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Online Phonics with Reading Kingdom was made possible with a subscription to the program as part of the Homeschool Review Crew.
Learning to read is one of the essential skills elementary aged students need to master. As everyone develops at a different speed and respond to different styles of instruction, it can be an interesting prospect for parents whether you homeschool or not.
While my boys are all good readers, they have experienced times when they struggled. My youngest is finishing up 2nd grade and I have occasionally dropped the ball on phonics, etc. Knowing he loves to have computer-based schoolwork at times, I was thankful for the opportunity to use Reading Kingdom again.
About Reading Kingdom
Reading Kingdom is an online subscription program for ages 4 through 10 which covers beginning reading skills through a grade 3 reading level.
In many ways, Reading Kingdom is an immersion approach to learning the important skills of reading and writing. This is in part due to the fact you can not sound out all the English words phonetically like you can in languages like Latin.
Rather than relying upon only phonics, Reading Kingdom incorporates the “Phonics plus” Six Skill Integrated Method developed by Dr. Marion Blank from Columbia University. The six different skills are Sequencing, Motor Skills, Phonology, Syntax, Semantics, and Text.
Phonology teaches them how sounds work, but it is done in the context of visual, auditory and written language skills rather than on its own.
Also, unique to the Reading Kingdom program is its ability to adapt learning for the student. This method of adaptive teaching takes advantage of strengths and while helping them overcome any weaknesses.
Parts of Reading Kingdom
There are two main parts to Reading Kingdom: Reading & Writing Skills Part 1 and Reading & Writing Skills Part 2.
New students must complete an initial assessment which will determine placement for them.
A younger child or one who struggles with using the computer-based program will most likely need to spend time in Part 1 (Seeing Sequences and Letter Land.) Seeing Sequences has 3 levels to complete which have them learning visual sequencing skills if they do not ‘pass’ that initial assessment. Letter Land has 4 levels to complete which has the child learning keyboard skills.
If they pass this initial assessment, they move into Reading & Writing Skills Part 2 with a skills survey. Once through the skills survey, they go into the different Levels which contain books with word exercises. By the end of the entire sequence, they are considered to be at a third-grade reading level.
Our Thoughts on Reading Kingdom
This is the third time that someone in my house has utilized this online phonics base program. The first time was when son #3 was in 3rd grade. The second time was when son #3 was in preschool and wanting to learn to read.
My youngest son is finishing 2nd grade, but with the back and forth between 2 locations the last 2 years he was falling behind on his phonics program. His last attempt a few years ago saw him struggling with effectively using the interface.
This time around he is a pro on the computer so that is no longer an issue. However, I made the choice to have them reactivate his original account
J finds the activities to be fun, although there are times when he feels like the same thing is presented over and over. I figure it is repetition needed before progressing to the next section of the level.
Thought on Reading Kindgom from a Busy Homeschool Mom
As a homeschool parent, I like that they can push start and the program takes them where they need to go. For kids who adore video games, having the ability to earn points for their passport is a fun addition. Points, levels, challenges, and rewards help to stimulate engagement of the child and I find it to hold true.
What I have not tried yet is to alter the levels. As we had a previous account reactivated for the review, he did not have a new placement test given. That may be why he is working in the first level. However, I do know that the program is supposed to sense ability and knowledge and adjust accordingly. So I like having him do some things that might be more ‘review’ so that they fully stick.
To see how your child is doing requires generating and downloading a report.
Here you can see each of the words studied, how long it has taken, and how well they have done it. You can also see words that the software decided did NOT need to be a focus of their learning time.
Here is a snippet from one of the downloaded reports for J:
|Reading & Writing part 2|
|Placement Test Part 2||Not Required|
|Reading/Writing Level 1||02:16:27||03/27/2018|
|Book 1 (Lexile: 100)||Completed||00:01:11||03/29/2018||03/29/2018|
Final Takeaway for Reading Kingdom
If you do not mind letting the kids use a computer for learning, then this is a program worth evaluating. As they take a completely different approach to reading and writing, there could be gaps you don’t notice with your child. The program will help find them and get them fully on track.
I do suggest being readily available for younger children to help them with using the program. Just do not fall into the trap of ‘helping’ them pick answers, etc. That would defeat the purpose of the program.
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit Reading Kingdom post on the Homeschool Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this resource. Here you can see more about ASD Reading which is Reading Kingdom with modifications for kids on the autism spectrum.