee click HERE.



Disclaimer: I received one MonkiSee video and the book Know Your Monkey for the purposes of reviewing this product. I have given you my honest evaluation of this product and shared with you the actual experiences of my family so you can draw your own conclusions about hte usefulness of this product for your family. If you have questions I did not answer, please feel free to contact me.

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