Thursday, October 8, 2015

Reading Kingdom Online Review

My daughters had the privilege of trying Reading Kingdom Online from Reading Kingdom for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Schoolhouse Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Reading Kingdom Online is a program that teaches early readers, accelerated readers, and struggling readers (ages 4-10) how to read to a third grade level by teaching them the six areas of reading: Phonics/Phonology (Sounds), Sequencing (Order), Writing, Semantics (Meaning), Syntax (Grammar), and Comprehension. This successful, research based program is more complete than just teaching phonics for learning to read and write. This educational reading program will feel like a game to the student because of the fun graphics and sounds. It works online with any device (preferably with a mouse) that has an internet connection. Reading Kingdom adapts to every child as they "play the game" so that they will actually learn the content as they progress through the program.

Reading Kingdom Seeing Sequences

Reading Kingdom Online is made up of different parts to teach the six areas of reading:
  • Seeing Sequences - an area of Reading Kingdom that teaches sequencing or letter order in words. The program shows the student a word and has them go from left to right on the screen (as they would if they were reading) to pick out letters out of a group of more letters by clicking on them with the mouse in the order seen in the word on the screen. Once the child gets more proficient in this the word will only stay for a few seconds on the screen and then disappear to challenge the child to memorize the letters in the proper order. The placement test will see if your child is ready to skip this section totally.
  • Letter Land - an area of Reading Kingdom that teaches the student how to recognize and select letters (upper & lowercase letters and some punctuation) they are told to find and produce to enhance spelling and writing. This also effectively teaches them the layout of keys on the keyboard so they can have better typing/keyboarding skills later.
  • Bit Blends - an area of Reading Kingdom that teaches the student phonology or sounds by providing a portion of the sound blend and requiring the student to finish the rest of the word.
  • Orthographic Phonemics - an area of Reading Kingdom that teaches the student the system of our written language in which written symbols (graphemes: in this case letters) of words correspond to the phonology or sounds of letters. This is done by providing a portion of the letters in the words of whole sentences for the student to complete so that students learn sound patterns for words that might be difficult.
  • Semantics - Semantics or meaning is taught in Reading Kingdom to emphasize that words are linked together on the basis of meaning, not sound and to show that context makes how you read and write the word, clear. This is taught by having the student look at the context of a sentence with missing words and pick the correct word for the ones missing out of a group of words to show the correct placement and meaning.
  • Intensive High frequency Syntax System - Syntax or grammar is taught in Reading Kingdom by teaching non-content words which are 100 commonly used words and make up the majority of our written language. In Reading Kingdom the student will not only memorize these words, but gain the meaning of them because they are paired with graphics that illustrate the meaning. Students will be given: a non-content word, a sentence with context to type either the word into or all of the words with proper punctuation, and finally a graphic that illustrates the meaning of the word. This helps them be able read these words and understand the relationship between all the words they are reading.
  • Intensive Word Teaching Method - Reading Kingdom uses this method to teach students words before reading books with four formats: spelling, pronunciation, meaning, and usage in context. After a student masters these they can successfully read and comprehend the program's 30 custom books.
  • Comprehension Modeling Method - Reading Kingdom uses this method to teach comprehension by teaching the student how to create "main idea" summaries after they have read a story book from Reading Kingdom. They will be able to do this on their own when they master this skill.

Reading Kingdom Letter Land

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:

We got to use Reading Kingdom for a full year with 2 students. I used it about 3-4 times a week with my 4 year old daughter, Zari, and her 7 year old sister, Teela. Zari is not reading yet and doesn't know her letters very well. Teela is reading chapter books.

When we started the program with both girls it had them take an evaluation to see where they should be placed. Reading Kingdom is totally hands off except for the initial log in for the student. The program tells you to let them do it on their own and not to help them. This makes the assessment and adaption of the program more accurate. Teela was able to skip seeing sequences totally after the initial placement test and Zari was not, as I was expecting. The evaluation was spot on with assessing their skills.

In the beginning, I did notice some small things that my girls got frustrated with while they were doing the program. Early out there was a section where they were typing a string of letters and symbols on the keyboard that the program told them to type and when they had trouble finding some of them quick enough it would pop up a keyboard to show them where the keys were. When it popped up, it erased previous letters or symbols they had typed so they had to retype them. I was told that, "Unlike other reading programs, Reading Kingdom requires a more advanced degree of diligence." I know that both my daughters needed more keyboard practice so that they could understand where each key was. With more practice both of my daughters got better at this. In Letter Land there is a symbol, some kind of dash, that we didn't know which key it was supposed to be. They pressed the key above the p with the dash and the minus key by the numbers, but it didn't register as the correct key. We asked about this and were told the correct key to hit for this symbol was the space bar and that apparently my girls had missed the part before where the section talks about which keys would be used before the session. So, now you know if you get as confused as we were. My youngest daughter, Zari, had trouble with Reading Kingdom where it has her type lowercase letters and our keyboard only shows uppercase. She is just learning the correlation between uppercase and lowercase letters and doesn't have it down yet. I know this is a weak area for her and that I need to work with her more on this. Reading Kingdom does have an option before you start where you can choose to have the keyboard show on the screen for touch screens, so possibly that would help this problem. All in all, each of these, I believe, can be fixed by more practice or slight adjustment.

Reading Kingdom - Other Areas

Keeping track of progress in Reading Kingdom is easy. After log in I can view my daughters' progress. Reading Kingdom also sends me progress reports by email as well for each of my daughters. I love that it shows me exactly where they are in the program and how they are doing.

I am very pleased with how Reading Kingdom presents itself to my daughters. The fun graphics and sounds along with the learning makes it even more enjoyable. At first we hit a few bumps in the beginning when my daughters were first learning their way around the keyboard, but now they seem to have gotten past that. They love learning with this program and ask me every morning if they can "play" on Reading Kingdom.

Reading Kingdom Online is an excellent program to help children to learn to read. It is a more well rounded program than just teaching your child phonics. Both of my daughters seem to be learning a lot and advancing in reading and keyboarding skills. I highly recommend Reading Kingdom Online!

After your 30 day free trial, subscriptions to Reading Kingdom are $19.99/month , or $199.99 per year. Additional children in your family get 50% off ($9.99/month). You can cancel your subscription at any time. And if you sign up for a no-risk subscription right now, you can save 25%!

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