Friday, August 26, 2016
Can Do Cubes - Another WOW! Schoolhouse Review Crew Review
When Can Do Cubes from jollyliteracy.com (just2ducks LLC) was offered as a review with the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I saw the neat letter/sound blocks and read the descriptions on the website and thought that this would be excellent for Jacob, my youngest, since he has difficulty reading. After all, it seemed like a good phonics program using good manipulatives, so it certainly couldn't hurt. My objective was to use it along side our regular phonics program to help him sound out some of the words with which he has problems.
Little did I know that Can Do Cubes are much more than just a supplemental manpilulatives. Although they can be and are often used along side another curriculum, they were developed to be used as a complete program on there own. As we dove into the program we realized how complete it was! It actually reminded me of my educational therapy days when I was an educational therapist for over 10 years. We did so many things similar to Debbie Hepplewhite's synthetic phonics program for which the Can Do Cubes were developed. I absolutely love this program!
Having said that, there is no way that I could tell you everything about this program in on small blog post, so I am just going to highlight all of the major things and the very, very, basics of how to use the program. Now, don't worry, although there is a lot to the program, as you will read in this review, it is very well explained and, therefore, easy to learn and use.
Highlights of the program:
The Cubes Themselves - This is the highlight of the program and we love it! There are two sets of cubes that come with the kit. The "Stage One" Set comes with 27 cubes that are divided into eight categories. The six category one cubes each have a, i, t, p, s, and n printed on the six sides, the next category has c, k, ck, e, h, and r printed on them and so on until all of the sounds for The Simple Alphabetic Code are represented. The Simple Alphabetic code is different than the regular Alphabet. It is the 44 individual sounds that are are needed to form the spoken words that we use in the English language.
The "Stage Two" Set comes with another 32 cubes that finish the Alphabetic Code and introduce some of the more complicated sound variations, double consonants and capital letters.
You can use these cubes in any number of ways - to play games, to teach words, and more - however, it is suggested that they be used to learn basic sounds first. It is important for the sounds to be learned before the actual names of the letters, because the sounds are what we use every day, not the letter names. Often, when the names are introduced with the actual sounds, it becomes confusing for the child.
The cubes were what I was going to use along side of Jacob's regular phonics program as an aid to his learning how to read. However, as you read further, you will find there is so much more to the program.
By way, we love the size of the blocks. This program has thought of everything, even how big to make the cubes. They are an excellent size for children's hands.
The small Stage One and Stage Two spiral bound Home Edition books - Although these are small instruction and explanation books suggesting ways to use the blocks, they are packed with information. You could actually use the blocks effectively and understand the Systematic Synthetic Phonics approach by reading just these books. They contain everything you need to know on how to introduce sounds to a young child, blend sounds together to make words and how to decode words themselves. They also contain games to be played that make the learning fun, and add simple writing techniques that can be used. Also, the word charts and pronunciation charts are invaluable. Although, as I said above, these books could be used by themselves, I would suggest using the accompanying CD and DVD which I will briefly describe below along with these books.
The Teacher''s Guide and Template Book CD - Although the title of this says "guide" it is really a set of guides and an excellent workbook that the you can print out for your child to use. We love the workbook. It has goes along with every step that is being taught. The guides are like the little books on steroids. It explains, in much greater detail, the Synthetic Phonics Approach and how to use it with your child.
The Teaching, learning and 'sounding out' with Debbie Hepplewhite DVD - Okay, if the small books and the expanded guides weren't enough, the DVD makes everything clear. From Debbie Hepplewhite explaining the program to her demonstrating the proper sounds to her giving examples of how to use the blocks by using a live student to more. This DVD has it and is excellent. I love this DVD! It reminds me of my therapy training and I love the British accents of Debbie Hepplewhite and the students. Just for your information in case you are wondering, though. Although Debbie Hepplewhite and the subjects are British, the sounds are very clear. You can completely understand everything.
Debbie Hepplewhite's simple and complex alphabet codes overview chart and Word Charts - These are "icing on the cake" extras that are marvelous. They explain the different sounds and the cubes that are used to make the different sounds and gives tons of word examples for you to use with your child.
As you can see, this is a thorough and well developed program that can be easy to learn and use with your child. We love it and plan on continuing to use it this year. I can't wait to delve into it more. The few short weeks that we have to review it gave us just enough time to scratch the surface. You may not want to use every component the way that it is used in the Synthetic Phonics program and that's okay. Use it however is best with your child. If that means using along side of another program then great! However, if you have a real struggling reader or even a beginning reader that you are just starting to introduce sounds and letters to, this program can be a used as a complete program in itself.
To find out more about Can Do Cubes or the other products that jollyliteracy.com has to offer, just click on any one of the highlighted links above. To find what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about this awesome product just click on the banner below. Happy Homeschooling!