Monday, March 7, 2011

Reading Kingdom ** TOS Review**

We were blessed to be able to review The Reading Kingdom with the TOS Crew this year.

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!

  • Honestly I cannot say enough good things about this reading program. All five of my younger children have absolutely loved it. They fight over who's turn it is to use it. Then come and tell when so and so is doing it longer than just one lesson. It's comical really. Even my almost 3 year old loves it. She isn't doing much besides learning to use the mouse and keyboard but I'm ok with that for now. It's a valuable skill in and of itself. My 4 and 6 year old have mastered using the mouse through this program and have now moved on to typing skills.  My 2 older kids 7 and 8 have moved onto letter land and are learning a ton. Even my son who is dyslexic seems to be doing well with it. The best thing about this program in my opinion is that it actually customizes the program to your child making it neither too hard nor too easy. I've not seen another program that does that.

    When the kids first start the program it gives them the option to either work on mouse control or move on to the actual lessons. My younger children really needed the mouse work and through this program my 4 year old went from not being able to click on anything in a timely manner to quite fluent with the mouse now. Even the littlest one is  getting pretty decent with the mouse. I've tried teaching that skill before and become very frustrated trying to help them get it. I think it's brilliant to have a little introductory program for just that.

    After they complete that they go on to take a little test to asses their skill level and where they need to be in the program. At that point the program customizes lessons  just for them. It takes them through the different typing, sequencing, spelling and reading lessons that they need. When they've learned each skill it moves them onto the next. One little fact worth noting I do not believe the program lets them do more than one lesson a day. As far as I can tell after their lesson if they want to continue it will be more practice of the same skill.

    This isn't a phonics only program nor is it a whole language program. Dr Blank believes it takes many different components to help a child learn to read. She outlines this  here if you'd like to read it but here is a chart to help you if your visual like me.


    Now don't get me wrong I'm not giving up on phonics but having a 9 year old who can barely read will teach you that sometimes one thing just doesn't work for all kids. Whole language didn't work for him either so I'm still praying maybe this program will be the right combination. It's too soon to throw a party but I can say he is doing well so far!

    Now the part that is always toughest for me. Would I purchase this program and how much does it cost. It is so hard to put a price on our children's education  yet we obviously have to since there is only so much we can afford. At $19.99 a month it is indeed a pricey program. That said my recommendation is this.... if you have a child that could possibly benefit from this program go and do the 30 day free trial. Make sure your child uses it daily and evaluate at that point. I think you may find this program may really help your child and if it does it's well worth it. Also it's not like some programs where you commit to a certain time frame. You are free to cancel at any time. So if at any point it stops working you can stop using it. To me $19.99 a month is a small price to pay for literacy and I can tell you if this does continue to help my son and he needs it beyond the very generous subscription we were given with the review I won't hesitate to pay it.

    I do have one tiny little con about the program. Just a small complaint that is really user error but neither me or my 2 older children could figure it out and some other people had this same problem ( and therefore were able to share so I knew how to fix it) When you start into the actual lessons there is a point at which you switch from typing on the keyboard to clicking the onscreen keyboard. It wasn't terribly clear and both of my children and I were very frustrated trying to figure out why they kept getting it wrong. I would love to see that one thing made more clear. Just a small thing that would make the program much easier to navigate.

    I just wanted to update and let you know the Reading Kingdom is going to correct this problem. How's that for amazing customer service! 

    To read what my crewmates thought of Reading Kingdom go visit the crew blog here.
    You can also join the Reading Kingdoms Facebook page here.

    I received a free subscription to Reading Kingdom for my children in return for my honest review of their product. No other compensation was received.

    1 comment:

    1. Angel,
      Thanks so much for your review. We're so happy that your children are loving the program. I also wanted to let you know that we're revamping the Letter Land and Seeing Sequences sections a bit and addressing the issue of knowing when to switch between the keyboard and the screen.


    I always love to hear what you're thinking......