Riley has always loved to read and gets so excited to get new books! She also loves watching Sesame Street and already knows some sign language, such as "sing" and "la, la, la" from the songs taught on that show. So, when Scholastic wanted me to review two of their Storybook Treasures DVDs geared to teach children sign language, I was ready!
It seems that they've found a way to meld classic storybooks, sign language and video all in one. I just knew that Riley would learn even more words that she'd be all too thrilled to sign.
Unfortunately, my expectations of these videos wasn't reality. Although I liked how the two DVDs basically brought the beautiful illustrations of these books to life by displaying them with minimal movement on the screen, I didn't care for several features of this sign language DVD collection.
First, these DVDs offer a read-along portion where the words the narrator is saying are displayed at the top of the screen. The words are highlighted as the narrator reads them, sort of like karaoke. But, unfortunately, the words aren't highlighted one by one, they are highlighted one line at a time. I don't really see how kids can read along with the narrator when the entire line is lit up at once.
Next, I thought the purpose of these DVDs was to introduce your child to sign language by teaching them several different signs. On the back of the box it states, "New! Introduce your child to sign language!...Studies have linked early sign language learning to: Improved Fine Motor Skills, Increased Vocabulary, Higher IQ Scores". I interpreted this to mean that my child might learn a sign or two from watching these videos, like she did while watching Sesame Street.
That goal is not realistic based on the way these DVDs are done. The sign language is performed by a person who stands in front of the story (thus blocking half of the screen) and all they do is sign the entire story the entire time in real speed. Now, I don't know about you, but this just reminded me of watching the Presidential Debates where there was a lady at the bottom corner of the screen communicating what was being said through sign language.
I never learned any sign language that way then, and I didn't learn any while watching these videos either. I was expecting the videos to pick 4-5 key words of each story and sign those words specifically, so that children could actually learn several different signs. Instead, the person signed the story way too fast for someone who doesn't already know sign language and then was just in the way during the entire story.
Finally, my 22-month old daughter wasn't interested in watching either of these DVDs in the least. She was all ready to watch the new stories I told her about and was perched in her chair when the DVD started. Within 3-4 minutes, she was up playing with the DVD box and booklet and not even facing the TV any longer. I've never seen her do this before with any DVD in such a short period of time. For the purpose of this review, I watched the entire DVD myself, but have to admit that Riley probably paid attention to it for about 5-10 minutes of the 38-minute DVD.
For these reasons, I'm afraid that I can only give these Sign Language DVDs from Scholastic 3 out of 5 stars. The illustrations displayed in each story are beautifully done and the stories themselves are children's classics. I would suggest buying these videos if you or your child already know sign language, but if you are expecting to learn a little while watching them, then unfortunately, I wouldn't recommend these particular ones.
Disclosure: I received the Goodnight Moon and A Pocket for Corduroy Sign Language DVDs from Scholastic in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. This product review is based on my own personal experiences with this item and is completely honest and objective.
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!