Monday, March 7, 2011

TOS Review: Reading Kingdom

Today I’m going to tell you about my experience with Reading Kingdom. This program was created by literacy specialist Dr. Marion Blank, to help children ages 4-10 learn to read and write at a third grade level by using six essential skills: sequencing, motor skills, sounds, meaning, grammar, and comprehension.


Here’s How it Works

Your child will begin the program with a Skills Survey.  This part of the program will determine where your child will start the program. There are six levels and each teaches a variety of different skills.

Pre-Reading Teaches sequences and mouse/keyboard skills
Level 1 Teaches sight words such as: some, can, fly, kid, boy (and many more).
Level 2  More nouns and verbs (run, fix) question words (who, what, which) and more. Also they will have reading books to read.
Level 3 Teaches past tense along with more nouns, verbs, helping words, etc. More reading books to go with these.
Level 4 Child is now basically reading to learn instead of just learning to read. The books in this level include science subjects that would be of interest to the child.
Level 5 More complex words and stories to build up their confidence and their overall knowledge.

How Our Family Used Reading Kingdom

I had two of my boys work in the program.  My oldest was able to skip the pre-reading level and start the real reading lessons. My youngest however started in the Pre-reading level and spent many, many days working on his keyboarding and mouse skills.  He is now able to quickly find most of the letters (capital and lowercase) on the keyboard. This is a big accomplishment for him but I must say that it got very old after awhile. My son grew very tired of the same thing day after day. It got better once he left this section. Encourage your child to hang in there because if he/she has never used a computer, which was the case with my child, it will take time. NOTE: This is NOT a typing program.  They do not learn to type, but instead they learn to find (hunt and peck) the letters.
Once your child gets the hang of that you move on to Level 1 where he/she will again take a skills survey and begin Level 1 at a spot that is perfect for him/her. There will be a skills survey at the end of each level that will help place them in the next level.
Below you will see a screen shot of the page that lets you know where your child is in the program at any given time.
Reading Kingdom
You can also click on the different Levels to get a progress update.
Reading Kingdom 


What’s Involved?

So what kind of activities does Reading Kingdom use to teach all of these skills?  Well basically they use different games some interesting and some not as much.
For the Introduction to Reading and Writing my son had to find the letter(s) on the screen and type them on the keyboard and then it would switch and he would have to use the mouse to click them on the onscreen keyboard (see below)
Another part of Intro to Reading and Writing had the child study the letters and then the top row of letters would disappear and the child would have to click those same letters in the box.
This became a long and drawn out process for him as well. It was always the same thing and he grew tired of it after a while. The program was very sensitive and if he didn’t start typing/clicking at precisely the right time it would assume he didn’t know and would try to help him. If you stick with it though, you’ll eventually make it to level one. The Reading Kingdom website says this will take 2-3 weeks. It took that long for us!
My older son was in level one and he mainly learned sight words. He learned words like, girl(s), some, boy(s), plane(s). Below you’ll see a shot of two of the pages used to teach the words Plane and Girls:

Photobucket Photobucket
After learning a few of the words he practiced fill in the blank sentences in which he had to type the words he’d learned. Sometimes he was given a word bank as in the picture below. Other times he was required to type them from memory. So far, this  has worked really well in teaching him several new words. Sight words and memorizing just for the sake of memorizing is difficult for him. Reading Kingdom has made it fun and effortless, and for that I am so grateful!!
. Photobucket
Some fast facts:
  • Reading Kingdom costs $19.99 per month for one child and $9.99 for each additional child. (Scholarships are available) You can also choose to purchase 12 months at $199  They do offer a FREE 30 Day Trial. I would HIGHLY recommend taking advantage of this trial to see if Reading Kingdom is right for your child.
  • Ages 4 and up
  • Goal is to teach child to read to a 3rd grade level using a mix of phonics and 5 other skills that Reading Kingdom feels is essential for reading success. I didn’t see a lot of phonics in this program so I really can’t say I’d recommend it as a complete reading program.  However, I would highly recommend it for any child struggling with reading and/or as a supplement for a good reading program. If you’re wondering if this will work for your child, check out this page.
To learn more about this program and what others have learned from their Reading Kingdom experience, click here.
**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website.

1 comment:

Very Blessed Mamma said...

Hi Marie. I agree. My son had such trouble with Letter Land and Seeing Sequences.
He likes it now, but in the beginning, it was difficult for him.

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