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Disclosure: This site contains sponsored posts, affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale) and is part of the Amazon affiliate program, but all opinions are strictly my own.

School Zone {Giveaway}–CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

My son is almost 4-years-old and is already starting on the path to reading. He is recognizing words, signs, logos and letters everywhere we go. This would be great if he were going to start Kindergarten next fall, but because he is a December birthday, he will have to wait ANOTHER YEAR to start. As in, he won’t be starting Kindergarten until Fall 2015. I have him enrolled in a co-op preschool with some friends this year, but I’m still unsure how we’ll spend the next year after that learning without getting bored. Hello, workbooks and flashcards, and Hello, School Zone!

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School Zone is a family-owned company that is dedicated to creating the best pre-school and elementary products for supplemental learning. They are best known for their flash cards and workbooks, but they also sell books, software, activity books and electronic learning. Their products are all developed by teachers and educators and are constantly updated to reflect the latest standards, teaching methods and best practices. They have so many workbooks and flashcards for phonics, letters, spelling, sight reading, cursive, math, fractions, science, etc., that I could go crazy buying up their whole store and be set for at-home learning for the next 6 years! Their website is nicely laid out so that you can search individual products (software, for example) or you can pick a level (say, 1st grade) and search products specifically aimed at that learning level.

We were sent the Start to Read Early Reading Program (Level 1) book collection, Beginning Reading Software, and Bedtime Alphabet Flashcards to review.

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The Start to Read book collection ($24.99) comes with 5 Beginning Reader Books, 1 Read-Along & Songs CD, 1 Comprehension Book and 1 Parent Guide. The books are short and easy to understand, with lots of rhyming passages and great illustrations. The CD reads each book twice through; once with sound effects and music so kids can listen to the story and understand it, and a second time with just the words, so kids can focus on reading the words along with the CD. My son really enjoyed being able to “read” the books by himself and when I asked him questions from the Comprehension Guide, I found he’d absorbed most of what he’d read.

books

The Beginning Reading Software ($9.99) features interactive versions of two of the books from the Start to Read collection (“Jog, Frog, Jog!” and “Nine Men Chase a Hen”). My son wasn’t as interested in the books because I think he was a little burned out on the stories, and, with the advent of App Books, the technology wasn’t that exciting to him. What he did like was the Dictionary, which gives verbal and illustrated definitions of the words in the stories, and the Create A Story game. He spent a good hour picking out pictures, drawing on them and then stringing together pre-chosen words and phrases to make his own “story.”

computer

The Bedtime Alphabet Flashcards (on sale now for $7.99) are the most innovative part of the package. The set features flashcards of every alphabet letter (plus a few random animals and objects) and each picture/letter is scored to be popped out. Once popped out, the cards double as stencils in the day and shadow puppets by night. A mini flashlight is included with the set so you can learn in the dark with the interactive cards. This was by far my son “Ralph’s” favorite part; he waited patiently all day but couldn’t wait until it got dark enough to play with his flashcards in his room at night! I love that these cards have more uses than just as a flashcard. My only complaint would be that they’re pretty thin and flimsy, and a few pieces were ripped in trying to pop out the letters and shapes. But overall, we love them!

cards

All School Zone products can be purchased online at SchoolZone.com and come with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.  Connect with School Zone on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube to be aware of the newest products and deals. Right now, School Zone and Dandy Giveaway have paired up to offer you the same Learning to Read Set that I reviewed (book collection, software and flashcards), so enter below to win!

Click the Button to Enter the Giveaway!

13 FB Enter to Win! Btn_Orange

 

** This giveaway is open to U.S. entries only.

**The giveaway will end October 12, 2013. The winner will be announced by School Zone. 

** This posting and giveaway were sponsored by School Zone, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Baby Blanket Music {Giveaway}–CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

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When my son “Ralph” was a newborn, I spent a LOT of time in my rocking chair. He ate every 3-4 hours, and ate for an hour each time, so I felt like I was permanently glued to that chair. I had a CD player in his room and would turn on quiet, soothing music so I could stay awake while feeding him, especially in the middle of the night. I sure wish I had known about Baby Blanket Music back then!

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Baby Blanket Music takes your favorite artists (Madonna, Michael Jackson, John Mayer, etc.) and turns their songs into music suitable to listen to while your baby is drifting off to sleep. Rad, right? Baby Blanket Music was created by Josh Rutt, a teacher, composer and performer.  He noticed that there was room for improvement in the quality of baby music available when his close friends started having kids, so he set out to create a line of music that would appeal to not only babies, but parents and grandparents as well. Each music CD pairs familiar baby sounds like vibraphones and music boxes with classical instruments to create a sound that is soothing, calming, but never annoying.

CD

I chose to review the Michael Jackson CD, and I loved it! This is DEFINITELY meant to be soothing, lullaby-type music, so I don’t recommend operating any heavy machinery or trying to think too much while listening. But it will be a joy to listen to at night or in the wee hours of the morning when trying to soothe your little one to sleep. Every song on the CD is an MJ Hit, and even slowed down and set to a music box, I couldn’t help but groove and sing along! Some of my favorites include “Bad,” “Man in the Mirror,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.” I like that he throws in little things that aren’t purely orchestral, like the high notes Michael Jackson would hit at the end of songs. It makes you feel like you are listening to an actual version of his music (much slower, obviously) instead of a hollow, dentist office karaoke track. I know I will be glued to this CD with my next baby!

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In addition to MJ, Baby Blanket Music has made CDs of music by Madonna, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, John Mayer, Elton John, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel and Garth Brooks. Definitely an eclectic collection but one that can satisfy any music lover. Don’t see your favorite artist here? Tell them which CD you want, and they just may create it!

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Baby Blanket Music CDs are sold online for $14.99, on iTunes and in select retailers nationwide. Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter and you’ll be the first to know about new artists or great deals!

You could win a Baby Blanket Music CD of your choice!

** This giveaway is open to U.S. entries only.

** The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the morning of October 8th, 2013, and will be emailed within 24 hours.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

** This posting and giveaway were sponsored by Baby Blanket Music, but all opinions are strictly my own.

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