How Multisensory Design Works
Since our first products were designed between 1998-2001, many other product-makers have embraced the idea of using images to ease learning for visual learners, and body motions for kinesthetic learners. We applaud those who are joining in our mission to provide what learners need!
It is worth noting, however, that without that initial study of what really works for children, adding images to numbers, letters, or words can result in marginal results in terms of effectiveness. There must be an understanding of how images work to move learning concepts into visual memory in order for the resource to have the intended benefit for the child.
In the year 2000, Sarah Major created the early versions of the current alphabet, Dolch sight words (SnapWords®), children’s readers, and math resources. She was designing for her kindergarten students with the goal in mind of providing a rich and effective learning experience for them.
The magic of this year was that she was able to run each new image or idea by her students daily. The children quickly identified the images that “worked for them” and identified the ones that did not. Often, they made suggestions as to what would work better for them.
What resulted for Sarah was a crystal-clear understanding of what worked for children, and for the children - success. The proof came in March testing in which the lowest kindergartener tested at 2nd grade level, and all students could add and subtract multi-digit numbers without counting on their fingers.
Different by design:
Child1st resources are truly multisensory.
Many product designers use the word “multisensory” to describe their products. The rationale is that children are seeing the resource, they are hearing themselves talking about it, and they are moving while learning.
If a resource is truly multisensory, however, it will utilize embedded images and the body motion will be directly related to and will mirror the concept.
To be described as "a resource for visual learners" it is not enough to have a visual in the resource, such as beside or behind it.
The visual must be fully integrated into the symbol, mirroring the meaning of the word or mirroring the shape of the letter. For example, it is not enough to superimpose a Z on a picture of a zebra because a zebra doesn't mirror the shape of the letter Z.
And, to be described as "for kinesthetic learners" it is not enough that the child is skipping or hopping or even just pacing or swinging their leg while learning. In order to have a truly multisensory learning experience, the movement will directly mirror the concept the child is learning.
Our customers can be found in all 50 states, in all the Canadian provinces, and in over 150 countries across the globe.
Based on the hundreds of glowing reviews from parents and teachers, we are delighted to say that we have reached thousands of children with a pathway to learning that matches their brain's wiring.
Communication with a parent in Australia:
"Hi, I stumbled on your site while searching the net for resources to help my visual right brain learner son of 9 to learn how to read. He knows his letter sounds and the alphabet, and even after years trying the school way to teach him to read he only knows a few words. And he keeps trying to sound out every word which takes forever and it just messes with his confidence. He has auditory processing issues and is speech delayed, but he is very intelligent and the way he is always thinking and showing out of the box innovation is amazing but he shys away socially because of his speech and reading difficulty, and he very often gets underestimated because of it. I think your program can benefit him but where do I start? He is Year 5 (Grade 3) this year. And very very behind with reading, spelling and writing. Looking for a comprehensive package to start with that includes the foundations of reading, writing, and spelling so he can start of right. Desperate mom over here. :-("
We made a recommendation and a couple of hours later, this response:
"Thank you for getting back to me! I printed out the "try before you buy" pages and [my son] loved it, I showed it to him once and he remembered it instantly, after a few minutes I showed him the normal cards [plain words] and he read it instantly, I wanted to see how far I could take it.. Lol... And asked him to write the words for me, and he spelled most of them right first try, and he was actually feeling pretty good about himself too!! I was in tears and laughing at the same time! So yes I will definitely be getting the products you recommended."
If you have questions about how to help your child, contact us! We are happy to help.