Videos winning attention

Of Consuming Interest

April 21, 1999

So Smart!, 1998, $14.95 each, 800-663-2741, Web site: www.

Much has been written recently about the ways children begin to develop language skills in infancy. It is these research-based findings that led Alexandra Tornek, an early childhood development researcher, to produce a series of learning videos for babies and toddlers. The So Smart series consists of three separate 30-minute videos that contain brightly animated images set to soothing classical music. They're designed to make television an engaging, interactive experience for parents and their little ones ages three months to 4 years.

"In order for babies to learn, we must first capture their attention," explains Tornek. "Babies learn much like we do as adults -- by building on simple ideas in order to reach more complex ones."

Each video presents a different concept: "Volume 1: Sights and Sounds," Volume 2: "All About Shapes" and "Volume 3: All About Letters." In an example of the progression from simple to complex, the basic geometric shapes take on personalities. Cecile the Circle becomes the porthole of a ship sailing on a blue screen ocean that fills with bubbles from a fish.

In the letter series, lines transform into letter shapes moved by animals and objects. Three lines become an "A," an apple grows from a tree and the word "apple" appears on the screen. There is no narration on the tapes; instead, parents can tell their baby the names of the objects as they enjoy the beautiful sounds of Mozart, Tchaikovsky and others. The accompanying guide recommends watching with the baby in short segments of five to 10 minutes. The series received awards and recognition, including Dr. Toy's 10 Best Children's Educational Products and the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval.

-- Susan Rapp,

Village Reading Center

Pub Date: 04/21/99

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.