Our Family

Our Family

Monday, March 7, 2011

TOS Review: Reading Kingdom

Probably the most important academic skill (and one that parents stress the most about) that your child will ever learn is learning how to read. If a child cannot read, they will struggle in every other subject as well. For the last several weeks, we have had the opportunity to use an review an online program called Reading Kingdom.

Reading Kingdom is an online reading program designed to teach children Pre-K - to 3 rd grade how to read and write. The program was designed by Dr. Marion Blank one of the world's top experts in literacy. The program teaches 6 necessary skills for reading and writing success: sequencing, motor skills, sounds, meaning, grammar, and comprehension. Reading Kingdom customizes itself to each child targeting their strengths and weaknesses and most children can do it on their own after a few weeks. The program can be used along with any curriculum the child is using and it's fun! Parents can easily keep track of what their child is doing and how well they are doing by opening a link that shows their progress.

To start the program there is an optional section of keyboard and mouse training for those children who are unfamiliar with the keyboard. Then the child takes a skills survey to assess what skills your child does/does not have and where the program needs to begin. There are 6 levels in the program that your child's teaching will begin and progress. The pre-reading level teaches visual sequencing and keyboarding skills. The seeing Sequence portion teaches visual scanning and memory skills while Letter Land teaches where to find and click letters smoothly. After getting through Letter Land the child goes on to a second skills survey to assess their reading skills and which level they need to be placed at. The reading portion is divided into 5 levels with 6 books to read at each level becoming more complex as you pass through each level. Before reading each book, the child is taught all of the words needed to read that book. Each word is taught in 4 fun and game like formats and each session takes about 15-20 minutes each. Before teaching each new word the program determines if the child knows the word and if so it skips that word and moves on to the next one.

Reading Kingdom is a subscription based online reading program. The cost is $19.99/per month with no minimum amount of months to buy. A full year's cost is $199.99 and for multiple children the cost is $9.99 per month for each additional child. Reading Kingdom offers a 30 day free trial. For more information click here.

To read more about how the program is organized click here.

To read more about their approach to reading click here.

Alex (7) has been my main user of Reading Kingdom, although Anthony (5) tried it also. Alex has had a very strong desire to read for a long time. In fact, he even takes books to bed with him at night like his big brother and sister, but nothing really has made blending sounds and reading/remembering words "click" for him and he has been starting to get frustrated. I was in the process of looking for something new for him to try when the opportunity to review Reading Kingdom came up. Alex is doing very well with the program. He started out in Letter Land which really built his confidence on using the keyboard and he really liked doing the program. After the second skills assessment he was placed in Level 1 and we have been working there for a couple of weeks. He has learned and remembered several new words even to the point of recognizing them in other places besides Reading Kingdom. He likes playing the "game" and he loves the owl that gives the instructions. The lessons are just long enough to keep his attention and not too long to bore him into not wanting to do it again. We have gotten through the first three books in level one and the first time he read the whole book I was so happy for him and what he accomplished. Reading Kingdom really has opened the world of reading to him like nothing else has been able to and given him the tools and confidence he needed to start succeeding. I am very impressed with the program and his progress and will continue to use it.

We have not been as successful with Anthony. Being able to locate the correct letters on the keyboard is an important part of this program because it is being done on a computer. But, there is a time limit on how long you have to type or point and click to answer. I believe that this is definitely too short for the younger (pre-k-k) age. It was very frustrating for Anthony that he could not get his answer in time even though he was paying attention. He kept saying, "It won't let me finish!" Also, if they don't type or click fast enough, the program erases what they have done on that question, shows them the answer, and they have to start their answer over again. I believe it would be much more beneficial to the child to keep the part of the answer that they have correct and let them go on from there instead of making them start over again.

To see what my other crew mates are saying click here.

I received a complimentary subscription to Reading Kingdom for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation.
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