Homeschool Product Review - Reading Kingdom

I really do love teaching my kids how to read. Hearing them sound out the words, read the simple sentences, and seeing their excitement as they read stories. Well, that is what is supposed to happen.

What really happens?

They get the b's and d's confused. They forget the spelling rules. And they whine when it is time to do reading. Except when I tell them they get to do Reading Kingdom.

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What It Is:

Reading Kingdom is an online reading course for children ages preschool through 3rd grade. Using interactive graphics and fun exercises, your child will learn how to read and write.

At first, your child will take a placement test or the Skills Survey. This tests them, not only on what letters and words they might already know, but how well they know the keyboard; since using the keyboard is an integral part of the program.

They will be placed in one of three levels:

Seeing Sequences. This level is at the beginning, and teaches your child how to scan from left to right. They will also work on memory exercises that help with reading.

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The other level to complete before entering the bulk of the program is Letter Land. Working with one row of the keyboard at a time, your child will practice identifying the individual letters and copying groups of 3-4 letters from the screen. They will also learn about punctuation and space bar usage; Reading Kingdom conveniently has an on-screen keyboard to use. If the Skills Survey shows that your child needs both the Seeing Sequences and Letter Land, they will be taught simultaneously.

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The main component of this program is the Reading and Writing Levels. The system used in this program, developed by Dr. Marion Blank, teaches reading and reading comprehension using a 6 skill model. Combining elements of phonics and whole-language, it also teaches additional components that help children master reading and writing. You can see more about their approach here. Beginning with short words and sentences, the program teaches up to the 3rd grade reading level. Each of the levels is based on six books which your child reads completely when they finish each section. By the end of the program (level 5), your child would be reading a sentence like this:

"There was a baby bullfrog. He was also very bullheaded.
He liked to go to places on his own and did not stay with his mother. "
What You Get:
Reading Kingdom can be bought two ways; a monthly or yearly subscription. For one student, one month of access to the website is $19.99 and to access it for a year it is $199.99. Each additional reader is only $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year. And something that is super cool? You can create your Reading Kingdom account and use it free for 30 days, just to see if it is a good fit for you. You can also purchase hard copies of the books that your child will read in the program, plus other fun books to supplement the course.
This really is a complete reading program; with your subscription you will receive weekly reports and easy access to the site to track their progress. As your child moves through the program, it customizes the teaching based on the previous interactions and lessons. And at the end of each reading level there is a progress check to assess whether the material was mastered. You can see sample lessons of all the levels here.
How We Used This And What We Thought:
I was able to put two of my children into this program. First up, Nutsy. She took the Skills Survey and ended up at the beginning of Seeing Sequences and Letter Land. Part of her problem is that she is not very familiar with the keyboard. But being able to recognize where the letters are is an important skill so even though she wasn't learning words yet, I felt her time in the program was very profitable.

She enjoyed finding the letters and punctuation. After each word or group of letters, there was usually a cute little graphic that came onto the screen for a couple of seconds. And as she progressed through the level and they began having her spell words, she liked trying to sound them out. She is excited to keep using this program this year; I love it that it moves at her pace and she can usually do all the exercises on her own.
 The other child I had use this was Dasher. Reading has been a huge struggle for her; especially the sight words. So the fact that this program focused on those pesky sight words, (like the, such, he, be, was, does, etc.) was a big bonus for us. She tested about a third of the way into the first level of reading where, in each 15-20 minute session, she would learn two or three words. Once she would learn a set of words, there was an online book to read. Some of the exercises included typing the word, finding it among other words and filling in blank letters in the word.

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The pace was excellent for her and was not frustrating. I especially liked it that before each session there was a mini assessment to see if she already knew the words that would be covered. In this way, I felt that the program did a great job of gauging her weaknesses and strengths.

So how did she do? Well, last Sunday in church she wrote me a note, asking me to hand her the church bag that had her notebook in it.

"Mom please hand me the church bag so I can get my notebook."

And every word was spelled correctly. This is a huge step for her; if she had been writing that same sentence a month ago, she would have misspelled at least 4 of the words. We had been taking a break from her normal phonics and reading curriculum over the summer, so I know that it was what she learned through Reading Kingdom. Doing this program gave her the tools to recognize words, remember them, and read and write them with ease. I am so excited to see how she continues to improve this year, and I am very thankful for a wonderful resource like Reading Kingdom to help us along the way.
Other members of The Crew also reviewed this product; check out what they thought by clicking below.


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