Wordless Wednesday . . . How NOT to Spend a Saturday Night!



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ASD Reading . . . A T. O. S. Review

I have reviewed the original Reading Kingdom Online before, as you can see here. However, this time I have been fortunate enough to be given a newer program from the company Reading Kingdom! I have one child at least, who is on the autism spectrum, and one who may be, but who is not diagnosed, and both are struggling readers. So, we have been among the lucky crew members who were given ASD Reading, which is a new, online reading program for children who are on the Autism Spectrum.


ASD Reading is an online program which teaches students with ASD to read, write, and to comprehend. This is done in a fun and colorful way, so that the child (hopefully!) will not become bored.

ASD Reading uses unique methods that I have not seen in other programs. All children can use this, even if they are non-verbal. There is extensive use of graphics, audio and animation  to reinforce everything the child is learning. Written and spoken language are linked, so that one mirrors and reinforces the other. This program customizes instruction that adapts to each child’s specific skills and needs. Finally, It tests the child’s skills, and overcomes error patterns and difficulties.

This is a groundbreaking reading program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It  was adapted from the award-winning and patented “6-SIM” Six Skill Integrated Method for teaching reading & writing with comprehension, done by Dr. Marion Blank.  ASD Reading holds the key to opening up the world of literacy to children with ASD – even when they are non-verbal. To learn more about why these methods work so well, please read about it here.

In our case, I was given a one year subscription for up to two students, so I chose to use ASD Reading with our twins, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler.”

I knew upfront that this was going to be a hard sell when it came to “Mr. Loquacious,” and I was absolutely correct on that. And it still is, so even though you all know I prefer if possible that learning be fun, sometimes, like now, I find myself saying “suck it up, buttercup, sometimes we just have to do stuff we don’t want to do.” This has become one of those times, with “Mr. Loquacious.” Just as an FYI, this is not the fault of ASD Reading. Not at all. It is because “Mr. Loquacious” would rather do just about anything other than learn to read. He came to us at age 8 not knowing how to read or spell anything but his name, and has, because of other issues, has not gotten as far as he would like. So now, it embarrasses him, and he doesn’t want to try.

“The Puzzler,” on the other hand, has been thriving! He zipped right through the assessments, and even when the animated dinosaur tells him he can be done for the day, he often wants to keep right on going! Of course, this is making me VERY happy, because (as I said above, and have said so many times before,) if it is at all possible, I think learning SHOULD be fun, so that children (and adults!) will want to continue to learn for their entire lives.

In My opinion, one of the best things about ASD Reading is that fairly soon, “Mr. Puzzler” began using the program totally on his own, with no need for me to supervise at all. Anytime I want to, I can log into my account, and I will see a report which shows me exactly where he is in the program, and how he is doing. A progress report is regularly emailed to me, and if he needs help, the program will let me know that, as well.

I am definitely going to recommend ASD Reading to anyone who even THINKS their child is on the Autism Spectrum. Thus far, it is serving us quite well! :-)

To find out what other crew members think, please click the graphic below:

Reading Kingdom Review

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Wordless Wednesday . . . Making a Paper Gun By Following a Youtube Video


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Stinky Kid Math . . . A T.O.S. Review

I was chosen as a reviewer for a product I had never heard of, called (are you ready?!) Stinky Kid Math!

Stinky Kid Math works on a concept-based method to teach how math actually works. Your student will learn the how and why of concepts from Pre-algebra, Algebra, and Geometry, making the abstract concepts accessible to everyone, even if they (like me) have always struggled with math.

Stinky Kid Math is an online program, offering over 300 video lessons (which are not very long, helpful for those with a short attention span!), many of which also have a printable worksheet. You will also find the corresponding text that you can print off, if your student would benefit from being able to both view AND read what is being taught.

Next, we have games to reinforce the concepts being taught during the time online. There are five games the student may play, called Geometry Runner, Math-A-Mole, Geometry Playground, Integer Game, and Shifter.

There are different ways you can use Stinky Kid Math. As a supplement, you may choose to go to the point your student needs extra help with, moving through the program that way. You can also, as we chose to do, begin at the beginning and follow the lessons in order. I chose this path because my son “The Artist” has not had much experience as of yet with Algebra or Geometry.

Stinky Kid Math is pretty easy to get around in. There are buttons for the lessons, and when the student clicks on them, they break down further to show him what is available for that lesson. He will see if it is just the video, or if there is a portion of the textbook or a worksheet to print out as an aid in practicing the concept being taught.

At any time, the student may play any game on the site. I like that. They do not need to get to a certain point in their learning to “earn” a game. I like to think that this is because the games actually help cement what they are learning in other areas of Stinky Kid Math.

As I said above, I asked “The Artist” to begin at the beginning, so that is what he did. I wish I could say that he loved Stinky Kid Math, but so far, he is not very thrilled with it. :-( He feels that the teacher talks in such a way that makes him think the assumption is that the student is “stupid” I plan to go over it with him again, and see if I should have started him further into the lessons. It may simply be a matter of having begun with things he already knew, and not realizing I was doing this.

I think this is a good online program for teaching these concepts in a way that just about anyone could understand, possibly even ME! :-)

Stinky Kid Math ReviewCrew DisclaimerAs always, I would love it if you joined me on all of “My Journeys Through Life.” Just go to the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, enter your email, and you’ll be notified of all new posts! How easy is that? Hope to see you join me! :-)

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Dig-It! Games: Mayan Mysteries (Online Game) . . . A T.O.S. Review

My family was given the opportunity to review the Online game Mayan Mysteries from

From the company Dig-It! Games.

I chose this review for “Mr. Loquacious”, hoping it would work for him. He REALLY likes playing video games!

Mayan Mysteries is taking the player along as a part of “Team Q”, who are the characters Professor Alex Quinn and his niece and nephew Fiona and Charlie. They are after Ladrone, a thief who has a history of looting artifacts.

While trying to solve the mystery, the player will visit seven unique Mayan places, work through more than 25 challenging puzzles, and solve the mystery to save Ich’aak (a mythical Mayan city) from looters.

We received the single player edition, but there is also a classroom edition. Mayan Mysteries is interactive learning. It has an encyclopedia with more than 450 entries within the game, and will help enrich your student’s reading, geography, math, and critical thinking.

While this is not important to me, just in case it is to you I want to mention that Mayan Mysteries does align with National Standards for Social Studies, Math and Language Arts.

While this game is designed for students age 11 and older, the reading level was beyond “Mr. Loquacious” at this time, although he has been really trying, as he likes the mystery of the game. His older brother has been helping him with the reading when he is available. Unfortunately, as a result he has not gotten as far into the game as I would like him to be.

The one thing he likes is that it is a mystery. He says he likes going to the Mayan sites, too.

Because this game turned out to be harder for “Mr. Loquacious” than I thought it would be, as a result of how much reading is involved, “Mr. Loquacious” is now unwilling to play.

It is my thought that this is not a problem with this game, it was my mistake in which child I chose to have as the player.

However, his older brother “The Artist” is going to take over and complete the game. He is very much into video games too, as are all four of my boys. However, I am trying really hard to (gently, if possible) move them over to mostly educational games, whether they be video or otherwise.

I can see the educational value in the Mayan Mysteries game from Dig-It! Games. The student must use a lot of thinking skills, he or she can improve their skills in reading, they will learn a lot about Mayan culture and geography. I really like that it includes a good size encyclopedia within the game to help them learn even more.

I do think this is an excellent learning game, and “The Artist”, who is a much better reader, is eager to “Dig” in and solve the game!

Dig-It! Games ReviewCrew DisclaimerAs always, I would love it if you join me on all of my “Journeys Through Life” Just go to the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog and enter your email. You’ll always be updated when there is a new post! :-)

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“Mr. Puzzler” . . . Insisting He’s Not Still Sick!



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National Night Out

Last week, we went to National Night Out at our local park. Here is my favorite part!









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