Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
About Reading Kingdom
Reading Kingdom online reading program is designed to help children learn how to read using a six skill model of reading instruction. This means that the program incorporates elements of phonics and whole language while teaching additional skills required for reading and writing success. The skills include sequencing, writing, sounds, meaning, grammar, and comprehension.
From Reading Kingdom:
“It’s the ONLY fun, easy-to-use online reading program that customizes itself to your child and teaches all the skills necessary to make your child a successful reader and writer. It’s acclaimed, tested, and trusted by moms, teachers, and educators.”
The first time your child uses the program they will take a placement test. This places your child into the appropriate level. Since my daughter is just starting to learn to read, she was placed in level 1.
Reading Kingdom Pros and Cons
Some things I like about the Reading Kingdom program:
- It teaches spelling and decoding skills fabulously. In one activity, for example, students are shown several possible word options that use similar letters to the word being studied in that day’s lesson. Students then need to figure out which word is the right one. After they select the right option, they then need to spell the word.
- Each lesson focuses on one or two words for the entire lesson. A child will repetitively concentrate on different ways of learning that word through different types of activities. I love the reinforcement this provides.
- Keyboarding and mouse practice. I’m happy that there are games available to practice using a mouse and keyboard. While my daughter is proficient in using a mouse, she was struggling to complete the lessons in time because she had no idea where any of the letters on the keyboard were. Once we went back and did the keyboarding practice a few times, she was able to do much better in the lesson portion.
Some things I am not thrilled about (cons):
- There is no actual handwriting in the program (so far). While I do have my daughter practice writing by using a workbook, I would love for it to be incorporated directly into her reading lessons. (In Reading Kingdom, writing is done in the form of typing words, but my daughter needs the practice of putting pen to paper as well).
- Each skill is timed. At first, this was frustrating for my daughter as she needs time to find the appropriate letters on the keyboard. I did, however, find that you can change the speed and response time settings to allow your child a longer time to respond.
- As a side note, the purpose of showing the child the answer is so that they don’t get ‘stuck’ or discouraged, however, this had the opposite effect on my daughter at first. She needed more time to work things out for herself before the answer was given to her and got upset if the program moved on before she could finish on her own.
Reading Kingdom Activities
Below are some images of the program as my daughter is using it. You can see there are a variety of activities that help your child to learn and reinforce the skill being taught.
Our Experience Using Reading Kingdom
We started out using Reading Kingdom with my 6-year-old daughter four times per week. After one week, my daughter was a bit frustrated, so we took a break from the program for a week. After our break, we tried again for another week and she still didn’t care for the program. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that she likes to have me with her when she is doing her lessons. Even though the program designed for a child to do without much parent interaction, I have to sit with her for her entire lesson, or she doesn’t want to do it.
I think another reason she doesn’t care for the program is that she feels pressured. Because you only have so much time to find the right answer, she feels rushed. As mentioned previously, I have increased her allotted response time, but she still doesn’t care for having a time limit. Some kids just don’t like to be rushed, so it would be nice if I were able to turn off the response time limit completely.
After my daughter’s initial frustration using the keyboard, things have gone smoother, though. We took another break and have come back to the program again, and she seems to be enjoying things a little more now. She hasn’t been frustrated the last few times, and she seems to be able to breeze through the lessons. I’m hopeful we can go back to using the program full time soon!
If you have a child who is just learning to read or is struggling to read at grade level, I do think this can be a fantastic program to use. Just go into it aware that they will need to know how to use the keyboard well first, and you shouldn’t have any problems!
While we have struggled using this program so far, I really think that it can help my daughter if we try to stick with it. The program is well designed, the animations are age-appropriate, and it is clear that a lot of work went into developing this for kids.
Read More Reviews
If you would like to hear what other parents have thought of the Reading Kingdom program, please click the link below to read more reviews on the Homeschool Review Crew site. Another perspective may show how different children react to using the program.