Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Souns Success at the Rockford Public Library, Illinois

We received a wonderful update from Emily Klonicki, the Children's Librarian at the Rockford Public Library in Rockford, Illinois. They have received an overwhelmingly positive response since they first introduced Souns on September 7, 2010.

"I just wanted to send an update to you on the great success of SOUNS at Rockford Public Library. Since starting our SOUNS program in September, our numbers have grown steadily and parents are very excited about the program. Last week we had around 36 participants—that’s almost 20 babies! It’s great! SOUNS has also given us a great leg-up on our baby story hour. The weekly story hour is too popular bringing an average of 50 people per week (you can imagine how crazy that gets!) so we are going to offer another baby story hour each week starting in November. I just wanted to drop a note to say how much I love to use the program, how easy it is, and how much the babies are really getting it! It’s amazing to watch. Next I plan to implement some of the SOUNS approach into preschool programming. Thanks again!"

Thank you, Emily!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Well done to Souns!

More good news from South Africa. This note was received from the classroom teacher at the Chris Nissen Primary School (Grade R). She uses Souns to teach the children to read and write in both Xhosa and English.

"Well done to Souns!

We started to learn about Souns on 14 January 2010. Now they can be able to read and write, they write or build words on the floor using Souns and now they become to write words on the pieces of paper.

I wish this game can go to other Schools, because it help me. My learners now they gonna be good readers."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Progress in Knysna, South Africa

In a country with eleven official languages, teaching literacy in South Africa can be a challenge. However, since all eleven languages use the latin alphabet, it is a perfect environment for learning with Souns. I was delighted to receive this story from Knysna this morning:

"We have had some hiccups in our schools recently while teachers were on strike, and before that it was an extra long holiday for the soccer World Cup, so there has not been much time at school for me to monitor my SOUNS classes. Well, today I went to Tembelitsha and Chris Nissen (both Xhosa classes) and was so amazed at the excellent progress that the learners have made in spite of the gaps in schooling. Where they were previously just managing words with repetitive syllables like "mama", "tata", "sisi", etc., they are now managing words like "funa", "muti", "wona" ...... both forming the words and deciphering the written words correctly, and each group had a child who could manage a longer word like " ihage" and "sesona" while I was there. So, it is going very well."

Thank you, Lesley, for this update!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Zero to Three Poster Session, Dallas, 2009

Three decades interacting with young children as they learned to read has been a great source of information and inspiration. The greatest lesson was to trust the minds inside those little bodies. Give the basic tools of print - letters in association with their most common sounds - early and incrementally, and see what a difference it makes in a child's relationship with the environment. Souns places specifically designed prototypes of print in the hands of infants and toddlers to explore and manipulate. This practice is deceptively simple, but the results are measurable and clearly indicate potential in a wide range of applications. Learning the alphabetic code (phonemes) between 0 to 3 years of age is far easier than having to crack the code later.

The following information is the result of a survey from 33 families who volunteered to share their experiences with Souns. The families ordered Souns online and are from different parts of the USA and the UK.

100% say that Souns is easy to implement, with 94% of respondents indicating that they followed the program as directed.

100% say that Souns is helping their child to learn letter-sound asociations.

93% of children that have been working with Souns for at least one month voluntarily identify the letter-sounds they have been introduced to in the environment.

>70% of children that have been working with Souns for at least one year are attempting to write them on paper, with this occuring at an average age of of 29 months.

At an average age of 35 months old, these children begin to sound out phonetic words independently.

Souns children begin expressing themselves by phonetically writing words and sentences at an average age of 43 months.

100% believe that Souns is contributing to their child's interest and confidence in language.

100% believe that Souns is contributing to their child's future success in reading and writing.

Comments from participating Souns families:

Souns is one of my son's favorite things....I love it, totally believe in it....

He looks for words and letters in every environment and talks about them to everyone.

She can read anything in front of her and has no fear of trying to sound out any words.

....I don't see why anyone would want to do it any other way.

We love the Souns program.

She loves "m" and "o" and carries them around the house with her.

This is an amazing tool and now that I have seen how well they are working I will continue to tell my friends about them.

Thank you for creating such a wonderful tool. They are not only a great teaching tool for me, the girls love to play with them while learning which only adds to the enjoyment.

I can see eyes light up when he has figured out a word on his own. This makes him want to continue to work to sound out the next word. My child has delay in fine motor skills and eye tracking. Without this program I believe my child would be a lot farther behind than he is because he would not have the foundation to build on.

Within three days of starting Souns we passed a McDonalds and she started saying mmmm!! mmmmm!! We still call it the Mmmm Store. You can see how proud she is when she shows off her Souns knowledge.

As a mother of 25-week-old preemies, Souns gave me the hope, courage, and confidence I needed to help our daughters begin to understand the language we speak, read, and write - the world we live in. It helped them to eventually make some sense of it all. What a blessing Souns has been to us.

My son was diagnosed with high functioning autism at age three - he struggles with fine motor skills and still finds it difficult to write with a pen. However, cognitively, he is able to write well-formed sentences using a keyboard.

He already shows so much interest and competence with language and language skills. Many people remark on his mature use of languge and his clear articulation and speaking skills. Playing with Souns is fun for him and he seems so proud f himself when he knows his sounds, validating the effort he has put into learning the sound-symbol. It will be amazing to watch him apply what he has learned, both in "decoding" the written word and in "encoding" his own stories and self-expression through writing, and I can't say enough good things about the materials and the program.

The fact that she can pick them up and feel them and bring them along to places with her and the fact that they are extremely durable is wonderful. They have been our Christmas tree decorations, friends we take to bed and things that we play hide-and-seek with. I have spent quite a bit of money on toys and educational toys for my daughter and this purchase of our Souns set is something I am so happy I spent the money on... a wonderful resource for us to have in our home.

A Research Option- The main value of the Souns program is that it matches beautifully how the brain learns naturally. I strongly endorse the program and am anxious for a formal research study which I am certain will match what we have seen in informal settings (Wolfe).

Wolfe, Pat. Letter to author. 12 June 2006. TS.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Question About Order of Introduction

We received our Souns about a month ago and right away gave our son the o. He now has the o, m, s, t and p and is loving them. Just today we were driving around and he was pointing out sounds on signs - and s in the Safeway grocery store sign, an m in another sign... it is so amazing to see him learn and recognize the sounds.

We do have a question, and that is what the proper order of introduction is. We've been going by the order of the pronunciation list in the booklet, but have noticed that the order of the children pronouncing them on the video is different.

Thanks so much for such a great learning tool!

Four-year-old Asa Emails

asa: monstrs eet uthr monmstrs.

me: i am not a monster. today i am a butterfly.

asa: im a rabt.

me: i am a bird today. what are you?

asa: im a bee.

(Several days went by.)

asa: im a brd tooda.

Keeping In Touch With J

I haven't had a chance to try some of your suggestions yet, but I have been using the Souns letters during play again lately. My daughter remembers the first 7 and I am going to introduce the next letter soon. I'll keep you posted on her progress.

I am interested to see if she will be an above average reader. She also shows more interest in books than my son, and she crawled for 6 months before she walked. They say there is a connection between kids who crawl for a long time and higher reading levels. Between her crawling, interest in books and Souns, I am guessing she will be a great reader!