>Zero to Three Poster Session, Dallas, 2009

>Three decades interacting with young children as they learned to read has been a great source of information and inspiration. The greatest lesson was to trust the minds inside those little bodies. Give the basic tools of print – letters in association with their most common sounds – early and incrementally, and see what a difference it makes in a child’s relationship with the environment. Souns places specifically designed prototypes of print in the hands of infants and toddlers to explore and manipulate. This practice is deceptively simple, but the results are measurable and clearly indicate potential in a wide range of applications. Learning the alphabetic code (phonemes) between 0 to 3 years of age is far easier than having to crack the code later.

The following information is the result of a survey from 33 families who volunteered to share their experiences with Souns. The families ordered Souns online and are from different parts of the USA and the UK.

100% say that Souns is easy to implement, with 94% of respondents indicating that they followed the program as directed.

100% say that Souns is helping their child to learn letter-sound asociations.

93% of children that have been working with Souns for at least one month voluntarily identify the letter-sounds they have been introduced to in the environment.

>70% of children that have been working with Souns for at least one year are attempting to write them on paper, with this occuring at an average age of of 29 months.

At an average age of 35 months old, these children begin to sound out phonetic words independently.

Souns children begin expressing themselves by phonetically writing words and sentences at an average age of 43 months.

100% believe that Souns is contributing to their child’s interest and confidence in language.

100% believe that Souns is contributing to their child’s future success in reading and writing.

Comments from participating Souns families:

Souns is one of my son’s favorite things….I love it, totally believe in it….

He looks for words and letters in every environment and talks about them to everyone.

She can read anything in front of her and has no fear of trying to sound out any words.

….I don’t see why anyone would want to do it any other way.

We love the Souns program.

She loves “m” and “o” and carries them around the house with her.

This is an amazing tool and now that I have seen how well they are working I will continue to tell my friends about them.

Thank you for creating such a wonderful tool. They are not only a great teaching tool for me, the girls love to play with them while learning which only adds to the enjoyment.

I can see eyes light up when he has figured out a word on his own. This makes him want to continue to work to sound out the next word. My child has delay in fine motor skills and eye tracking. Without this program I believe my child would be a lot farther behind than he is because he would not have the foundation to build on.

Within three days of starting Souns we passed a McDonalds and she started saying mmmm!! mmmmm!! We still call it the Mmmm Store. You can see how proud she is when she shows off her Souns knowledge.

As a mother of 25-week-old preemies, Souns gave me the hope, courage, and confidence I needed to help our daughters begin to understand the language we speak, read, and write – the world we live in. It helped them to eventually make some sense of it all. What a blessing Souns has been to us.

My son was diagnosed with high functioning autism at age three – he struggles with fine motor skills and still finds it difficult to write with a pen. However, cognitively, he is able to write well-formed sentences using a keyboard.

He already shows so much interest and competence with language and language skills. Many people remark on his mature use of languge and his clear articulation and speaking skills. Playing with Souns is fun for him and he seems so proud f himself when he knows his sounds, validating the effort he has put into learning the sound-symbol. It will be amazing to watch him apply what he has learned, both in “decoding” the written word and in “encoding” his own stories and self-expression through writing, and I can’t say enough good things about the materials and the program.

The fact that she can pick them up and feel them and bring them along to places with her and the fact that they are extremely durable is wonderful. They have been our Christmas tree decorations, friends we take to bed and things that we play hide-and-seek with. I have spent quite a bit of money on toys and educational toys for my daughter and this purchase of our Souns set is something I am so happy I spent the money on… a wonderful resource for us to have in our home.

A Research Option- The main value of the Souns program is that it matches beautifully how the brain learns naturally. I strongly endorse the program and am anxious for a formal research study which I am certain will match what we have seen in informal settings (Wolfe).

Wolfe, Pat. Letter to author. 12 June 2006. TS.

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