Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Reading Kingdom: An Online Reading Program Review

Reading Kingdom
When I began my master's program about 15 years ago, I remember being exposed to the heated debate surrounding the most effective teaching method in reading.  Some championed phonics, others were devoted to whole-language approaches.  At the time, I really didn't understand why a combination of many methods wasn't a major part of the discussion.  Now that miss Z is learning to read, I can confirm that both her and her brother learn very differently.  J instinctively understood phonics and readily picked up on various rules.  Miss Z has struggled a little more with phonics and needed more interaction than just reading on a page.   This latest review from Reading Kingdom  has given me a deeper appreciation for their differing needs in developing reading skills.

Reading Kingdom

Reading Kingdom is an online subscription K-3 Reading Program that was developed by Dr. Marion Blank, a literacy expert.  Instead of just focusing on phonics or whole-language methods, Reading Kingdom incorporates 6 skills (Sequencing, Motor Skills, Sounds, Meaning, Grammar, & Comprehension) to provide a full reading and writing education.  It also provides an extensive reporting feature that keeps you up to date with each student's progress.  One of the things that sets Reading Kingdom apart is it's focus on meaning and real world exposure to reading through immersion rather than grouping words together simply based on sound or category.  In this way, the program works to incorporate elements of writing in with the reading sometimes far sooner than other methods.

Our Experience

Both of the kids used this product and had a tough time at first with it solely because it relies heavily on typing and computer skills, something they had some but not a lot of experience with.  In the beginning the students take a placement test and because of their lacking keyboard skills, they were both placed at level 1.  I knew going in that the use of the keyboard was involved but perhaps in my rush to dive in I didn't pay attention to how much of a factor it was.  One thing I learned was that you can change the settings on how long of a reaction time is allowed for answers.  My kids might know the right answers but took too long to find it on the keyboard.  Once we sorted that out and the kids got more used to using the keyboard in this way, things went a lot smoother.  Plus, they both have improved their typing skills tremendously!

Each lesson focuses on one word and requires the student to repeatedly interact with it in different ways.  For my older reader, the repetition got old and wasn't always super engaging to him, though he didn't complain about it.  For my beginning reader, though, the repetition seemed to be just what she needed.  Overall, both kids enjoyed working through this program and benefited from it's reality based lessons.  

If you are looking for a traditional online reading program, this might not be for you.  If traditional methods don't seem to be working for your student, I absolutely recommend giving Reading Kingdom a try.  This research-based program at its core seems to be looking for your child's gaps in order to fill them in.  Some of the Crew members also reviewed their ASD Reading Program designed for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Consider reading some of their reviews if this applies to your family. 

Reading Kingdom on Social Media: 

Learn to Read with Reading Kingdom OR ASD Reading {Reviews}
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