Aug 20, 2013

TOS Review: Reading Kingdom

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Princess Magpie just turned five and is in the VERY beginning stages of learning letters and about letters make words, so I was very excited when I was given the opportunity to do a review of Reading Kingdom.

Reading Kingdom is an interactive online learning game for ages 4-10, or grades Pre-K through 3rd, available to teachers, parents, and homeschoolers that will help children learn to read or improve their reading skills. It is customized to your child, and works on motor skills, grammar, sequencing, sounds, meaning, and comprehension. The cost is $19.99 per month for 1 child, and $9.99 for each extra child. Or, you can pay yearly at the rate of $199.99 for one child, and $99.99 per year for each extra child. There is also a 30-day free trial that you can sign up for.

There is a scholarship program available. They don't want anyone to be turned away because they can't afford to pay. If you do have financial hardship and can show during your 30 day free trial you use the program consistently, you may be granted a scholarship. 

The program uses 6 language skills that are necessary for reading and writing, these are:
  • Sequencing
  • Motor Skills
  • Sounds
  • Meaning
  • Grammar
  • Comprehension
Reading Kingdom was developed by Dr. Marion Blank, a world renowned expert on literacy and the Director of the Light on Learning Institute at Columbia University, who feels that teaching these six skills to master reading and writing by combining the best of phonics and whole word learning without emphasizing complicated grammar rules.  Reading Kingdom believes that the issues with struggling readers stems from emphasizing only phonics or only whole word learning and not combining them. Reading Kingdom combines them.

After an initial assessment, Reading Kingdom guides your child through the six language skills.  With a round little owl as his companion your child will be asked to recognize specific letters in a word, type the letters, select letters that make certain sounds, and more. Each time your child answers correctly there is a little celebratory animation. When they answer incorrectly there is a little cartoon that pops in to the screen and shakes his head. Every lesson gets incrementally harder and customizes itself to your child’s level and only progresses as quickly as he can.

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Reading Kingdom is very simple to use. Princess Magpie was very excited by the idea of it. She has never had any exposure to computers at all in the past, so we did have to work on the very basic mouse and keyboard skills. But she was so excited by this and loved "playing" with it so much that I know that program is going to be a lot of fun for her for this whole year!

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You are given the option of using the onscreen or physical keyboard. Princess Magpie had better success with the onscreen keyboard.  What a I really liked about this is that it starts out by showing you a word and gives you a mixed box of letters. Your child has to spell the word seen in order. Later it shows you the word and disappears so your child has to do it from memory. There are cues if your child gets stuck. It also teaches them the name of the words when they complete the word. 

This above is the onscreen keyboard. see the lighter letter t. That’s the letter the child mouses over too. I really like this as it gives them a visual using the mouse as to where the letters would be on the keyboard. You have the choice to use the on screen key board or the real key board.

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Reading Kingdom Benefits:
  •     Research based and incredibly effective.
  •     The program adapts to every child and provides individualized instruction.
  •     Kids can use the program on their own.
  •     It's fun so children think they're playing a game and want to use it.
  •     It was created by Dr. Marion Blank, one of the world's top experts in reading.
  •     It works as a standalone curriculum or a supplement.
Links to follow:
I love that this program is progression based. It builds on skills that are already mastered instead of just picking something random to work on next. It seems to be a logical sequence for moving forward.

All in all, I found this program outstanding and I can see this being a big part of our homeschool lesson plans throughout the remainder of the year as Princess Magpie increases in her reading skills as well as her motor skills. 

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Make sure you take time to read the resources tab on the Reading Kingdom website. There are lots of great extras as well as detailed information about the program which may help you decide if this program is right for your child:

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