Monday, August 19, 2013

Reading Kingdom Online Reading Course Review -TOS #hsreviews

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Reading Kingdom is an online reading course available for use in schools or at home to help teach children to read and help them learn to read better.  It is designed for children ages 4-10 or grades preschool through third grade as well as struggling readers who would read at one of these levels.  In our home it has been used primarily by our oldest who is 8 years old and in 2nd grade this fall.  As part of the review we received a full year subscription for up to three children in our house.  The other two who I've decided get to use Reading Kingdom are in 1st grade this fall ages 8 and 7.

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This program teaches reading and writing including working on sequencing, motor skills, sounds, meaning, grammar, and comprehension.  The thing that sets this program apart from other online programs is that it is customized for each child, individually.  The customization and how it allows the child to work on something until they master it are my favorite things of the program.  Oh and that the computer has more patience than me! Somedays I'd just say okay we're done for the day even though they hadn't grasped the concept because I didn't want to lose  my patience with my children.  The computer never does that!

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Created by Dr. Marion Blank, this program is affordable.  You can sign up for a 30 day free trial, and after that it is only $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year for the first child with each child after costing an additional $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year.  Though not required, you can purchase other materials to use with the program on their site as well.  These include Early Reader story books, Story Smarts for Reading Comprehension, handwriting help, phonics help, the Reading Remedy book by Dr. Blank, and Steps to Stories for children on the Autism spectrum.

There are also several free online resources that you can take advantage of.  You will find extra worksheets and sample pages as well as activities, apps, books, games, and learning tips.  This is an intensive program which requires your child to work at their own pace but to do so on a regular basis.  It is recommended that they work on this daily for 4-5 days a week so that they can continue to progress.  Reading Kingdom also helps parents as well as students by providing progress reports including strengths and weaknesses.  This shows their improvement through the course.  Your child, through the individualization, will receive extra help in areas that they were weaker in while not having to repeat and work on areas that they are strong in.  They give an example of skipping over words that your child can already read and spell so as not to bore the child.

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The "struggling" reader in our house is an 8 year old girl who is slowly working her way along her academic route.  She has a few things limiting her growth and has trouble comprehending and learning at times.  This made me think that the program would be wonderful for her and really help her to grasp and hopefully progress faster.  We have not used a lot of online resources for her but had been going the paper and pencil route. So, this was her first computer program.  She was very excited to get started and get to use the computer.  Right now we are a one computer family so we had to be a bit creative in what times of the day she could work on her reading.

I have tried several phonics programs with her and she can sound out things wonderfully, except for those dreaded words that don't follow the rules.  She has troubles with them.  This program has really helped her with the rule breakers.

Now I have to admit I wasn't too sold on this at the beginning.  It seemed like I had to help her a lot and I thought everyone always raved about computer classes like this being so great for independence.  To this I have to say, stick with it because at the beginning it is definitely not independent work, or at least it wasn't in our house.  But now, after using it for several weeks she is blossoming and emerging onto new areas that she hasn't been able to do before and really starting to show progress!

Stop back next week if you wonder what taking a week off of the reading program will do to their progress.  I'm not sure I want to know but with the death of my grandmother(the children's great grandmother) we are taking the week off so I can help with funeral arrangements and to attend the funeral.  I'm not sure that I can handle teaching them this week, nor am I sure they could handle the stress of school this week.

We did get 3 spots for a full year with this review, but so far have only used one.  With how intense and how long it took our oldest in the beginning I didn't want to start any of the others yet.  I am prepared to start two other girls who struggle with reading next week when we start back after our little hiatus.  One really struggles more than the other.  She can sound out the word but can't put the sounds together into a word.  I'm interested to see how she does with the program.

If you would like to hear and see how others responded to the program and what they thought make sure to check out the Main Crew Blog Post and look around!

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