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Watch Your Language

Parents and kids review children's language DVDs



Baby Signing Time
$21.99 each; babysigningtime.com
Reviewer: Tammy, mom of Nathan (11 mos., U.S.)

Because Nathan can't talk yet, it's very difficult to understand what he wants. I thought it would be helpful to learn some basic sign language. We watched the Baby Signing Time DVDs together, and they were very entertaining (although I did get a little tired of listening to them repeatedly!). They offered just the right amount of content. Nathan lost interest after a while, since he is only 11 months old, but I'm not giving up. I figure that if I can learn the signs, I can teach them to the family. Nathan is already responding to the sign for banana, his favorite fruit.

Whistlefritz Spanish for Beginners Series
$19.99 each; whistlefritz.com
Reviewer: Sybil, mom of Zoey (5, U.S.)

Zoey has Mexican heritage, and I want to expose her to the Spanish language. I think being bilingual will be a huge advantage for her in the future. I enjoyed the Whistlefritz DVDs. The words are repeated over and over (although you have to listen closely, since there is no phonetic spelling on the screen). Zoey watched them a couple of times, but I think younger children would enjoy them more. She quickly picked up on words she had already heard, like "hola" and the numbers, and we started using "gato," the Spanish word for cat after watching the animal DVD.

Little Pim: Chinese for Young Children Series
$17.95 each; littlepim.com
Reviewer: Cathy, mom of Nela Ru Hai (5, China)

We live in a small town in a non-diverse area, and I want our daughter to be proud of her birth country and ethnic background. I think any connection she has to her birth culture, however small, is valuable. We watched the Little Pim DVDs together several times--you need to watch them more than once to learn some of the phrases. I loved seeing the diversity among the children, rather than having only Chinese children in the videos. I thought the panda cartoon got old fast, but that was my daughter's favorite part! She liked the DVDs, and is saying some of the short words, like mama, papa, read, and hello. The longer phrases were a bit tough, and we both mangled them, but we tried our best and had a laugh, too.

Sesame English: ESL for Children
$29.95 each; libraryvideo.com
Reviewer: KC, mom of Kenene (4, Ethiopia)

I'm an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, but teaching English to my recently adopted four-year-old is a new challenge for me. Kenene and I had different reactions to the Sesame English DVDs (we watched the "Family & Home" series). She absolutely loved them, and watched each DVD four times, but I wasn't impressed. I thought they were too advanced for children who are just beginning to learn English--they cover a lot of material with little
repetition and reinforcement. They're not quite right for my ESL
students, but they're certainly entertaining and typical of Sesame Street (which I love).

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