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Monday, March 7, 2011

TOS Review Reading Kingdom

My blog is being scraped again.  If you are reading this on a website other than you are reading a stolen copy of my content.

This go around with The Crew we were able to review a reading program on the computer.  I was super excited to be on this review and am pretty happy with it so far.  :)


The program is called Reading Kingdom.  It is a web-based computer program that teaches young children keyboarding and reading skills.  I was a little wary because they don't use phonics and that is the approach I believe in and have taught to our kids.  I have included a little whole language when needed but it has been mostly a phonics based approach.  So when I read that they didn't teach phonics at all I was a little leary.

This character helps guide your child through the process. 

Here is a page that explains what they believe and why.  It is interesting reading but I can't say that I agree with everything they say.  I don't necessarily disagree either, though.  I think there is balance and that we know our children best so we devise plans and curricula that will be best suited for them.  I think Reading Kingdom could fit nicely into that plan for a lot of families. 

At the beginning of the process your student will take a test of sorts see what their skills are and where they would fit into the program.  Each student is placed according to their skill level and the program adjusts to fit where ever they are at.  After the evaluation the program begins.  My youngest started pretty much at the beginning of the program because she didn't have many typing skills.  She can read a little however but that didn't help a great deal with finding letters on the keyboard.  She quickly learned through the interactive lessons and drills and advanced to the next level. 


The next level had her spelling words already like girl or kid.  It didn't teach them why they are said the way they are it just repeated them and had her type them over and over in different patterns to help her memorize them.  Did it work?  Maybe.  She could do it for the program when asked but I'm not sure if she is going to remember it long term.  I have to say here that this is where I would bring the phonics into it to solidify the letter sounds and give a broader base in which to plant the learning.  But that is just me!

This is an example of one of the reading exercises they do.  It tells them the word to find and then they have to click on it.

She memorized it enough to move on to other words and is seemingly 'learning' enough of them to keep moving on.  And she is enjoying it.  To me that makes up for the difference in philosophy.  I am teaching her to read using phonics and this program is teaching her from a more whole language approach so all the bases are being covered!

Here is a sample of the way to check on your child's progress.

Visually speaking this program is appealing to the young student.  It is bright and interactive and doesn't seem like school.  At least that's what my 6yo says!  She asks to do it everyday and doesn't believe me that it is part of her school work.

You can check out Reading Kingdom for yourself and find out if it would be a good fit for you and your family.  You can sign up for a 30 day trial to try it out and then head over here to sign up.  Subscriptions to Reading Kingdom are $19.99/month with no monthly minimum, or $199.99 if you purchase a 12 month subscription. If you have multiple children using the program, the cost per each additional child in your family is $9.99/month.

Learning key boarding skills.  

My feelings about this program?  They are mixed.  On the one hand I am loving it and it is working well for my youngest.  On the other hand I wouldn't use it as our sole reading program since I am mostly in the phonics camp.  I can definitely see the benefits of this program and so thankful that we were able to review it.  We are going to be using it quite thoroughly!

To see what other Crew members thought about this program head on over to The Crew Blog and check 'em out.

** I received a subscription to Reading Kingdom through The TOS Crew in exchange for my honest review.


Kelly said...

Sounds good! Hope you feel better. ;)

Reading Kingdom said...

Thank you for taking the time to review our Reading Kingdom program...I would just like to clarify that the Reading Kingdom program does teach the sounds of letters and letter blends (phonics), but it does so in the context of the other skills required for reading mastery. The Reading Kingdom teaches 6 skills that Dr. Marion Blank, the Director of the Light on Literacy program at Columbia University and the creator of the Reading Kingdom, has determined are required for reading and writing success. These skills are visual sequencing, motor skills for writing, phonics (sounds), syntax (grammar), semantics (meaning) and comprehension (text).

Thanks again!