A friend of mine, Chelsea, has been using Headsprout to help her daughter learn-to-read and gave me rave reviews. I just had to check it out myself. After contacting Headsprout, they gave me a trial. Headsprout is an all-online system. The have a map of activities and objectives for the kids to reach. The kids use the keyboard and mouse to manipulate the letters and form words. They also have a trove of coloring sheets, mini-books, and flashcards that you can print out corresponding to the various episodes (or lessons). I’ve been impressed we have been using it for nearly two weeks and I have noticed an improvement in E’s ability to recognize patterns in language. The characters of Headsprout are little aliens who are on various missions. Our kids have to solve the missions using letters, creating words and sentences in order to say, fill up the space shuttle with gas, or go to the alien circus (our kids favorite!)
Ways this curriculum helps early readers:
- Headsprout is very incremental. Each step builds on each other with repetition, and yet as the “environment” or goals changed it didn’t feel like the same exercise. Ex: At one point they might be shooting at the letter, another time they might be dragging it to a location on the screen.
- Kiddos learn computer literacy as they have to navigate pages, mostly with the use of a mouse.
- It is so cute, even my 2 year old sat enthralled and would shriek out when one of his favorite aliens, Mo-mo or Gus, popped on the screen.
- Love the print outs. We used the flashcards to help supplement our learning. In later episodes you can print out mini-books.
- They provide detailed feedback to you the parent/teacher so you can know where your child is, what errors they are consistently making, and where you should work with them more.
It was fun, I actually sat and listened to my little gal as she was “working” and the stream of though was entertaining. “See Vee” was the title of the latest episode we did together (Vee is one of the aliens). E saw the word see and could differentiate it from the word “set”. She’d say, it starts with the right letter but has the wrong ending. I was impressed with how quickly this program taught word patterns.
Negatives of this program:
- If you have more than one early reader in your home, you will need to order multiple months worth of curriculum.
- Headsprout is not set-up to easily backtrack if your child needs more repetition or if you wanted to share the program between two learners of different paces.