Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Review of Developing the Early Learner

Rose (5) has been using the series Developing the Early Learner along with her Sonlight Core P 4/5 this year. I nearly omitted these books from the Core, thinking that they would just be busywork. But I am glad that I decided to get them because she absolutely loves these books. I purchased all four and she is currently working on the third.

The DEL books are aimed at four to six year-olds and they are a good fit for Rose, both age and skill-wise. Much of it is quite easy for her but she doesn't mind that at all-she is very proud of being able to complete the pages with just a little assistance.  There is enough challenge to stretch her skills and make me feel that the books are worthwhile, but she rarely gets frustrated by them (and she can be easily frustrated!). These are soft cover workbooks with black and white illustrations. The paper is nice quality and the books don't have that "cheap" feel of some kindergarten workbooks. The covers are still intact and nice looking after weeks of use, which is saying something around here!

These also aren't your typical boring workbooks. I was surprised to find that they are really very fun! They cover a very wide variety of learning readiness skills, like listening to directions, fine motor skills, comprehension and memory skills, rhyming words, mazes, sequencing, letter recognition...lots of things. Kids do not need to be able to read to do the pages. There are simple directions for an adult to read at the top of each page. Here are a few sample pages from the first three books....

Color the words that rhyme with "bat"

Circle cold items in blue/hot in red

Tracing/fine motor skills

Following directions read aloud

Identifying "same" and "different" sounds

Color the things you might find in the yard

Color the picture that best completes the sentence

Color the object that goes with the picture on the left

Sonlight schedules 1-2 DEL pages on most days, but Rose always wants to do more. She would probably finish half the book in one sitting if I let her. We spend about 15 minutes a day, three days a week on it. A child who is reading could probably do much of the book on their own, but there are many pages that require at least some parent involvement. I can often start her on a page and then help someone else for a few minutes while she finishes. It has also worked great to have an older sibling help her with the directions if I am busy.

 For the most part no other materials are needed to complete these books. A couple of times I have had to photocopy a page that was meant to be cut into sequencing cards or formed into a puzzle. All in all, this is probably not a necessary set of workbooks for your kindergartner, but I would not hesitate to recommend it if your child (like mine!) enjoys having their own work to do alongside their older siblings.

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