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.
My Kindergarten aged daughter and I have been working on reading skills this school year. We started off very slowly by just learning a few letter sounds here and there. It hasn’t been until this second half of the ‘school year’ that we’ve really started jumping into high gear. This means that we have a dedicated time each day where we sit together and work on skills and have her practice reading.
I do have a curriculum I started using this year, however, we received 12 months of access to Reading Unlocked’s online learning to read program, and I thought we’d give it a shot.
Reading Unlocked has a free trial so you can try it for yourself, and after the free trial the cost is $24.99 per month.
How Reading Unlocked Works
There are 100 lessons throughout the course, but it is designed for you to do one lesson a day. If you work on the program 3-4 times per week, you can see significant gains in reading in just a short amount of time (based on our experience).
The lessons last anywhere from 10 – 20 minutes depending on how fast your child goes. My daughter likes to dawdle sometimes, so some days she breezes right through in 10 minutes, some days it takes us a bit longer. One thing to note, these lessons are designed to be done with the parent. While there is the option for the child to have the instructions read to her/him, there are parts of the lesson that have to be done with a parent present.
My daughter preferred when I sat with her to do the lessons anyway. It gave her some time with just the two of us, and she felt encouraged by having me present. At the end of each lesson is a poem that you read to your child. In the poem, there are select words that the child can read (highlighted in red) so this really isn’t a reading program that you can just plop your kid in front of and walk away.
The nice thing about this program is that it adapts to your child, reviewing mistakes and working at just the right pace for your child. If your child hasn’t mastered a certain letter or skill, they’ll keep reviewing it until they master it.
To start, a student is presented with a letter and the sound that the letter makes. They are then shown how to use that letter to make 3-letter words. Reading Unlocked’s Simplified Phonics™ system teaches your child to blend sounds into words.
There are also auditory exercises where they have to identify the sound in a word. My daughter really enjoys doing these and looks forward to this part of the lesson each day. For example, the program may ask “which word starts with”, and then it will say the names of the pictures (it will be based on whatever letter they are working on that day).
Spelling is also practiced each day. A word is dictated and a selection of letters is given. Your child must choose the right letters to spell the given word.
My favorite part, and possibly my daughter’s least favorite, is that she also has to write letters and words on paper. She isn’t a big fan of writing… yet. But I’ll get her there soon, hopefully! (Note: this is another part where the parent may need to help. Your child will need to write words and you may need to help dictate several times and check their work when finished.)
Towards the end of each lesson the child will be able to read the words used throughout the lesson (as well as words from previous lessons). My daughter likes to do this part of the lesson as well. Matching the pictures to the correct word is a fun activity for her.
One of the very last things in each lesson, before you read the poem together, is to take a word that is spelled one way and change it into another word. Your child will need to listen to the words being read, and then choose the appropriate letter to change a word like “pot” into “cot”.
Overall I really like this program. It isn’t set up full of adventure and games like some other programs. It’s short, simple, and to the point. I really like that it about it because you can be done in 10 minutes and move on with your day versus going on some long epic quest that you have to solve in between each lesson.
We will continue to use the Reading Unlocked program about two days a week. It’ll mostly be as a supplement to the main curriculum I already have, but it is honestly a great way to change it up a bit around here and gives my daughter something different to look forward to.
Interested in reading more reviews about Reading Unlocked? Click the image below to read more from the Homeschool Review Crew.