Thursday, October 8, 2015

Crew Review: Reading Kingdom Online

Reading Kingdom Review

I have to admit that we've never used an online reading program before. We've seen all the advertisements but never used a single one. When Reading Kingdom came up for a potential Schoolhouse Review Crew review, I knew my preschool daughter and 1st grade son would be excited for the chance to have fun during their phonics lessons. I was right. They were eager to begin using our one year subscription to Reading Kingdom Online!

Reading Kingdom Review

I don't know if this cute owl has a name. I can't remember one being given at the start of the program. But you will become very familiar with her. She speaks to the students at the start of each session, jumps rope while pages are loading, and says goodbye at the end of a session. The same female voice that gives clear instructions through each step of the program is paired with the owl's mouth moving at times.

It is never addressed to the children, as they walk through the program, but Reading Kingdom Online covers much more than just phonics. Reading Kingdom was developed by Dr. Marion Blank and is the only program that uses her patented Six Skill Integrated Method. The diagram from the website below shows the six skills: sequencing, writing, sounds, meaning, grammar, and comprehension. You can learn more about the Six Skill Integrated Method by viewing the 16 minute video at the Reading Kingdom website.

Although I am able to assign each of my children their own log-in usernames and passwords, I prefer to log myself in and click on each of them from my own dashboard. They can then "click to continue" from there. It's just simpler than remembering their own log-ins.

When a child begins the Reading Kingdom Online program, they work their way through an initial assessment of their skills. This is necessary since it is can be used with children ages 4-10. An older student can even jump in and strengthen their reading skills. The program will take a child all the way to a 3rd grade reading level.

After taking the assessment, my 5 year old preschool daughter was placed in the sequencing segment, to work on putting letters in order from left to right. In this section, she was given a word and then had to select the letters (in order) from a group of letters. You can see that in the image below.

If she was correct, then an animation came out that illustrated the word. If she was wrong, the voice would direct her to try again. If she didn't do anything, or was wrong, it would show it to her. With each new word, the colorful background changed. For us (with slow rural internet) it sometimes meant watching the owl jump rope for a minute between screens.

My 7 year old son (first grade) was able to skip over the sequencing segment and went right to Letter Land. In Letter Land children are becoming familiar with their keyboards and the location of each letter. They aren't taught proper typing skills, with hand placement and all that. They just are learning to locate the letters quickly so it doesn't hinder them in future lessons. Though it was predicted to take 4-6 weeks, he moved through it in a handful of sessions.

In order to increase his speed, the letters would pop up in a bubble and he had to find the letter and press it before it turned red. If he missed it, it would come back around later. Letter Land even teaches the child how to use the shift key to capitalize letters, as well as where to find the comma and period.

FYI: the _ is the space bar. That wasn't explained very well and he struggled with that. We aren't supposed to offer any help to them, so the program can tell what they know and don't know, but I did help him figure that out because he kept getting it wrong at first. It does tell them they will use THESE particular rows of letters and the space bar. But it didn't explain that the underline mark would represent the space bar.

Once my son had moved through Letter Land, he took a second assessment to place him in the correct reading level. He was placed in Level One. He hasn't proceeded very far in Level One yet, but it began with asking him to spell out words. For instance, in the picture below, the word was kid. He was asked to type in kid. I was surprised that it jumped to that first. But I quickly got over it, when I realized how it worked. If he couldn't spell the word, or spelled it wrong, the program then showed him the spelling. After that it took him through several rounds of recognizing the word kid from other similar words like kick and kiss.

So far, my kids are loving Reading Kingdom Online. It is fun, and something they can do on their own. They ask me if they can do Reading Kingdom today. I like that a session is short. It isn't too long to keep their attention span. My son often does a couple sessions at a time, before quitting. He probably gets more frustrated by waiting between segments with our slow internet than he gets tired of the actual Reading Kingdom lessons.

Reading Kingdom stresses that a child will best benefit from the program if they use it 4 days a week. We don't always hit that, but we are also working on phonics and reading lessons on our own. We haven't had any issues with Reading Kingdom Online interfering with, or contradicting our own lessons. They work together just fine.

Reading Kingdom offers a 30 day free trial, which is linked on the home page. If you want to continue the program, it is $19.99/month or $199.99 per year. Additional students are 50% off - each an additional $9.99 per month. You can cancel your subscription at any time.

You can follow Reading Kingdom via facebook, twitter, and pinterest.

April E.

Reading Kingdom Review

Crew Disclaimer

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