As a seasoned dad, I've heard a ton of kid's music and seen countless kid's videos over the years. My two oldest children were preschool age in the late 1990's through the early 2000's. Their favorite things to watch and listen to were the Disney animated movies, Mary Poppins, and television shows like Bear in the Big Blue House, Roly Poly Oly and PB&J Otter.
Fast-forward to 2010. I remarried and our son Jett was born. He was subsequently diagnosed with Down Syndrome. We had always planned on raising him through less "contemporary" means, (we practice attachment parenting, elimination communication, co-sleeping etc), and with the diagnosis, we doubled our strategy.
We wanted to give him every chance possible to grow and thrive. The biggest area of our focus was his brain. We wanted to stimulate and challenge his mind constantly every single day.
When we were studying about teaching Jett to speak and read, we came across Readeez, the creation of Michael Rachap. Readeez are short videos, usually musical, where you see and hear every syllable at the same time.(Michael calls this SyllableSync). Readeez are way to learn reading, spelling, math and more. Here's an introduction to the Readeez concept:
We got Readeez volume 1 on DVD and we were hooked. The videos were simple, yet engaging. The music was infectious. We immediately got the entire Readeez catalogue and added it to Jett's daily therapy.
Immediately, there was a shift in Jett's comprehension and vocabulary. He began sight reading at 17 months, at 21 months he could sound out words at 25 months his reading level was late kindergarten (for those who haven't seen them, scroll through and check out the videos here). Readeez is always on in the car or playing on the stereo. They're on my iPod and I've even listen to them while mowing the lawn! I find myself humming the songs even when I'm not around Jett.
We owe a lot to Readeez. It's a gentle, smart way to introduce your child to learning, and the songs are instantly memorable. Because Readeez is such a integral part of our daily lives, I felt I had to do a tribute to Michael Rachap. For you Readeez fans out there, see if you can find all of the song references.
Big thanks Michael, Isabel, Julian, Miss Olivia and everyone else over at Readeez for everything you do.