The cases are cracked and broken. The paper inserts are ripped and worn. It is obvious that the Imagine Island DVD set in Marie Lowry’s classroom is used frequently. Ms. Lowry teaches pre-K and Kindergarten at Miss May Vernon Elementary in Fate, Texas. And she’s tired of lending out her Imagine Island DVDs to other teachers.
“My Imagine Island videos have gone through a lot because everybody wants them,” she says. “We bought it for our bilingual classroom, and the other teachers walked in one day and they fell in love with it. So now I have to share my Imagine Learning videos.” But she has an answer to her problem. “I’m ordering them for the whole district.”
What is Imagine Island and why are early childhood education programs across the country clamoring to get more copies?
Imagine Island is an award-winning children’s television series designed to help children learn English using a bilingual approach. It was produced by the same people who created Imagine Learning English, the successful literacy software program. The series consists of 26 half-hour episodes, each episode focusing on a letter of the alphabet.
“My preschoolers love this,” Ms. Lowry gushes. “This is the best way I can imagine to introduce a letter.”
Each episode has a mystery to solve for the two main characters: Jack, who speaks English, and Booster, an animated robot who speaks many languages. Because many of her kids speak Spanish as their first language, Ms. Lowry selects the Spanish option on the DVD, and the robot speaks Spanish. However, Ms. Lowry was surprised to discover that her English speaking kids loved the show just as much as the others.
“It’s geared towards teaching kids English,” she explains, “but the English speaking kids don’t mind that. They’re engaged and they’re having a great time. It’s so interactive. It doesn’t just teach a letter, it teaches opposites, it teaches so many different concepts. It’s incredible!”
Ms. Lowry feels Imagine Island is the perfect tool for her preschoolers and Kindergarteners. It familiarizes them with the alphabet, it builds their vocabulary, and it sets the stage for them to begin reading and writing.
“When is the second season coming out?” she asks.
To find out more about Imagine Island, click here.
To go to the Imagine Island website and watch an episode, click here.