Review: Reading Kingdom
Reading skills, or the lack thereof, are reaching crisis levels in our nation. The Dept of Education has found that 32 million adults in the U.S. can’t read. That’s 14 percent of the population. 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read. Interestingly enough, 70 percent of the prison population can’t read. Reading Kingdom would like to see a drastic change in those statistics! They recently offered us a fabulous opportunity to review their program, Reading Kingdom Online. We were given a year’s subscription.
Reading Kingdom is designed to teach kiddos between the ages of 4 and 10 how to read and write to a 3rd grade level. It’s an online program that kids can use on the computer or tablet, essentially any device with an internet connection!
The kiddos can use Reading Kingdom on their own – in fact, parental involvement is discouraged! The program adapts to the kids’ level, so it throws it off if the parents help!
Reading Kingdom was created by Dr. Marion Blank, one of the world’s top experts in reading and is based on the idea of teaching kids six skills: sequencing, writing, sounds, meaning, grammar, and comprehension. Typical phonics programs only focus on sounds (and perhaps writing).
The program begins with an assessment. Sweetheart is 5 and is just beginning to read, so we took the assessment and then started at Level 2 of Seeing Sequences. The first lessons began with her learning to sequence letters, and understand that the order of the letters determine which word they’re making!
It’s obvious to us that each of those words are different, but not to a kiddo! To help teach this awareness, Reading Kingdom asks her to pick out letters from a mix and type them in a certain order.
After a few sessions, the program begins flashing the word at her and then asks her to type the letters she sees.
This part is challenging for Sweetheart, so I appreciate that the program adapts for her, and gives her plenty of practice. Typically, this segment takes between 2-5 weeks.
The second part of her Reading Kingdom sessions is Letter Land. Letter Land helps her get familiar with the keyboard and I LOVE that this is included! She gets to shoot at letters by typing them on the keyboard. I can specify the speed, so I slowed them down to give her more time to find the letters.
After those two exercises, she has the option to go on and do some reading. She loves the reading option and will often elect to go on and do it. Reading Kingdom strategically chose to allow the kids to decide whether or not to do the reading section in the beginning, to give them some control over the program.
Before each content word is taught, the program assesses if they already know the word. If they do, it skips to the next word. We are still in the pre-reading activities, so you can see more about exactly how they teach reading here: Reading and Writing Overview.
The last section I want to highlight is the Reports area. It gives me a progress report of how she’s doing, what she’s completed, and how she’s done on it.
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