Peggy Bohac, First Grade Teacher

What have been your main concerns about English learning programs that would have prevented you from adopting GrapeSEED?

The biggest concern for me was: will the GrapeSEED program really make a difference for our students, since we don’t have ESL kids? We were looking to help our students who are language impaired and receiving services for that impairment. We knew that in order for students to be fluent in their reading and writing, they had to be fluent in their speaking FIRST!

After adopting GrapeSEED, what have you found in your experience with regards to those concerns?

The concerns were quickly put to rest! Within just a few weeks, the children seemed to be thriving. They were truly focused on their language and making sure that they were following the GrapeSEED “rules” for speaking. I have one little girl with a language impairment who typically only spoke in 1-2 word utterances. At day seven of GrapeSEED, she spoke her first complete sentence, without prompting or guidance from me.

What have been the top 3 benefits and the features (in your view) of using GrapeSEED for you and for your students?

  1. The freedom to mix up the lessons each day. Although you are teaching the same songs, poems, stories, and action activities every day for several consecutive weeks, the order in which you teach them does not matter. You have the freedom to change things up every day, as you feel is needed. The children do not get bored with the repetition, but in fact, seem to love it. Also, the opportunity for extensions within the lessons are endless!
  2. Student involvement is huge. The children are constantly engaged in the lessons, whether they are singing, participating in a shared reading, or moving to the action activities. There is no “down time” for the students, as they quickly move from one activity to the next.
  3. The curriculum components for a successful early literacy program are all included in GrapeSEED. Letter recognition, concepts about print, alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, fluency development, and vocabulary development are just some of the literacy components of GrapeSEED.

How would you compare the language development of students using GrapeSEED with those who are NOT using GrapeSEED?

I am currently in Unit 2, and the students are able to answer questions with a complete sentence, versus just a simple one-word response that we would typically receive. Also, I have noticed that the children speak and read with more expression in their voice than they did before GrapeSEED.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

I appreciate the ongoing support that we receive after the initial training. There are follow-up visits, weekly email tips, and parent meetings with GrapeSEED trainers. 

I also want to mention how visually appealing the program is to the children. The children are able to quickly identify the characters in all of the stories, poems, and DVDs. You can frequently hear them say “There’s Tonya!” The DVDs are amazing and are the highlight of the week. Mr. Lineman is our class favorite and the children are eager to get their air writers ready to follow along with him. The animation is top notch! 

In my 30 years of teaching, I have been more excited about GrapeSEED than any other program we have adopted. I believe in it!