Some programs are amazing and wonderful but you discover them at the wrong time. Sometimes you get a second a chance. This is not the first time I’ve reviewed Reading Kingdom. I loved it then, and Supergirl adored it, but I simply did not continue our membership after it ended. Supergirl would ask for “the owl” and be disappointed when I told her that we did not have that program anymore. When it came up for review through the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I didn’t plan to put high interest on it. That ship had sailed right? Wrong. Supergirl overheard me discussing it and she begged for the program. I re-read my past reviews and I knew I had to ask to review Reading Kingdom Online again.
Reading Kingdom is not just a learn to read program. Dr. Blank identified six essential skills for learning to read and integrated them into her program. The six skills are sequencing, writing, sounds, meaning, grammar, and comprehension. When I reviewed this program in 2012, I explained in my review in more detail about the Reading Kingdom approach.
The program begins with a placement test to determine where the student should begin. The first placement surveys a students readiness with sequences skills and knowledge of the keyboard. Success with Seeing Sequences survey and Letter Land Survey takes the student to the placement test for part 2. This skills survey determines which of the six levels is the appropriate level for the student.
I fully expected Supergirl to test into at least Level 2 of Reading and Writing Part 2 so I was very disappointed to see that the program placed her into the very beginning with Seeing Sequences and Letter Land which is Level 1 of Reading and Writing Part 1. But while watching her, I realized she did need the review of Letter Land to find the right keys on the keyboard. I could have had her retake the skills survey test but I knew she was benefitting from the review. She moved quickly through that level by completing one to two sessions each day.
Because this was review for her, she did move lightning quick though both parts of Part 1. She did not take the second placement test but started with Level 1 book 1. Again this was review for her and she moved briskly through the first two books.
Wait. I haven’t told you how it’s laid out! Reading and Writing Part 2 is divided into 5 levels. Each level is divided into 6 books and each book is divided into lessons based on the words needed to read that book.
There are two types of lessons that Supergirl has encountered. In one approach the student sees a picture and is instructed “here are some bugs. If you can spell bugs type it here. Click here when you are finished.” The program flashes the cursor at the spot where the student types and flashes the star to indicate where to click when finished. If the student successfully types bugs in the allotted time, the student is given another word to try. If the student is unsuccessful the program will walk the student through a variety of fun activities that teach how to read and write that word. The word is not taught in isolation. It is taught in the context of sentences. Each lesson builds on the previous lessons.
The second type of lesson teaches words that other programs might introduce as sight words. For Supergirl these words have been a, the, some, here, and more. One of the activities in this approach involves scanning the text which reinforces the sequencing of reading from left to right and being able to see those words. She must scan each line and click on the target word.
The program also teaches grammar and very early in Level 1 students learn to capitalize the first word of a sentence and to end a sentence with a period.
At the end of a session the owl appears and gives students the option of reviewing, ~ “read a book again” ~ completing another session, or exiting. The review is one of my favorite parts. Students can choose up to three activities. Every other day I have Supergirl click the red arrow and together we choose words that she needs extra practice with. Reading Kingdom recommends using the Online Program at least 4 days per week. It is better to do 1 session on 4 different days than to do four sessions in one day once a week.
Although Supergirl lost ground because I did not continue the program, she has matured enough and is progressing fast enough that she is sufficiently challenged. When we reviewed this in the past, she lacked sufficient fine motor skills for printing. She also spelled words by using the sounds not letters. Now she can print words and spell using letter names. How does this relate to Reading Kingdom? She loves to grab a marker and practice her words on the white board. “Writing the k is hard but I did it. I can spell talk but when the owl asked me the first time, I spelled taco instead of talk.” Her reading is improving but this time I am noticing huge leaps in her ability to spell. She begs to do Reading Kingdom everyday and proudly tells her father each new word she learns. In my experience with using Reading Kingdom multiple times with a developmentally delayed daughter I would disagree with the assessment that you can begin at age 4. I’m finding the program to be much more beneficial now that she has had time to mature and gain a bit more developmentally. I think 1st and 2nd grade is a much better age for starting.
- The Vendor: Reading Kingdom
- The Product: Reading Kingdom Online
- The Author: Dr. Marion Blank
- Format: Online Subscription
- Age Range: As soon as children are ready, around age 4 they can begin. Reading Kingdom will bring readers to a third grade reading and writing level. Older children and struggling readers will be placed at the appropriate level based on their skill set.
- Also Available: ASD Reading (Autism Spectrum Disorder Reading)
- For Further Reading: The Reading Remedy ~ Note reviewers received this free as a PDF file. Click the link and scroll to the bottom for more information and buying options. Check out the other goodies while you are there!
- NOTE: The website is full of great information giving background on the research, explaining how and why it works, how to get started and so much more. If this program interests you I recommend setting some time aside, grabbing your favorite beverage and starting with these pages:
You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews to find more great products.