Monday, July 21, 2014

Reading, Apps, and Other Stuff

My blog doesn't see much activity lately, but that's a good thing. We are too busy having fun to remember to post the details! Four is such a fun age and my little boy is not so little anymore! At his 4 year checkup today, we learned that he is in the 92nd percentile for height. It is so hard for me to believe that one day in the not long distant future, my baby will be bigger than me :-) I love this little monkey so much and he keeps us laughing all the time. He is, as we say in the south, "smart as a whip!" He also happens to be a little on the lazy and manipulative side. He is already perfecting the art of convincing others to do things for him. He is a sweetheart though, so it is pretty hard to say no.
E is great at encouraging. I get tickled when he watches me do something, anything and then tells me, "Great job Mommy! Good work." I still melt and put everything on hold when he tells me, "Mommy, I wanna cuddle you." 

A few of you are aware that E has been reading since he was three. What you may not know is that he picked this up on his own. He has always loved the alphabet (kind of obsessed actually) and reading. As part of his language and listening therapy, we try to read 10 books to him a day. It can be the same book ten times even, but the point is to read and read a lot. Along with reading, we sign the stories too. We were as surprised as anyone the day that he picked up a book that was brand new to him and we knew for certain he had not read before and started reading aloud to us. One thing we realized may have contributed to his early start in reading is that, from the moment we learned he was deaf, we have always kept the captions on our TV on. When he is watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates, he gets to see the written words on the screen that correspond to what he hears. I really think this has been a key player and it makes sense when you consider how schools approach reading with recognition of sight words. If you have a preschooler or new reader, give it a try and see what happens. Be warned can take a little while to get used to watching TV with captioning. We have had it on ours for more than three years now, so I actually find it disturbing when I watch without it at this point. I hope I can continue to foster a great love of learning and reading in E. I have always loved books and I hope he will still love them as he gets older.

Another thing that I feel has really helped with E's learning is his iPad apps. I know some people have strong opinions against young children using an iPad, but we have always used one in his therapy and
it is a lifesaver for long doctor's office waits. We have several reading apps, signing apps, and puzzle apps that E really loves. A few favorites:

Elmo Loves ABCs - This app has videos, coloring, and letter writing for each letter of the alphabet. E especially loves dancing to the hammer song for letter H

Signed Stories - These are classic books that feature the read along in both voice and with an interpreter. The interpreters are very animated and fun and E really loves these. The latest we downloaded was "Stone Soup."

Where's My Water - This is a Disney game app that I like because it is all about problem solving and figuring out how to get the water to the Alligator for his shower. The upper levels can get advanced, but the easy ones were fun for E. My husband likes playing this too.

Interactive Alphabet - This one is pretty cute. Each letter of the alphabet features a coordinating photo and each photo does something when you tap it. For I, you build an igloo and then a penguin pops out. E is not that interested in this one anymore, but it was a definite favorite when he was younger.

Tozzle - Interactive puzzles that animate once they are assembled

Pettson's Inventions - This is a new one that we just downloaded yesterday, but I already love it. I was worried that it would be too much for him, but he has surprised me. It is a puzzle type game where you put together pieces to create Rube Goldberg type contraptions to solve the problem presented. It is really great for teaching cause and effect and problem solving. He loves it! I love watching him work out how to accomplish the task using gears, pulleys, etc.

And last, but not least...some picture cuteness :-)