Playonwords’ PAL Award has announced its first winner in the DVD category. Initially hesitant to take on this category because of recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics for no TV watching under 2 years of age as well as controversy over the value of sitting your young child in front of the TV to “learn,” I have decided to recognize the best products in this realm. Since it is evident that parents purchase DVD’s for their young children and use them to hopefully educate them as well as give the parents an occasional break, I felt it was a subject I must address. That being said, I will award only the best programs that teach parents how to participate and use the DVD to build their child’s language and encourage interaction between the parent, child and story.

“Sookie & Finn, Our Day,” was created by a parent whose child was delayed in language. Using her experience and the expertise of a speech language pathologist, I she has produced an excellent model of a DVD for all children and parents to benefit from. Here is my review:

“Sookie & Finn, Our Day” is a clear, thoughtful, research-based DVD aimed at encouraging a child’s language development through interaction with a parent. Designed with a speech language pathologist, “Sookie and Finn” has all the elements of a fantastic language lesson for all kids–1) entertaining and spunky cartoon characters 2) learning language through a child’s typical day of waking up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, going to the park, taking a bath and getting into bed, 3)labeling common objects, repeating sentences and relevant words to a child’s world, 4)reinforcing concepts through nursery songs of the same theme and 5) instructing parents on how to maximize language learning through viewing the DVD with their child.  Each of the six vignettes is followed by a friendly narrator who reviews the sentences and single vocabulary words essential to the story–breakfast, eat, egg, toast, too hot, blow, yummy and mess for breakfast. Timely pauses allow breaks for a child and parent to chime in and interact with the DVD.  The instruction and role of the parent as participant with their child’s viewing of “Sookie &Finn” sets this DVD apart. Their theme of “Talk with us” is exactly what parents should do as they view the DVD together with their child and follow the tips to maximize language learning. Repeat the same verbal routines during your daily activities with your child, sing the songs, extend the story by using toys related to the film, talk about what happened in the story and relate it to your child’s world. An extensive list of tips to encourage a child’s speech and language as well as developmental charts give this DVD an instructional component that parents can learn from and apply when viewing other media with their children. It must be noted that Sookie & Finn” are from the UK and therefore have a British accent and put on trousers rather than pants and eat porridge instead of hot cereal which really only further expands a child’s vocabulary and understanding of other cultures.

Recommended Age: 1-4 years

Available at Amazon: Click here

The above is solely the opinion of the author. “Sookie & Finn, Our Day” was provided for review by APA Animation Production Ltd.