Monday, March 7, 2011

Reading Kingdom TOS Review

My seven year old daughter is reading chapter books but as a newbie to the homeschool scene, I was reluctant to put our phonics program away. She is in "first grade" and phonics should go up to the end of 2nd grade, right?  Oh boy, do I have a lot to learn about teaching to their skill and not the curriculum. Ok, I am sure that is a typical newbie mistake right?

Well as January was looming and the joy and festivities of the Christmas season were now just a memory, it was time to get back to the table and back to school. I was loath to continue on with phonics, as was my daughter. She was reading the words before she even coded them and we would then go on to code the words because I was afraid she would miss a reading "rule".  Talk about laboring in vain.

As a member of TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was given a free subscription to an online reading program called "Reading Kingdom". The program was created by literacy expert Dr. Marion Blank.

As you can see above, Reading Kindgdom teaches many more skills then just phonics. It seemed to be exactly what we were looking for. Since the program is geared to children ages 4-10 and will teach Letter Sounds, Reading, Spelling and Typing up to a third grade level, I sigend my two duaghters up, ages 7 and 5. The program suggests a school-age student use the program 4-5 days a week and preschoolers use the program 3 times per week. Depending on the skill level, the program takes 12-15 months to complete and each session usually takes about 10-15 minutes to do.

My daughters both started with the keyboard and mouse training, this gets them familiar with the keyboard and using the mouse. Both girls were able to finish quickly (within 1 week). Next they were given a skills survey which then analyzes the child's preformance and will give more practice to areas that need it. Obviously my 7 year old is farther ahead in the program then my 5 year old.

My seven year old has been going through level one of  the "Introduction to Reading and Writing"  which includes practice seeing sequences and recognizing letters. My 5 year old has just begun level one.  There are 5 levels in this section. At the end of this program, my children will have read 36 books.
I am sent progress reports to my email and can check on them at any time. Parents/ teachers are asked not to "help" so that the program assess the skill level of each student.

We LOVE this program. I have officially packed up my phonics curriculum for both children. I have noticed improvement in reading with my 7 year old and much less frustration from both of us since we don't have to dredge through phonics. She can read real books and spell the words and get feedback right away. We will continue till the program is finished and I will know for certain her reading level.

My 5 year old is a bit frustrated with the program. If she does not pay close attention to the session and she makes one mistake, it will have her do the entire problem over again. Also, if she takes too long to click on certain keys, it will tell her she is to "try again" or "watch" then try again. The length of each session is just right. She usually has a 10 minute session and by the end she is "done" for the day with it. Hopefully the issues with the program will be tweaked by the programmers.

Subscriptions to Reading Kingdom are $19.99/month with no monthly minimum, or $199.99 if you purchase a 12 month subscription. If you have multiple children using the program, the cost per each additional child in your family is $9.99/month
I think this price is fantastic, considering the cost of preschool is $180/ month where I live. I also like the use of the computer. I have a newborn baby as well as a 2 year old, so independent learning is very high on my list right now.

I plan on using Reading Kingdom with my other children as they reach the appropiate age to use it. If you want to see what my other crew mates have to say about this program head on over to the TOS Blog.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent this item at no cost to myself in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reviewing our Reading Kingdom program. I really appreciate it.

    Please do keep us apprised of your childrens' progress in the program. And if you encounter any issues, please contact us
    ( There may be a simple problem that we can help with. We are also working to update the program to deal with any problems children might be having in using it, so your feedback is very important to us.

    We'll be featuring your review on our Facebook page

    Thanks again!