I wasn’t sure how well the online program Reading Kingdom would go over with my twins “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” when it came to us for review, but so far, they are really liking it!
Reading Kingdom is an online subscription program that is individualized to each student, so your child will not be competing with his or her siblings, rather, they will move along at their own pace and ability level.
While it is not as flashy and exciting as other educational games they have used, they are enjoying the process of moving along at their own pace. “Mr. Loquacious”, however, does have a strong competitive streak, and frequently tries to get me to tell him where his twin is in the program, most likely because “The Puzzler”, being more interested in reading, has, on his own, taught himself a lot of reading just by pushing himself and asking for help, even before we began this review. “Mr. Loquacious” would rather just be read to, and often pretends he cannot read.
Here are some of the things your child will see at different points in the Reading Kingdom program:
I really have always liked phonics based reading programs, but have come to agree with Reading Kingdom in believing that more than just phonics are needed. The American English language is not the easiest to learn, considering that so much of it has roots from so very many other languages! Add to that the fact that the phonics “rules” simply don’t always apply, and there are a significant number of words which cannot be “sounded out” using those phonics rules, well, it proves that phonics just isn’t enough for many people.
Reading is a NECESSARY skill, for anything one wants to do in life. Therefore, why not use whatever will help our children get there without the frustration often associated with using a solely phonics based program?
Here is a snippet of information from the Reading Kingdom website about their approach to learning to read:
“It’s because of these problems with phonics and whole language that schools across the nation show only 30% of children reading at a “proficient” level, while a staggering 35%-40%, across all socio-economic backgrounds, are failing to master this crucial skill (Source: US Dept. of Education) and those who are succeeding are taking longer to learn than they need to.”
My husband and I both grew up reading for pleasure. In fact, the first purchase we made together when we were getting married were bookcases, to hold our many books, after which, we also had to go through and cull out all of our duplicates! I mention this only to explain why it is so important to me that my children learn to read, not just foe educational purposes, but also for pure enjoyment.
When we first received our login information from the Reading Kingdom company, I got the boys all set up, and they were chomping at the bit to get going.
When a child first begins the program, there is an assessment phase, which helps the program decide where to place him/her. This program is completely customized to the individual student, beginning with the Skills Survey:
“This customization process begins right at the beginning with the Skills Survey. It assesses each student’s skills in reading and writing, and based on the results, the program places each child at the point that is just right for his or her skill level. This prevents students from becoming bored and wasting time learning something they already know or being frustrated by tasks that they are not yet ready for.”
Interestingly, considering that “The Puzzler” has actually pushed himself to read, while “Mr. Loquacious” has mostly resisted learning, the skills survey actually put “Mr. Loquacious” further along in the program. Upon further investigation, I discovered that this is because “The Puzzler” needed help with keyboarding skills, so the program started him in the “Letter Land” format. “Mr. Loquacious” was also placed in Letter Land, but progressed out of it rather quickly, while “The Puzzler” is at this point, 84% completed with this level. I’m fairly sure it’s mostly because “Mr. Puzzler” is developmentally much younger than his twin, so he isn’t quite as quick when it comes to these skills. “Mr. Loquacious” is currently in “Reading/Writing Level 1, with 14 % completed in this level.
By the way, there is another great thing about this program, the online (and emailed!) reports for me, the parent! You see, the program information states right away that other than helping the student get logged on, the parent/teacher is to stay hands off, and not help in any way, other than technological assistance. I like this aspect, and so do the boys, although at first, “Mr. Loquacious” did not, wanting me to tell him if he had the right answers before he would type them in. 🙂
According to the information from Reading Kingdom, their program is “the only system that teaches the following six skills. When children are taught all six skills, they easily master both reading and writing. By focusing on these skills, Reading Kingdom teaches children 4-10 years of age how to read and write at a third grade level. So teach a child to read today and give the gift that lasts a lifetime.”
Reading Kingdom offers information on their site to help you decide if your child is ready for this program, with topics such as early readers, accelerated readers, and struggling readers.
To learn more about how Reading Kingdom is fundamentally different from other reading systems available today, you can download this very informative pdf
My twins are enjoying Reading Kingdom very much, and frequently ask to do it. In fact, “Mr. Loquacious” often asks to continue on after his official session is done! This is a win/win for me, since he, especially, doesn’t like to stick with one thing for very long.
If you’d like to check it out, there are tons of sample lessons here, including part one and part 2 of the skills survey. There are also a good number of other resources, including printable worksheets to help re-enforce what your child is learning.
Reading Kingdom is an online, subscription based program, which can be purchased for $19.99 per month. You can get the entire year at once, for $199.00, and additional students are $9.99 per month or $99.00 for the whole year.
Furthermore, for those who truly cannot afford it, Reading Kingdom has a scholarship program! To apply, go here.
Other Schoolhouse Review Crew Members are using Reading Kingdom with their children as well . . . to find out what they think of this program, please click below.
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