Meet the Sight Words is an educational 3 DVD series created by the Preschool Prep Company, LLC studio in Danville, California directed by Kathy Oxley. It includes 3 DVDs that introduce 46 sight words over 120 minutes worth of video through a collection of animated graphic words recommended for children 15 months to 6 years of age.
There was a brief period when my wife began to get concerned over our then 2 year old son’s speech development and spent hours, even days on the internet researching the topic. In the process, she came across and purchased some educational videos to improve his speech.
While I believe our boy naturally grew and is growing into his speaking abilities, Meet the Sight Words has proved to be an amazing find and highly valuable in honing and encouraging reading and spelling skills in two of our children.
When the DVDs came in, I was preparing to bathe our then 2.5 year old boy and 14 month old girl upstairs in our bedroom one evening as usual. My wife had not explained what these videos were, but I popped in the first DVD and after zoning out the initial video’s introduction, witnessed a strange animation of the word of followed by other sight words which continued through the end of the video. I could not help but think, “What in the world is this?” Feelings of bewilderment and surrealism overcame me as the hypnotic repetition of these words resonated in my mind as the video unfolded. Likewise, I remember also experiencing thoughts of disappointment at what I imagined my wife spent on these things.
What I did notice however, was that this strange hypnotic tone had also influenced my children and captured their undivided attention. And while the video’s preface introduces the short lesson features appropriate for classrooms, our kids just consumed the content of each of these videos with a powerful appetite for knowledge and skill. Consistently and repetitively, each evening they would request one of these sight words videos by their specific title as they replaced all other of their evening routine videos one by one. When I would get them early enough, they would devour through all three videos.
At first, the experience was that of flat entertainment and fixed attention, but slowly and methodically their young minds absorbed every single one of these words, oftentimes exclaiming each word as they appeared on the screen just in time before the voice-over had an opportunity to read the graphic. In time, our boy would not only read each word in anticipation of their next appearance, but would spell them when asked. Likewise, it was just the cutest thing when our tiny girl would point to the screen and in her soft voice read, “some” “look” “but”.
At the end of each video there is an animated boy and girl that would make several sentences made from the sight words in their respective video. One evening when my mother visited, she observed them watching the video and assumed that they were just staring blankly at the words. In a proud and significant moment of fatherhood, I paused the video at the moment the sentences began and asked my boy to read them. With his equally proud sense of accomplishment, he read each sentence as I paused then played then paused until he reached the completion of all the sentences. When he finished, my mother was floored!! She could not believe that she just witnessed her young grandson completely read and finish several complex sentences with eager fluidity and skill.
Over six months later, Meet the Sight Words has long since been exhausted and completely absorbed. Our daughter now completely recognizes all of the words, identifies them in books and television and even spells some of them. Our son now spells all of them independently of the video in his etch-a-sketch, spells them aloud, reads them fluently in books and television, and has used his confidence of learning to read to continually learn more words and phrases. And at his preschool he amazes his teachers with his knowledge to the point where I’m considering donating a set of Meet the Sight Words to the school, but not before replacing the third DVD that he broke while trying to watch it when I wasn’t looking.
In all, Meet the Sight Words has had the most positive impact on our kids from all other educational DVDs in our library. And while I see some reviews on amazon claiming that it did not work for their children or that it wasn’t advanced enough, most other reviewers agree that this is an incredibly valuable set of educational videos.
Now when they watch the video, the kids lost their interest in the words and now comment on the surrounding animation, which is in many ways abstract and detached from the words’ meanings, so with my kids the videos have since reached their conclusion. But the level of efficacy and the definitively positive impact on the kids have made this set my top recommendation as of now. The company’s tagline is, “You will be amazed at what your little one can learnTM.” It is an accurate statement. At under $40 with free shipping, I would hardly call this a disappointing purchase.