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August 6, 2012
A few weeks ago we were at our usual spot on a Tuesday evening having dinner and visiting with our friends. It started raining, and since the kids couldn't go outside on the playground, Rylie and her friend Peyton sat down at the kids' table and grabbed some books off the shelf. I glanced over at the girls at one point and was absolutely shocked to hear Peyton reading a book to Rylie! I looked over at her mom and said "Peyton can read?!?!"
Sure enough, Peyton, who is just a few months older than Rylie can read. Again, I was shocked. Rylie can write her name, and can write words when we spell them to her, but she can't read simple words like "no" and "dog". Sure, there are a few words that she has memorized, but I wouldn't call that reading.
Rylie is a smart kid, but just doesn't seem to have that much interest in academic type learning, at least not at home. She wants to run around and play with her toys, and when we do have quiet time, both of my kids would much rather watch TV than read books. I want that to change. After hearing Peyton read, I want Rylie to do the same thing, and so does she. She has asked several times since then if I could teach her how to read. The problem is that I have no idea how to teach a child to read.
After looking around online at a few different reading programs, I decided to give Reading Kingdom a try. This fun, interactive, online reading program teaches children ages 4-10 how to read and write to a third grade level.
Our commitment to online reading for kids is based on our patented six skills method for reading success. These skills include sequencing, motor skills, phonics (phonemic awareness), meaning, grammar and reading comprehension. Our online reading for kids program is ideal for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade, special education, homeschool, and English as a second language. The Reading Kingdom online reading for kids program is an ideal supplement to existing curricula, as well an excellent independent curriculum. Our online reading for kids program is also a great educational alternative to other entertainment options. In fact, most children refer to the Reading Kingdom as a reading game, since it is so fun to play. We're proud that our reading programs for kids are thought of as reading games (especially by kids!).
We have actually had access to Reading Kingdom for a while now, but it took some time for me to convince Rylie to sit down with me and get started. During the week the kids only have about an hour in the evenings to unwind from their long day at school, and they usually want to be outside. We had some rainy days one week so I finally convinced Rylie to "play the reading game" with me.
While my kids have used their little electronic games and their Kindles, Rylie has never actually used a regular computer. When we got started, I realized that she didn't even know how to use the mouse. Reading Kingdom does have a tutorial to get kids familiar with the mouse and keyboard, but I didn't notice this until after we got started.
The first part of Reading Kingdom is the Skills Survey. You have a choice of using a physical keyboard or an on screen keyboard. The problem with using a physical keyboard is that all of the letters that pop up on the screen are lowercase, and the letters shown on the keyboard are uppercase. While Rylie can recognize both lowercase and uppercase letters just fine, it was a little confusing for her, so we switched to the on screen keyboard.
The Skills Survey determines a child's sequencing and keyboard skills. Rylie didn't do all that well on the Skills Survey, both because she just hasn't had any experience with the computer and mouse, and because she has not been taught reading basics thus far. I was fine with this since that meant she would start at the beginning of the program. There was only one way to go from there.
The first lessons are Seeing Sequences and Letter Land. In Seeing Sequences, a child is shown a sequence which he or she must replicate by clicking on the same letters in the row underneath in correct left to right order. Once Rylie got comfortable with the mouse, she did very well with this part. The first couple of modules just had her picking out letters, and then she started to actually make words. She liked repeating the words after the narrator.
Letter Land develops the ability to type the letters and punctuation keys on the keyboard in a smooth, efficient manner. Building up from one row of the keyboard to three rows, a child learns to rapidly locate the letters and punctuation keys. Again, this was easier for Rylie while using the on screen keyboard. The first few lessons only had her using one row of keys at a time, so having the smaller keyboard on the screen with the lowercase letters worked better for her, than having to try and find the letters on the physical keyboard. Once she was proficient at finding the letters, then she had to complete a word using a letter.
Rylie has been through several of the Seeing Sequences and Letter Land lessons, and is having a great time with the program. When she was sick a couple weeks ago, she used Reading Kingdom a lot. She is now able to sit by herself and follow the instructions given by the narrator, without any assistance from me. Parents aren't supposed to assist in any way, so I usually just stand back and watch.
So far, I think Reading Kingdom is great! I'm anxious to see Rylie move up through the levels, and I feel that this is going to work really well for her. She asks to "learn to read" more often now, and as the summer months come to an end, I think we will see her sitting in front of the computer more and more.
When you sign up for the Reading Kingdom, you receive a free 30 day trial. After that, subscriptions to Reading Kingdom are $19.99/month (with no monthly minimum), or $199.99 per year (20% off). Additional children in your account get 50% off ($9.99/month or $99.99/year). You can cancel your subscriptions at any time.
To learn more and to see if this program is right for your child, visit Reading Kingdom online. For even more literary fun, follow Reading Kingdom on Facebook and Twitter.
I will be posting updates on Rylie's progress throughout the next year, so make sure you check back in with us to see how she is doing. I have a feeling she will be reading those books with Peyton in no time!
Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received an annual subscription to Reading Kingdom at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.