Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Fresh, New Hooked on Phonics Infomercial

Who would’ve thought after 20 years that people would still be saying “Hooked on Phonics worked for me!” It’s a phrase ingrained in many of our minds from the first ground-breaking infomercial back in 1990. It’s amazing to think that those kids are now college age!

I’ve “lived” Hooked on Phonics almost that long as part of the product development team on many Hooked On™ products. Yes, the Learn to Read program has evolved and been improved over the years, including the brand-new product with a fresh new infomercial. I never get tired of hearing how the program touches people. In fact, at the infomercial shoot a few months ago, someone behind the scenes had been involved in filming an earlier infomercial and still remembered the people and success stories from years ago. The a-ha moment is just such a special milestone.

One thing I love about the way the product has evolved is that it’s so much more than just about learning to read—it’s about loving to read. And it’s a bonding experience that no parent should be without. Watch the infomercial, and you’ll see some of those special moments for yourself. Here’s a parent that says it better than I can.

Reading is more than just about sounding out words. Fluency is a big part of reading. Without it, your child might “fall off the page.” It’s like learning to ride a bike. If you pedal too slowly, you’ll fall off. Likewise, if you read just one word at a time, by the time you get to the end of a page, you won’t remember what you read at the beginning. Take a look at one clip from the infomercial that shows how the program can make the difference between falling off the page and happily riding (I mean, reading) away.

You’ll see other stories like that one throughout the infomercial. One child, however, struck me in particular. You know how kids learning math don’t understand how they’ll ever use it? “When will I ever use algebra?” I hadn’t thought about how that could be true for some children learning to read. After all, we read every day, whether it’s the newspaper, street signs, or nutrition facts at the grocery store. But Hannah’s story made me think twice.

I have to be honest—I don’t usually watch infomercials. But this one? It’s worth watching. The milestones are priceless.

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