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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2009
My 3 year old begs to watch a "movie" every day, so when I give in, I try to choose something instructional. He knows his letters and their sounds, and is starting to put words together, so this was at the right level for him.

The good: The video is almost non-stop phonics lessons without much filler. This means that in two 30-40 minute sessions, they cover vowels, consonants, special consonants with more than one sound, vowel blends, digraphs, silent e, consonant blends, digraphs, and common phonics "rule-breakers". It is actually an astounding amount of material.

My child has seen limited videos that weren't educational, so his entertainment standards aren't high, but the video keeps his attention enough that he asks for it and wants to play one particular segment over and over because it has a scene transition that mimics breaking glass, and the narrator says, "Oops!" which is highly comic, in his opinion. Granted, he watches the video while jumping off and on the couch, and literally sometimes standing on his head, but after a week, he startled his father by singing, "A-E-I-O-U and sometimes Y, sometimes Y." Obviously something is trickling in.

He can also apply some of it to sounding out words already. He knew tonight that "ur/ir/or/er" could make the same sound, and we used it to sound out "tractor," "bird," and "flower." This is after only 1 week, mind you, and this lesson comes late in the video, far past the "oops" lesson that he has watched repeatedly.

The Leapfrog Letter Factory IS very helpful and educational, but it had him firmly convinced that vowels only made short sounds, and there was no mention of any letter making more than one sound (I know they get there in Code Word Caper, but he was very mistrustful of that video as heretical). He wouldn't believe me that letters could make different sounds, but he'll believe a video over a parent any day.

The bad: Visually, this production is a graphic design nightmare. The words are set against a primary kaleidoscope, and there are these computer-generated characters with abnormally wide-opened eyes that make them look hyperthyroid on No-Doz. The storybook characters on another video by Rock-n-Learn have those same weird eyes, and my son won't even let me get the video out of the package. (They're scary, Mommy.) Fortunately, the comp-gen people aren't on-screen most of the time, although their annoying little voices are heard "off-stage" frequently. Of course, their little jokes are meant to appeal to the preschool crowd, and I think they succeed there.

The actors remind me of a line in an Edith Wharton story, Roman Fever, "that rare accident, an extremely pretty girl who somehow made youth and prettiness seem as safe as their absence." They're not quite as adept at lip syncing and mimicking guitar playing as one would like, and the dancing reminds me of my first middle school dance, but I'm sure it's better than hiring Janet Jackson as the song/dance consultant.

Most of the video focuses on the words (as they should) and an inset of the actor's mouth, which is useful for pronunciation, but unfortunately, the color balance is off (compared to the full frame people scenes, which look fine), so that the skin looks sallow and the teeth yellow. It's just a little weird when the mouth dominates the screen.

All of this is to say, it's rather a painful video to watch with your child if you're visually sensitive. If your kids are used to watching more sophisticated entertainment, they may very well not find it meets their standards. There is no engaging story line, no endearing characters, no songs worthy of immortalization in Hal Leonard sheet music.

The bottom line is that it was made to educate, not to win an Academy Award, and it does work, at least with my relatively entertainment-naive preschooler.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 20, 2006
You can preview excerpts from this DVD online at [...] Reading a review is one thing, but seeing it for yourself BEFORE you buy is even better. You can even let your child view the excerpts and see if he/she appears interested in the DVD, which is what I did.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2004
We checked this out from the library and my kids begged to watch it every day! We have a lot of kids videos and this was the first one that they didn't seem to tire of. We checked it out for probably 3 months straight. I will be purchasing this and the Rock N Learn Spanish video. We also checked out Rock N Learn: Letter Sounds and the kids loved it also. (My boys are 5, 3 and 1.)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2009
Verified Purchase
I cannot rave more about this DVD!!!! I think they did the best they could with incorporating music with phonics. I swear, my 6 year old who is in first grade had a dramatic improvement in reading and spelling after watching this video. At the beginning of the school year, she was averaging 3 out of 8 on her spelling and on her first report card, the teacher said she needed more assistance with reading. I turned on this video a couple of times during the week for a few weeks for her to watch and each time I started it at a different chapter. There has been a dramatic improvement in her reading and spelling. Now she has gotten an 8/8 on her spelling. She started coming home with stickers each day from school that she said she got for doing a good job in reading. She said that this phonics video taught her how to read!!! Just a few weeks ago, we were barely getting through Dora phonics series and now she is reading books to me that she got from the library which are at a second grade level. Awesome video!!!!
I think all Kindergarten and First grade teachers should use this video to supplement there teaching. Students relate to this much better than a teacher standing up trying to teach it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
As a Kindergarten teacher, these DVDs really help my students learn the basics in a fun way. I put them on while they are eating their snacks and they are always engaged in the sights and sounds of these clever DVDs. I've bought them all!
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on November 19, 2012
The DVD is a two volume set on a single DVD, it plays for approximately 92 minutes, and it is rated for ages 6 years to adult. Students learn phonics skills and phonemic awareness through cool music, very colorful action, and high interest games.

The visual affects grab students attention and keeps them focused throughout the lesson by using colorful graphics, comical animated characters, authentic characters, and playful songs. I especially like the on-screen-mouth that demonstrates and enunciates how to make the sounds in each catagory.

Volume I contains the following: Introduction, vowels, short vowel sounds, consonants with vowels, consonant-vowel-consonant game, special sounds of (c, g, qu, x), putting it all together, double consonants (words ending in ll, ss, ff), plural s and ending s, ending consonant blends, practice with ending blends, beginning consonant blends, three-consonant lends, consonant digraphs and trigraphs, silent e intro, silent e makes the long vowel sound, silent e practice, and a fun quiz.

Volume 2 contains the following: Introduction, long a, long e, long i, long o, long u, r-controlled vowels (ar, er, ir, ur, or, ire, are, air), dipthongs (ai, oy, out, aw, au, aw, all, al), break it down (syllables), schwa sound, ending sounds, y and le endings, rule breakers, ph and gh, memory words, and silent consonants.The Rock and Learn series of DVDs are super tools for helping students learn about phonics. The DVDs are a high interest method for reinforcing phonics, phonemic awareness, decoding skills, sight word recognition, and letter-sound recognition.

Repetition is the key to helping students grasp phonics skills and phonemic awareness. The phonics lesson focuses on a specific skill while other skills are being introduced, and or reinforced. Students watch the portion of the DVD for that particular skill, and in doing so their schema about that particular skill is boosted.

For example, students listen, watch, and engage in fun activities on the DVD related to beginning blends (bl). Then, I present my students with a blends chart, on large chart paper, that focuses on words that begin with that particular blend (bl)--black, blend, block, bleak, blue, blood, Blake, blunt, etc.

I highlight the blend with a different color marker such as red, and the other letters are written in blue. My students and I use see-say, say-it-slow, and say-it fast to decode the words from the large chart paper. I also use blends poetry to help my students practice what they have learned.

On early release days (Wednesdays), I divide students into groups of 3 or 4 and we choral read the blend poem together until students sound smooth and fluent.

Students then get an opportunity to practice the poem in their groups. When everyone is prepared, each team takes their turn reading the poem as a fluency exercise.

The team with the least number of errors gets to choose three treats from the treasure box, second place selects two treats, and third place picks one treat.

I also us the precision teaching model to assess my students progress with that particular blend (bl). When students have scored 80% or better we move on to a new blend, and or skill.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2010
Verified Purchase
This is wonderful. My almost 3 year old will ask for this specifically and really gets into it repeating the words and everything. He already knows the letters and sounds so this was a great next step for him!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2009
Verified Purchase
My son has problems hearing sounds and putting them together so this is a boost. I love this company and know I can trust their products. I even send the DVD to school so the whole class can use it.
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on February 25, 2011
It depends on what age your child is when you introduce phonics. I started teaching my child when he was 3 months old with "Rock n Learn Letters Sounds" DVD, "Rock n Learn Phonics Vol 1 & 2", flash cards, "Meet the Sight Words" DVD series and reading to him often. He started reading whole sentences at age two and a half years old and spelling words at age two. Now he's is four years old and reading books from start to finish. I highly recommend parents to teach their kids now and not hold off for the teachers to do it. Rock n Learn makes excellent learning videos and they make learning fun.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2010
Verified Purchase
I bought this video as an extra tool in helping my son learn more about phonics. I'm just glad I didn't pay alot for this movie, because it's boring, the music is bad, and the actors were bad too. My son is 5, and after 20 minutes he was asking to watching something else, because he was bored(I didn't blame him). I had to comprimise with him to try to finish watching the movie the first time we sat down and watched the movie. Now he already knew some of the words they went over, so that helped keep his intrest for a little while, but even I got bored. So now when I put it on, I will only leave it on for 30 minutes(total length is 92 minutes), that way he won't resist watching it in the future, but can still get something out of it. I am happy that it goes over the rules with words, and what they sound like. I wouldn't buy this in hopes to just leave it on and let the movie teach your child. I use it on occasion to reinforce the rules when it comes to phonics.
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