Monday, July 13, 2009

Reading is FUNdemental! Perfect for Teachers & Parents Alike! Wizz-E Review

Some of you may not know this, but I went to college to become a teacher. Initially, I signed up for Special Education and Early Childhood Education (birth-2nd grade in NY state), but after my observations and shadowing, I decided that 24 five-year-olds, 6 hours a day was *not* my cup of tea. It truly takes a special person to be an early childhood education teacher, and I applaud those who are.

During college, and the three years before I had my son, I worked in a school as a substitute teacher's assistant, teacher, and teachers aide. I worked with children that were behaviorally, mentally, physically and emotionally handicapped, ages 5-22. These children were amazing and although they were often difficult, the job was very rewarding. I landed a semi-permanent position, and learned so much while I was there. I really felt that I was more suited to work with the middle and high school children, and changed my professional goals.

I cannot stress how strongly I feel about implementing good reading habits early in a child's life. Some of the older children I worked with may have been 18 plus, but were reading on, or below a 1st grade level. Everyday it broke my heart, but gave me so much gratitude for growing up with a family that cared, as we sounded out simple directions on dittos, or beginners reading books.

That being said, Alex was an early reader. Abbie loves books. We strive to develop that yearning to learn in our children's hearts with everything they do. Learning should be fun, and exciting, and something they WANT to know more about.

Since Alex was young, we've used sites like Starfall to help with letter recognition and early reading skills, and even his school used it. Unfortunately, there is nothing on Starfall that really helps improve reading comprehension, which is what I knew I had to work on with my son.

While looking for methods and outlets to help with Alex's reading comprehension skills, I happened to find WIZZ-E Books. created an exceptional way for online books to capture your child's attention and imagination. You have the option to have the story read aloud to you, or you may read it yourself. The stories themselves are written in rhyme, and the narrator is clear and precise. The pages turn, as if you were reading a real book, and the lessons in the book are of mathematics, time, classic story books (such as the three pigs), and more.

Alex loves the fact that at the end of the book it's got a quiz, to see how much of the story you can remember. He's reading and learning, improving his reading comprehension and vocabulary, as well as his patience, and memory. Abbie loves the moving pictures and the fact that the book is narrated, and as the narrator speaks, the words light up. She feels included, and is delighted to "read" the story too. WIZZ-E is based in the UK, so the narrator does have an accent, but I've only found one book that contained a phrase not typically used in the states. When adding, they say, "TWizz-E_UglyDucklingwo add one is three," instead of "2 plus one". My kids are young enough that it doesn't really phase them. Alex asked if that's how 'they say it in England' when we first read it, but now he doesn't even bat an eye.

The website has a search area that you can specify the age range of books you are looking to read (currently, ages 0-8), so finding something age appropriate is not difficult at all.

There are new titles that are added all the time, and Alex cannot wait for "There Was an Old Lady" to become available! One of his favorite eBooks is "The Ugly Duckling", and Abbigaile loves "Add One Teddy".

Another great feature is that after you purchase your title, you have the option to download it onto your computer, so your new title is always a click away. The file itself is an exe file, but it downloads quickly and securely, and is available instantaneously.

I strongly recommend that you check out WIZZ-E and take a look around. I have not found anything like this company, and I really feel that children need a program like this at their schools or their homes. In fact, this may be exactly what you were looking for to add to your classroom, home, or home-schooling environment!

If you visit Wizz-E, do me a favor?? Click around and read the free eBooks offered. Come back here and tell me what you love, like or would improve. I'd love any constructive feedback that I could give the company from my readers!



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