Monday, March 7, 2011

Reading Kingdom, a TOS Crew Review

I am always looking for resources that will strengthen my homeschooler's reading skills. She is quite behind, academically, and as her comprehension of real-life events around her grows, her reading comprehension also grows (although real-life comprehension is ahead of reading comprehension, which, I believe, is typical).

My homeschooler is, by age, older than the targeted age range, yet she falls within the developmental range for the product, and I asked if we could give it a try. I'm glad we did; Reading Kingdom has a lot of the right components that make it very friendly for a child who can shut down with anxiety when a resource is too busy or feels too challenging.

Here's the company description, straight from the Reading Kingdom web site:

The Reading Kingdom is a fun, easy-to-use online program that teaches children 4-10 years old how to read and write to a third grade level.
  • It customizes itself to each child

  • Most children can do the program on their own after just a few weeks

  • It's fun and children enjoy doing it

  • It's created by Dr. Marion Blank, one of the world's top experts in literacy

  • It works with any other curriculum a child may be using

  • And, it's the only system that teaches all 6 skills needed for reading & writing success

Here's a link
that takes you to a description of how the program progresses.

Setting up my homeschooler was easy. She completed a screening and the program placed her at the beginning, which surprised me; I thought she would begin at a higher level.

She began the lessons at the beginning, which is Letter Land. My little protester and resister complained about having to the lessons, but once she began, would work through them without too much complaining. (thumbs up!) The lessons are short, which I think is a huge strength to the program for us. I felt she was moving too slowly, though, wondering if we'd ever get out of Letter Land with one short lesson a day (stuff I thought she already knew), and I had her complete two lessons a day.

I've seen very little of the program so far as my girl plugs through one or two daily lessons. Seems like a slow process to me, but she needs that, and I'll be the first one to admit that I've been known to move too quickly for her.

She's always been a strong sight word reader; right now, she is getting experience identifying sight words; filling in blanks to complete the spelling of sight words; using sight words repetitively. She is reading two sentences at a time and playing games (activities) that boost practice with what she's working on.

The program uses words learned in new lessons, always keeping past lessons in the mix.

There is a lot of repetition between tasks and activities, variations on a theme, and that is a positive for a child on the autism spectrum. My girl is able to see those patterns and complete tasks and activities because she's played the same game before using different words or letters or sentences.

I like the multi-sensory approach, reading, listening, typing. She must use several "channels" of attention at the same time to complete the short lessons (10 minutes or so).

My one complaint is the fact that the child must wait until the program is ready for a response. Typing a half-second too soon = an incorrect response. That frustrates me, although my daughter seems to have adjusted to that aspect of the program.

Does it translate into better reading and comprehension for my girl? Is it helping us close foundational gaps for us? Or will it add to her sight word list without building the comprehension she needs? I don't know yet. We haven't gotten into a high enough level yet to get a feel for that. I have to trust the progression of lessons. I do know that the activities require her to pay attention and focus, and she needs that, even when reading and spelling words that she already knows. We will keep working with Reading Kingdom, because it keeps her in a place where she is competent and it moves her gently forward. I look forward to seeing where it takes her.

Reading Kingdom is priced at $19.99 a month or $199.99 for a year-long subscription, after a free 30-day trial. Scholarships are available for families who can't afford the subscription.

Read my Crewmates' reviews of Reading Kingdom HERE.

I was given a 13-month online subscription to Reading Kingdom for review purposes. I was not paid for this review, do not benefit if you purchase the product, and am not obligated to provide a positive review.

1 comment:

Reading Kingdom said...

Thank you for taking the time to review our Reading Kingdom program...We think it will help your girl, but please do post back as you progress through the program and let us know. And if you ever have any questions, please do contact us ( We are here to help!

We'll also be featuring your review on our Facebook page. I invite you to stop by.

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