Thursday, September 6, 2012

Reading Kingdom - Schoolhouse Crew Review

We love online programs!  I know that so many families (not just homeschoolers) are looking for a way to supplement their child's learning and a fun, computer-based, game is a great way to sneak in learning while having fun!  We had a great time testing out the Reading Kingdom thanks to an opportunity through the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

What is Reading Kingdom?
Created by Dr. Marion Blank, Director of the Light on Learning Program at Columbia University, Reading Kingdom offers customized online reading instruction for children ages 4-10 that increases their learning up to a third grade level.  Reading Kingdom works well with any other curriculum that you may be using and teaches skills that children need to be successful readers.

Using a game-like approach, Reading Kingdom first takes the children through an extensive Reading Skills survey to place the child at the appropriate level in the Reading Kingdom.  This keeps the child from repeating information that he/she already knows and gets them started on the right path toward building up their skills.

The Reading Kingdom is set up so that as your child moves through the program they no longer need to complete work that they have already mastered.  The program intuitively moves them up to the next level of learning gradually increasing in difficulty until your child masters reading.

At the end of each level of learning, Reading Kingdom offers a progress check for parents.  You can also log in at any time to see where your child sits in completing the program and how well they are performing.  Progress reports are also sent to your email.

As your child completes each level of learning they are awarded a Passport to "open" the next level of the Reading Kingdom.

What did we think of Reading Kingdom?

It's a mixed bag.  The reports and email updates make accountability and tracking a breeze.  I love anything that is easy for me to keep track of!  Plus so many of the games were really fun but in the end, unfortunately, it was not a good fit for us and here is why:

First, the Reading Kingdom tells you up front, with the exception of hand-holding support we are not to help our child in any way...  which is fine but immediately caused my daughter (age 6) to panic knowing that she couldn't ask for help.  From the very first she balked at this program based solely on the "no assistance" warnings....

Secondly, the assessment process/lessons were pretty long.  My daughter was tired before the lesson ended but didn't want to stop and start again in the middle of a lesson.  I can't blame her.  I also prefer to work to completion before stopping.

Third, the assessments got HARD and my daughter very nearly lost it when she saw this screen:
Granted, the narrator is telling her what word to type (and she is a great speller) but Kayley doesn't know how to type...and I am not supposed to help her.  She really got super frustrated with the hunt & peck method on the keyboard.  The program is great but comes across almost as a typing program and less of a reading program.

I feel confident that completion of the Reading Kingdom program will create great readers out of your children if they know how to type or are unafraid of the keyboard.  

Purchase Information:
Would you like to learn more about Reading Kingdom?

You can try out several sample lessons if you like, or if you are ready to purchase you can create a Reading Kingdom account and enjoy a risk-free 30 day trial.

After 30 days pay only $19.99 for your first student (or $199.00 for the year).  Each additional student is only $9.99 per month (or $99.99).  Purchase HERE.

If you are interested, you can also purchase storybooks to go along with your Reading Kingdom adventures, they are available in the Reading Kingdom Store.

Many of my crewmates also enjoyed a tour of Reading Kingdom, to read their reviews click the link below...


Disclaimer:  We received Reading Kingdom free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

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