This summer we have been spending some time using an on-line subscription program called Reading Kingdom. I am using the program with my daughter Anna. She is a struggling reader and is finally making progress after lots of tears and very difficult work. She still needs lots of work, and I think Reading Kingdom is going to help long term.
Anna enjoys Reading Kingdom even though it sometimes frustrates her when she is asked to enter the same word several times. Her keyboarding skills are poor, so that is what she working on right now. If you start Reading Kingdom with poor keyboarding skills they give you lots of practice in that area. Actually, the very first thing your child will do is take an assessment so that the program will know where he or she should start. I have to admit that Anna hated the assessment. Once we got past that part she has been happy playing with the program.
You can choose between an onscreen keyboard that you click with a mouse and the actual physical keyboard. We chose the onscreen keyboard which might be a little tricky for some. The actual instructions for what to type are oral which is wonderful! I have struggled with several programs in the past in which the instructions are written and must be read. This just doesn’t work for a struggling reader! I love the fact that she is learning where letters are located on the keyboard too. Yesterday she started to ask me, and then remembered on her own so I know this is starting to click. Isn’t it exciting when that happens?
One of the things I really like in Reading Kingdom are the student reports. I can quickly and easily see which sections Anna has started, how much she has completed (percentage), and how well she is doing. The code (shown above) is very simple so that I can see where Anna is at a glance. This is important because I don’t often have time to sit down with her while she is doing Reading Kingdom work.
Reading Kingdom takes a different approach then most reading curriculums in that they do not focus on phoncis, or whole language, or even a simple combination of the two. Instead, Reading Kingdom focuses on teaching six skills considered essential to excellence in both reading and writing. These skills are shown in the chart above. I think the broader focus of this program is very important, especially for the struggling reader who is less likely to pick up sequencing and comprehension skills (for instance) on their own.
The price for a Reading Kingdom subscription is $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year and takes between 15 and 30 minutes per session. Additional students are discounted. I received a one year subscription.
My Bottom Line: We started Reading Kingdom during the summer and did not use it as often as I would have liked. We started school on Tuesday, and of the three days we have done school this week, Anna asked to play Reading Kingdom on two days. She enjoys the computer time and the independence that she has from using the keyboard on her own. I can tell that she is learning and I am excited to see how far Reading Kingdom will take her in the next year. I am seriously considering a subscription for my younger son.