Reading Kingdom, an online program that teaches children ages 4 to 10 years old how to read and write up to a 3rd grade level, was founded by Dr. Marion Blank, one of the world's top experts on literacy and the director of the Light on Learning program at Columbia University in New York. Because of Dr. Blank's aim for excellence, Reading Kingdom has received a wide variety of positive testimonials from parents, homeschoolers, and educators, as well as several awards.
In addition to their learning site, Reading Kingdom also has a blog wherein readers can find tips, lesson plans, activities, recommended books, and more. This blog even accepts guest posts from well-known authors and celebrities.
Colby Devitt, the vice president of Reading Kingdom's marketing department, had the opportunity to tutor a homeless child in a shelter. She shares her experience via posts on the Reading Kingdom blog.
Since my son was in speech therapy for the past 3 years, he has fallen a little behind in reading and has even been given some extra assistance at school to help him catch up to grade level. So when I was given the chance to review the Reading Kingdom program, I jumped at the chance.
Upon registering, the program asked the child to perform a skills assessment to see what areas need the most focus. The program uses both a mouse and keyboard. For children that need extra practicing using both, they provide a pre-program working on mouse and keyboard skills. I must admit, this part of the program frustrated my son and I really had to push him to use the program. Once he graduated to the Reading/Writing 1 section he started asking each day to play more and more. The level is broken down into 10-15 minute sections. Many times, Little Big Man would complete 2-3 sections at a time. You can pause once per section for up to 12 minutes at a time.
While observing Little Big Man go through the program, it seemed to me to be much more of a typing program than an actual reading program. However, once he got through the pre-program and moved into Reading/Writing 1, I began to notice more of the reading skills, particularly phonics and spelling. My son's biggest problem in reading was glancing at a word and assuming he knew what it was without sounding it out. By the time he got though Reading/Writing 1, noticed he was sounding out each part instead of just guessing.
The program repeats a lot by asking you to "find that one again". This was a little frustrating for Little Big Man. He felt like it was trying to tell him he didn't do it right the first time. At times there were some glitches in the program. It would not recognize that he hit the correct key. I came over to try and, indeed, it didn't recognize the key had been pressed. But this has only happened 2 or 3 times so far.
At this point, my son is continuing to work through the program. Reading Kingdom has done a good job of keeping the children engaged through activity that appears more as games than work for the kids. From the parent side, I like that I can log in and see his progress and performance in each section, as well as receive an email each time he completes an entire level.
My main complaint would be the requirement for both mouse and keyboard. In the modern world of technology, most families I know use laptops, iPads or other tablets, as well as smart phones, instead of a full desktop. Unfortunately, we do not have a USB mouse or an adapter for a traditional desktop mouse. Little Big Man found it very challenging to use the laptop mouse.
You can purchase a subscription to Reading Kingdom for $20 a month online at www.ReadingKingdom.com. Plus, you receive a free 30-day trial.
3-month Subscription to Reading Kingdom
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Friday, March 9, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST
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