One of the gifts Trillian picked up, ostensibly for Scooter, back in December was "Sesame Street: Old School." If you've seen ads or reviews for this, they almost always say that the old seasons may not be appropriate for today's preschoolers, but we figured that with Scooter almost 5, it was worth a shot. (Not that Trillian was using the whole "buy it for our son" thing as a cover to watch it herself.)
At the beginning of a couple of the DVDs, there is an ad for "The Best of the Electric Company." Shrewd marketing was my first reaction. But then last week, as I watched it more carefully, my slight cynicism switched over. Flashes of scenes from the show come in and out as the theme song plays. One of scenes shown was what I suspect most people remember best: two faces in outline with parts of a word said separately and then together. A visually-reinforced phonics lesson. And it clicked--that would work so well for Scooter. His IEP last week had said as much: Scooter is primarily a visual learner and needs visual cues to reinforce aural information.
Although Trillian and I have been working on saving more money, keeping a more careful eye on our finances, this seemed like a a good addition to our collection. (Again, not that we had any intention of watching it ourselves.)
Several days later, this is the most requested viewing. Sure, he's calling it "Sesame Street," but he knows what he likes--"letters and words." He stands, enraptured, watching letters go across the screen, laughing out loud at the broad humor, answering the questions they pose (not always correctly, but at least he's eager to try). Although it's not "READING" in the sense of pulling books off a shelf and reading an entire story, he is definitely "reading": recognizing more than a handful of words and starting to understand that he can sound out letters to figure out unfamiliar words.
And it's spilling over to life away from the TV. He's asking me to write more for him and comparing words. When we read stories, he frequently wants me to point out words as I'm telling the story. This is so much fun!
BTW, I had forgotten all the BIG names that were in "Electric Company": Bill Cosby, Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno. Talk about amazing talent!