OK, I will admit that I was a little skeptical of Reading Kingdom when I saw that it was endorsed by a famous super model. Unlike the general population, celebrity endorsements usually make me run for cover. However, because I had a soon-to-be second grader who needed some more work in learning to read, I decided it would be worthwhile to at least give it a try.
As I have mentioned many times here on the blog, I am a relaxed homeschooler. I don’t push my kids to read until they are ready. I feel that if you try to teach them before they are ready, you face resistance and frustration.
I started working on reading with Hannah last year. She has progressed fairly well. I don’t have any concerns about her learning to read. I just felt like she needed more practice and more instruction. When we started Reading Kingdom, she was excited to have her own program to work on.
The first few times she worked on it, I sat down with her just to walk her through it and get her going. The first few sessions of Reading Kingdom are skills assessment. I found that these sessions were not as “exciting” as the learning lessons. I made sure that she understood that we were only doing these to find out how much she knew and to find out where she needed to start. She was compliant, but enjoyed the program much more once she got into the learning lessons.
Over the course of the last few weeks, I have been busy helping to take care of my mother (who is terminally ill). We have spent the last few weeks at the hospital. During all of this time, Hannah would frequently ask, “Can I do my Reading Kingdom?” She would have one of the older kids help her login when I wasn’t available. Honestly, it seemed more like a game for her–something to occupy her time.
After seven weeks of
playing using Reading Kingdom, I sat down with her to watch her do several sessions and see how she was progressing. I was so pleased by her progress! I had her read several things to me and she not only knew the words, but was so fluid in her reading.
One of the things that caught my attention (and that I was so thankful for) was the fact that the program teaches capitalization and punctuation along with reading. This may be a no brainer for some of you, but I have always taught phonics separately from beginning grammar. This program combines them so that they are learning the mechanics of writing as they learn to read.
Another plus is that Reading Kingdom also teaches spelling. There are several little games where the student has to type in the missing letters. A couple of months ago, even though Hannah could read easy readers, she was no where ready to spell the words she was reading. I sat down with her today and she would look at the words with missing letters and fill in the letters with no problem.
I have to tell you, my heart was filled with joy. If any of you have ever homeschooled through difficult times, you know the guilt that comes with not being able to spend as much time as you would like to teaching your little ones. I even felt guilty for not sitting down with her during her Reading Kingdom lessons. In my mind, I figured she needed help understanding it or learning the new concepts. It was such a blessing to hear her start reading those words like she was a pro!
How It Works
As I mentioned before, the Reading Kingdom starts by performing a skills assessment on the child. Once the skills assessment is finished, the child is then placed in the appropriate level of learning. When the child begins each level (there are 5 levels), they begin learning words and have the ability to earn books. By the time they have earned the book, they have also learned all the words needed to read the book!
Reading Kingdom combines the best of both phonics (sounds) and whole word (comprehension) education, adding in sequencing, motor skills, meaning, and grammar. For an in-depth understanding of how Reading Kingdom is different from other reading programs, you can download How is the Reading Kingdom different from other reading systems?
Reading Kingdom provides reading instruction through a 3rd grade reading level. Children as young as 4-5 can begin the program. Older children through age 10 can benefit from the program as well.
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.
Reading Kingdom also offers a scholarship for students who are unable to afford the program. When I saw this, it really raised my affection for the company. So many times companies are worried about the bottom line (and I understand wanting to make a living), but it is a blessing when companies are willing to help children out even if they can’t pay. Kudos to Reading Kingdom!