Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Sound Blending Songs for Word Families

Sound Blending Songs for Word Families

Fall 2013 DVD
Ages: 4 - 7 yrs.
Producer: HeidiSongs
DVD Price: $15.00

Sound Blending Songs for Word Families features 19 short educational songs to help kids sound out and read common three-letter words. Each song features a “word family” (-ig, -it, -op, -et, etc.) and for the duration of all 19 songs, the host stands in a medium shot against a simple graphic background. She dances and acts out various body motions to up-tempo tunes while read-along words play at the bottom of the screen. Additional text animates on along the top of the frame to help further visualize the words.

This DVD was created, and is hosted by, Heidi Butkus. According to her website, she is a credentialed Reading Specialist with over 25 years of experience in the primary classroom and her original curriculum evolved into the HeidiSongs product line and website.

That website also explains that techniques used in Sound Blending Songs for Word Families are built around Multisensory Structured Language Education. Research suggests that preschool-aged and special needs children more easily learn to spell, and identify numbers and shapes, using methods that incorporate music and body motions. While studies and resource links about this method are provided on the HeidiSongs website, this information is not included anywhere on the DVD or its packaging, an oversight Ms. Butkus would do well to correct in the interest of helping parents and educators make more informed curriculum decisions.

Ms. Butkus does a satisfactory job in her role as host and viewers could probably envision her using these same music and motion techniques to great effect in a classroom. In the DVD, however, it’s evident she’s self-conscious and still getting used to her role in front of the camera. That lack of energy and connection to the camera may lose little viewers if the DVD is played in its entirety. Still, there’s no denying the educational value of the material. Parents and early childhood educators may choose to just play short selections to achieve maximum impact.

Sound Blending Songs for Word Families does not include any bonus extras although it does offer the option of playing the entire program or selecting individual songs. It is recommended for children ages 4 to 7 and it retails for $15.00.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2013 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

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