Reading. It’s one area of teaching children that intimidates me. I’m secretly happy that both of my children learned to read before I pulled them out of school, because I’m not confident in my ability to teach reading.
When I was offered the opportunity to review Reading Kingdom, I was intrigued. The program promised to get my son to a third grade reading level by the time he finished it. Truthfully, I have no idea what my son’s reading level is. He’s a second grader, but he reads really well, so he may very well already read at a third grade level. Still, it would be fun to see what the program could do for him. Did it work? Read on!
About Reading Kingdom
Created by Dr. Marion Blank, Reading Kingdom is a web-based reading program that promises to teach children ages 4-10 to read and write to a third grade level. The program teaches the six skills needed for reading mastery: sequencing, motor skills, sounds, meaning, grammar and comprehension.
Though most children will need parental assistance when starting the program, after a few weeks, most children should be able to work the program on their own.
Reading Kingdom is customized for each child who uses the program. Before even beginning the program, your child takes a skills survey, so the program knows where to place him. As the child works through the program, Reading Kingdom constantly assesses a his skills, so he is always working at his skill level, never above or below.
Our Experience With Reading Kingdom
When Bug began this program, I was immediately impressed with the fun, colorful interface. Bug thought it was a bit babyish, but I think the colors and characters would appeal to most children (remember…my Bug is an adult in a child’s body). We had the option of beginning with the skills survey or starting with “hand holding exercises,” which teach a child how to work with the computer keyboard, a very important skill for this program. We opted to start with the hand holding exercises.
We found that typing on the keyboard for Reading Kingdom requires a certain amount of good timing. At first Bug was frustrated, because he would hit a key too soon, and the program wouldn’t register it. Then he would be corrected. After a couple of days, though, he learned the timing and things went much better.
Once he passed the hand holding exercises, Bug moved on to the Skills Survey. I was surprised when he was placed in Letter Land (more work on typing skills), as I thought his typing was pretty good. Unfortunately he was stuck in Letter Land for most of the review period. I will say, though, that his ability to find letters on a computer keyboard has greatly improved!
Finally last week he graduated from Letter Land and took the second Skills Survey. He was able to skip Reading Level 1 and go right to Reading Level 2 (out of 5 levels).
Sessions are very short – 15 minutes for a lesson and perhaps 30 for the skills assessment. My Bug, who is a ball of energy, had no trouble focusing for the lesson period. Overall, it was easy to integrate Reading Kingdom into our daily school routine.
A typical session in Reading Kingdom could include clicking on words, typing words, reading and then typing sentences, or typing letter sequences, depending on what level a child is doing.
The Nitty-Gritty on Reading Kingdom
- Child can work fairly independently, once he gets the hang of the program
- Lessons are short enough to hold the attention of wiggly children
- Computer interface is attractive and fun
- Program works on a variety of skills
- Precise timing necessary for the program may frustrate some children.
- More sight word based than a phonics lover like myself appreciates
My Overall Opinion: This is a really fun program to use in conjunction with our regular reading program. Since my son has mastered most of his phonics work, Reading Kingdom worked well for us. If I had a child who was just learning to read, I would want to use a strong phonics based program alongside Reading Kingdom.
I really loved that my son learned to use the computer keyboard a lot better. He also really learned to stop and listen to directions (differentiating between the instruction to “click” versus “type” for instance). So although I probably wouldn’t use Reading Kingdom as a stand alone reading program, there are benefits to using Reading Kingdom, and we’ll continue to use it for the duration of our subscription or until my son passes through all the levels, whichever comes first.
Important Information About Reading Kingdom
Price: $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year. 30 day free trial available.
Age Range: 4-10 or those reading below a 3rd grade level.
To Learn More: Download this PDF from Reading Kingdom
To find out what the rest of the Crew has to say about Reading Kingdom, visit the Homeschool Crew Blog!
*Disclosure: I received a free subscription to Reading Kingdom in exchange for my honest review.