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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Preschoolers English Enrichment Class at Vital Years English Literacy Centre



I visited Vital Years English Literacy Centre the other day to check out English classes for Ryan and maybe even for Raymund. I'm concerned about Ryan's reading skill and there is only so much I can teach him every night after work. I'm thinking of sending him to an enrichment class to brush up his English speaking and writing skills. I have a few places in my mind - Vital Years, Cosmotots IQD or the Cambridge Eglish For Life. I started off with Vital Years because there is one centre closest to my house. The other 2 are some distance away and I have visited Cosmotots some time ago. I would like to make some comparisons.

My earlier intention was to get a centre to brush up Ryan's phonics and sound blending. He is not exactly confident with sound blending. Vital Years English program offers a series of English lessons based on word recognition instead. What this means is that they will expose the child to words progressively (book series) and through repetition, get him to recognize the words accordingly. And Phonics is not part of the program. Is it a problem? Not exactly. I just feel that he should know BOTH phonics AND word recognition especially for common words. My hubby is of the same view too. Perhaps we are from the old school. But I feel that word recognition can speed up his reading skills while phonics can assist him in reading unfamiliar words. The Vital Years franchisee told me that both methods are just different routes to achieve the same. It is really up to the parents. So, how then can I brush up the phonics part? Hmm... Ideally, I'd like to find someplace that offers a good blend of both. 

I have not decided which to send him too. I'd like to visit Cosmotots again and also check out Cambridge English for Life. Afterall, Vital Years will also be breaking for mid year term. If we want to, the best to enroll is mid June. I still have time.

As for Raymund, Vital Years offer something like a kindergarten for 3 year olds. Light English daily lessons for 2.5 hours. But my problem is transport especially for Raymund who is just 2.5 years old only and hyperactive. At times like this, I wish that I am a SAHM!





13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am having the same concern as yours. I have visited vital year and cosmotots, cosmotots teach english by phonics and it claims that child can then read any new vacab by her own. My daughter is 4 now, so headache of choosing a good english centre for her. Hope you can give your opinion soon. thanks.

Regards
Kong

This Mom here.. said...

No worries. Let me find out more and I'll blog about it soon :). Keep a look out ya.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. BTW, I went to Cambrige English for life yesterday. It only offers 1 class per week for 2 hours. I am very doubtful whether it is effective to learn English for such a short period as my daughter speaks Mandarin at home. The centre teach English by phonics as well.

Regards
Kong

This Mom here.. said...

Thanks very much Kong. What about the system? If they encourage practice at home, then it is not too bad. I'll find out later too :)

Jamy TN said...

Hi, I called Vital Years and Smart Readers just yesterday to find out more about their programmes. As you said, Vital Years uses 'repetition' of whole words to help children recognise the words, only English classes provided. Smart Readers uses phonics. I'm not sure which is better, really - I guess that each has its strengths. Do share more thoughts once you have done a little more research

3R's Mom said...

Hi Jamy - thanks for sharing. I've been a bit busy lately. Will definitely share once I've got more :)

Anonymous said...

I think as parents sometimes we can be overly concern about our child's progress and make us failed to realize that a child needs time to develop and late bloomer may not necessary means their are not smarter.

I read to my son every night before sleeping since he was 1+ and he loved it. It has become a habit for him. Then when he reached around 3 we keep telling him that he has to learn to look at the words and learn to read. I almost like nagging at him every night as I wanted him to know how to read. Then I realized it's not good to give him so much pressure.

So I just keep reading and stop nagging much then now he can recognized many words and can read by himself - I was so surprise.

This is just one of the experience I had but there are many other areas where he has surprised us much too.

In short, I think we should just keep doing what is right for our child as long as the child as the child will learn without us realizing.

I also find Ladybird Book series i.e. Peter & Jane are good as my child actually learned to read when I started using that back. It repeats a lot of words and slowly he picked up. Before this, my son could recites all the story books exact sentences but I know he was just memorizing but now he is reading.

We will see progress when we encourage, make it fun and stop expecting too much too early.

3R's Mom said...

Thanks for your advice. I do realise too that we cannot force. I'm trying with flashcards now - homemade but with words that he just learnt fr kindy. Seems to help.

english is 'soup'! said...

hi..my son is five and im considering to send him to vital years..how is it?the place n the teachers?how about the fees..tq..

Anonymous said...

I've sent my daughter to Vital Years last year and I realized her reading, listening and speaking skills improved tremendously in 3-6 months time. She is currently on her second year there and is able to read Peter n Jane up to book 11a. More importantly, she loves her school n enjoy going to school. :)

Anonymous said...

My kids are 2 years old. Any comments whether VY is a good program for them. What is the daily hours and any childcare provided there? Thanks

My First Skool said...

So did you end up picking Vital or some others you found that ticks all your criteria?

Momster said...

The best way to teach reading is to read to your kids consistently. While reading, move your fingers along the words so that they can follow what you're reading. When they are ready, they will start reading by themselves without you realising when they've actually learnt how to. Learning phonics is a good way but it should be done in a fun way like through songs etc so that it's fun and they won't feel like they're being force to learn. Try to get 'Ants on the Apple' from any major bookstores. You can also introduce your kids to the cartoon WordWorld shown on Astro Disney Junior. My son basically learnt how to read and spell from all the above, all through fun. He's now 4. I believe and have also heard from other parents that forcing kids to learn through force or rote memory before they are ready can backfire. They will be so focus on reading the words / sentences that they miss the plot. Isn't it more important for them to comprehend the story than to read it out? This is just my few cents...

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