Reading Kingdom is an online program designed to teach children 4-10 years old how to read. It customizes itself to each child and teaches six skills needed for reading: sequencing, motor skills, sounds, meaning, grammar and comprehension. It can easily be used as a stand alone resource or along with your current reading curriculum.
There are several components to this program, all designed to truly customize the experience for each child. Once you have signed up and activated your account you will create a parent account to track your reader’s progress. A student using this program will need to be fairly proficient with a computer to be successful. Therefore, after you have signed up your “reader” they will have the option to begin the program with a skills survey or engage in some mouse and keyboard skill-building activities.
The skills survey helps determine your reader’s current abilities so they will begin the teaching portion of the program at an appropriate point. This helps avoid boredom from having to sit through lessons on material they have already mastered, and frustration from being presented with unfamiliar concepts too early. The survey tests three skills; keyboarding, left to right sequencing, and reading. After that, there are five levels of reading and writing lessons with progress checks and reviews as well.
The sessions are not long and are presented based on the results of the reader’s skills surveys. They include finding and typing letters, and picking out letters in order. In the reading and writing levels there are various methods in the lessons to teach words, from having the reader type in a spoken word to having them chose from a group of letters that could make up a given word.
As the reader progresses the lessons comprise reading short books containing the words they have been learning so far. The website has step-by-step descriptions of the program that explain it much better than me. :)
Ds4, my 6yo 1st grader, is testing this resource for me. He is fairly proficient with his letters and sounds but is not reading yet. He is quite adept at using the computer so we skipped the mouse and keyboarding activities. After taking the skills survey he was given lessons in Letter Land and Sequencing. It took a few lessons for both of us to catch on to the technical aspects of this program, learning how to time his responses so he wasn’t marked as getting an answer incorrect. However, after about 2 weeks he was familiar with what the program expected and quickly moved on to the reading and writing lessons.
When introducing a new word, the program says the word and asks ds to type it on the screen if he knows it. If he can type the given word then another word is presented. If he cannot then he is given various activities to help him learn the word, such as choosing the new word from similar words, filling in missing letters from the word and just plain old typing the word on the keyboard. The program is gentle, giving plenty of response time and clues when needed, and the pace is appropriate for the age of the child.
Ds likes the program a little. ;) This is because it has a very nice balance between being a game and being school. He sometimes balks at the lessons when they seem repetitive but does enjoy the graphics and animation. He can access the site and start his lesson on his own. I do monitor each session to help keep him focused but I don’t offer any other assistance. We have been using the program for about a month and ds4 is in reading and writing level one. I can see some definite improvement in his spelling but only a little in the reading department. However, it is way early in the game so to speak to really pronounce judgment on his reading skills.
I like the program. Like I pointed out before, there is a nice balance between it being a game and being a useful resource. I like how it approaches teaching reading from many angles and using many different methods. It doesn’t just present the word and have ds type it until he remembers, but also makes sure he can distinguish the word from others. The program is quite user friendly for both the student and parent, and the customer service has been prompt and knowledgeable.
When I choose a specific level to look at it is highlighted and I am given a detailed report of when ds started learning a concept, what his progress is and how the program perceives his performance. My only complaint with this chart is that the graphics are a bit silly since it is meant to be viewed and used by the parent and not the child.
Reading Kingdom is subscription based and there is a 30 day free trial available. 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.
I was given a 12 month subscription to Reading Kingdom to facilitate this review. To see other TOS Crewmember reviews, click on the banner below.