For this past month we have been testing out The Reading Kingdom program. The Reading Kingdom is an online learning to read program for children age 4 to 10, designed by Dr. Marion Blank. When they have finished the program they should be reading and writing at a third grade level. The program uses six skills to teach both phonics and whole language, the skills are sequencing, motor skills, sounds, meaning, grammar and comprehension.
There is a guide book here you can download, that explains how The Reading Kingdom is different from other reading programs.
I decided to use this program with my daughter who turned 8 recently. She has been working on another phonics program and is 3/4′s of the way through that. I felt like this would be a good review for her, and help build writing and keyboarding skills .
The program starts out with a skills assessment test called Seeing Sequences and Letter Land. You are not suppose to help your child with the questions, other then to provide help using the mouse or keyboard. The test is suppose to find out what skills your child has so the program will place them at the right level. Each session of the test takes about 15 minutes. Even with dd doing more then one session a day, it took her about two weeks to complete this section.
Seeing Sequences shows the child a word, then has a line under it with a mixture of leaders. The child is asked to click on the letters in the right order. As the child moves on it gets a little harder.
Letter Land gives keyboarding practice. You have the option of having your child use the on screen keyboard, or using your computer’s keyboard. This section was teaching the keyboard layout and how to capitalize letters.
When dd mis spelled the word “girl”, she was shown the word on the screen. Then it would show her the same word in a line of other words, and ask her to click on it. It repeated this a few times, then asked her to find partial words “gir”, “rl”. After this it asked her to spell the word again.
Once the testing section was finished, she was placed into level 1. The program works through storybooks using the same methods used in the skills test. Children are shown sentiences and asked to pick out the missing word from a list. If they get it correct then they continue on, if it is wrong then it practices building and recognizing the word.
I was surprised, that dd was placed in level 1 since she is already reading stories like The Little Red Hen and the Gingerbread Boy on her own. But after seeing the words that Reading Kingdom starts off with I can understand. Most reading programs I’ve looked at start of with short phonic words, cat, hat, sat, Sam etc. Reading Kingdom starts off using words like girl, kid, and some. Words she can read, but are not the normal beginner reader words.
You can view more samples here.
If your child is placed at a level that is to easy or hard for them, you can contact the company and they will adjust this level for you. Over all my daughter has enjoyed using this program. She did find the testing session long and drawn out, but after that she has like using it. Most day’s she wants to use multiple sessions. That’s fine with me!
I think this program works well for visual learners and it is a fun reading program for kids to use. I do lean more towards teaching reading with a phonics method, and we haven’t moved far enough into the program to really see how it handles phonics. I have seen it teaching some letter sounds, but it seems to be only when the child gets a word wrong. I do like to start out teaching the sounds and blends then moving into recognizing whole words. So I would prefer it if the program started with short vowels and moved up from that point.
The other con to this program is that it is expensive.
Reading Kingdom has a 30 day free trial, if you find you like the program you can continue your subscription for $19.99 a month, or $199.99 per year. Additional children can be added for 50% of the normal price. They also have a scholarship program available.
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Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a complementary subscription to The Reading Kingdom to review. However all opinions are my own honest views or that of my children. Prices are quoted as of the time of this post and are subject to change.