Of all the things that we can learn and do in life, I think reading is probably the most important of them all. After all, knowing how to read opens every door imaginable to us. If we want to learn to cook, or sew, write a novel, or explore the word. Reading is the key to it all. And so when my younger ones are first learning to read, I don’t want it to be something that brings about tears and frustration. I want their experience to be one that they look forward to; a time of fun. Reading Kingdom has been a program that does that exactly. It is a reading and writing program, developed by Dr. Marion Blank, world renowned expert on literacy and Director of Light on Learning Institute at Columbia University. This program uses whole language and phonics and is designed for ages 4-10 (grades preschool-3rd) and even struggling readers. It is an online program which (in my humble opinion) not only teaches our children how to read, and how to read well, but also helps develop a love of learning within them.
There are six levels to this program which makes it perfect for my daughter who beginning to read and also for my younger son who is enjoying reading but still needs a bit more help to read independently. This program teaches grammar, comprehension, phonics, meaning and sequencing, as well as writing. The levels are broken down into sections; each section has lessons within it. There is an assessment available if you are not sure where to place your children when getting started. I had my younger son complete the assessment before getting started; with my daughter we just started her at the very beginning. Sessions last for about 15 minutes, four times a week. Sometimes they used it more because, once you get started, the lessons really are fun! The animations are so colorful and fun! There is even an area where you can slow the program down a bit (this was a real help to my daughter when she started with this program) so she had a bit more time to figure it all out in the beginning. 🙂
My son (8) is somewhat of a struggling reader. Reading and spelling are hard for him, although you wouldn’t know it because he loves to do both. He really enjoys spelling out what he wants to say for me (especially when he doesn’t want his sister to know what he wants). Because he is very exact about things, it was encouraging for him to see the progress bar too, that shows where he is in his lesson and also in the program.
He certainly enjoys keeping track of how far he has to go to get to the next level. Or even the next lesson. I love that the program is so user friendly that he was able to get himself on the program to do his lesson completely on his own. And he really liked the variety of activities in the lessons. His favorite was a soccer activity; you have to get the ball in the net by spelling the word correctly. He could do that one all day long. He also likes how this is getting him more familiar with the key board. This definitely helped with recognition of upper and lower case letters as well as when to use what because we are always talking about why it isn’t such a good idea to write/type everything in upper case letters.
He has always loved to read with me but has had lots of anxiety about moving beyond Frog and Toad and his beginners Bible. But I have noticed as we have worked through this program that he has become much more open to reading; signs we pass as we are driving; he will peer over my shoulder as I read. And his reading aloud has become much smoother; I can tell there is more surety there! And this is great because as I said before, reading is something that is so important to me. I love seeing him reading, not anxiously, but confidently.
With my younger daughter (6) we started her at the very beginning. She knows her letters and the sounds they make but putting it all together has been pretty tough for her and I figured starting at square one would just be best. At least then we would have a firm foundation for moving forward. Initially she was very hesitant, even disgruntled at times, but as she became more used to the program she really began to enjoy this.
Have I mentioned that outside of one or two books she is very reluctant to read out loud but since we have been doing this, she has gotten so much more vocal when it comes to reading and writing. She has her very own notebook she likes to draw and write in and as she learns a new work and spells it, she makes sure to put it into her little book. At the end of each level there is a review and then a book to be read. Was she ever tickled pink when she completed the first level and read that book to me. All by herself! She had so much fun popping bubbles by finding letters on the keyboard, finding and spelling out words in a variety of ways. This has really made reading so much fun for my little girl!
We definitely plan to continue with this one! It’s a great program to use even as the weather gets nicer outside. Because the lessons are short and also so fun, my kids are happy to do a lesson each day. And the progress and change I am seeing in their abilities speaks volumes to me as to how well this works. Both of them are gaining confidence in so many ways and learning to really enjoy reading at the same time! reading Kingdom also offer ASD Reading which is designed for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some of the other members of the crew had a chance to review that one; you can read all about their experience by clicking on the banner below.
You Can Find Reading Kingdom on Social Media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/readingkingdom