Monday, June 24, 2013

Reading Kingdom Review

Everyone knows that I am the queen of all I survey, so it was a natural step for mija and me to spend some time in the Reading Kingdom.

Reading Kingdom is an online reading program designed by Dr. Marion Blank who is considered an expert on reading. She developed this program after perceiving deficits in phonics and whole language. The program is based on the patented program Dr. Blank has developed.

The program is designed for preschool-third grade or ages 4-10. The program starts with a skills survey that is supposed to assess reading skill and keyboarding skill. In fact, if keyboarding skills are lacking, the program will start addressing that issue first. The major part of the program consists of five levels. 

You can find out more about the program by watching this video

The program has some cute animation and graphics. It needs very little parental control because the program is in charge. 

That is the first feature I dislike.
One of the benefits I derive from homeschooling is controlling or leading my daughter's learning. This is not possible with Reading Kingdom. The extensive [read long] skills test places the student in whatever level the program determines. To adjust levels, you must contact Reading Kingdom. They are speedy in response, however.

I had to contact them twice to raise mija's level. Mija just finished third grade  but can read at a 5.6 to 6.0 level. The program put her on level 1 initially because of typos. Eventually we moved to level 5 which would be considered third grade according to the program. It was better, but still below her.

Another feature I personally did not like was the reading program itself. I learned to read in the "Dick and Jane" era of the early 70s. It was all sight words. We did not sound out words; phonics was taboo at this point. This program reminds me of that. Words are learned/memorized and then a book is read. 
Book 18
Page from a book on level 3

I am not a world-renown reading specialist. I do not claim to be. Both mija and I, however, found the drill work extremely tedious and redundant. The same format of introduction and review is used for each lesson and each type of lesson is repeated several times for each word. Maybe if it had been more her reading level, it would have been more entertaining and challenging.

The program also claims to teach writing and grammar. I did not see that. I definitely see how it teaches keyboarding but not writing. The grammar aspects are never addressed but again drilled. For instance, if you do not type a capital at the beginning of the sentence you will be marked wrong, and so you figure out that you have to type a capital there. Same thing with punctuation. From what we experienced, the reason for it was never explained. To me, failing to explain the how and why is not teaching grammar.
Until 2
The little aliens were cute.
I could go on, but I think I have shared enough for you to get the idea that I did not like the program on the whole.


Model Cindy Crawford and other really like the program!

You know your child. If learning or reviewing reading this way sounds helpful, go for it. It is a quality product and you can tell a lot of thought has gone into it.
Signup for the Reading Kingdom

It offers a free 30 day trial. Try it out and see what you think! 

Or try it even longer. Lorrie Flem is having a giveaway on her blog this week (June 24-28) for a 6 month subscription. It might be just what you need to keep reading fresh during the summer or even as a curriculum come fall. So check out Randy's Rib to enter!

You can find out more about Dr. Blank's philosophy on teaching reading by checking out the Reading Kingdom  site  or by reading her book The Reading Remedy: Six Essential Skills That Will Turn Your Child Into a Reader. 

I received a free subscription to Reading Kingdom through the Gabby Mom program in exchange for my honest review.

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