Review of Can Do Cubes from jollyliteracy.com12:22 PM
I can't believe that my 6-year-old is so excited about learning to read! He asks me to "do school" with him everyday, and he's so interested in phonics and how they work. We were so blessed this month to have the chance to review the Can Do Cubes system from jollyliteracy.com and just2ducks LLC. This system is so comprehensive that any parent can use it with their child.
First, I should point out that the instructions that came with the set recommend that you go over everything briefly before even starting to use the product. That is a great idea, because -- as easy as it is to use with your child -- there are quite a few components, and it works best if you are aware of all the possible ways to use them. Included in our kit was two sets of cubes (Stage One and Stage Two), as well as a printed guide for each stage, DVD, and a CD that contained the teacher's guide and templates. There was a wall chart, as well with a review of all the sounds and the stages of the program.
This program emphasized the sounds of letters, which I loved right away. It reinforced that the popular ABC song relied on names of letters, but that kids learned be hearing the sounds and linking them together. This is the premise of any good phonics program and happened to be the way I learned to read growing up. This decoding process is natural for kids, and we found out right away that Marcus (my 6-year-old) naturally took to the methods used in this program. I knew at once that it was compatible with his learning style, using a sensible approach towards phonics along with the very practical manipulative method (the cubes.)
The cubes themselves are pretty awesome. If you've ever used any kind of manipulative in the past, you know that they can suffer from design flaws, quality issues, or even storage headaches. The Can Do Cubes seem to have covered all three issues quite beautifully, giving parents a high-quality wooden cube solution that stores nicely within the box. They even thought to include little pull tabs on each set of cubes to make them easy to pull out of the case.
As you can see below, using these with your child is so easy. As each activity dictates, you find the right cube needed to form the sound or word, with different sounds on each side. This set below, were actually joined loosely by a string with fasteners at the ends to keep the string in place. It made forming different vowel sounds very easy for us.
As you read through the teacher's guides, it became apparent that the makers of this program provided a lot of background into the teaching of phonics and the overall approach to it. Just as much of the guide is spent explaining the why as to the how, and this was something I enjoyed. I would highly recommend, however, that you read ahead in the teacher's guides before setting down to do the work with your child. Because there is a good amount of reading, you don't want to have your poor child waiting while you figure out what to do.
This product can be used far into the older grades, and we look forward to using it with our 6-year-old, our struggling 11-year-old reader, and our toddler (when he shows an interest in reading). It's a great manipulative program designed to give families years of use, and I think it will! Note: This product pairs nicely with the Jolly Phonics program we also reviewed from jollyliteracy.com. See the Jolly Phonics review for more info!
Be sure you see what other parent reviewers had to say about this innovative, and high-quality learning tool!