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Monday, March 7, 2011

Reading Kingdom

Teaching your child to read can sometimes be tricky, but it is the most rewarding thing to teach.

Reading Kingdom is a reading program for children ages 4-10, it teaches them how to read and write to a third grade level. Dr. Marion Blank created this program after spending 40 years studying how children learn to read and is one of the world's top experts in literacy.

Her program teaches the 6 skills needed for reading and writing success.


The Reading Kingdom philosophy says there are significant problems with reading education. Here are two reasons they give for this.
  1. For decades now, government figures show that 40% of children, across all socio-economic backgrounds, are failing to master the crucial skill of reading. (Source: US Dept. of Education)
  2. The dominant method of reading instruction - phonics, or sounding out - does not work!
I agree with them on the fact that there is a problem with the literacy rate in our country, I do not think it is because of the phonics programs. I feel that phonics plays a very important role in learning to read. I have taught all 5 of my children with a combination of phonics and sigth words. My 4 older children's reading levels are way beyond their grade level and can sound out any word that is presented to them.

I am a firm believer in teaching my kids phonics but I also teach them sight words. That is where Reading Kingdom can come into play.

The program has your child start with a Skills Survey. Through these activities, it will determine what skills your child has and does not have and will place them where they will get the greatest benefit from the program.
This program has six levels:
  1. Pre-Reading Skills- This section works on Visual Sequencing and Keyboarding Skills. In this section your child will learn to recognize individual letters in a group and get used to going in order from left to right.
  2. Level 1 teaches your child common nouns, verbs, and "helping" words. Once a group of words are learned they are given a story to read.
  3. Level 2 adds more nouns and verbs that can go with them, pronouns, additional "helping" words, and words that ask questions. 
  4. Level 3 continues adding nouns, verbs, "helping words", along with adjectives, and words that convey past tense.
  5. Level 4 introduces reading subject matter that is different from typical stories. More questions words are learned along with objects and beings from the natural words. The learned words are then used in books to convey science information.
  6. Level 5 continues to add nouns, verbs, and complex ideas. The fun stories will teach complex cause and effect relationships.
The child will not move forward until they have mastered the word. If in the periodic progress check your child shows a weakness they will be given review lessons for one to two weeks.

I used this program with Alaina who is 6 years old. She was already reading some when she started the Reading Kingdom program. We use a phonics program and introduce sight words along with it. We continued to use our phonics along with the Reading Kingdom.

She completed the Skills Survey and was placed in the Visual Sequencing and Keyboarding Skills. During this time it is very beneficial for the parent/teacher to sit with the child. This section lasted for several weeks and my daughter grew very tired of doing the same thing over and over. Sometimes the mistakes she made wasn't because she didn't know the correct answer it was because she would click or type before the instructions were finished or her attention would be on something else going on in the room when it was time to answer & she would be to slow.

When she entered level 1 she really started to like the program. She is capable of reading most of the words that she has been introduced to, but since she is reading phonetically she doesn't spell them correctly. So this reading program has helped her tremendously in her spelling. Each lesson for the day only lasts about 5 minutes. There are extra activities to do if the child wants or needs more practice. Some days Alaina would come back later in the day to work some more and it would automatically put her in the next days lesson.

Alaina has only reached level 1 so we don't have any thoughts on the next levels, but we were given a year subscription and we plan on using it the entire year. I really want to see if she gets to a 3rd grade reading level with this program.

All kids do not learn the same way, but I think every child could benefit from this program in one way or another. It would also be good for a late reader or a child that just needs extra practice.
As the child learns to type the letters they are then added to the keyboard.

The child is shone the word and then once it is gone they are asked to fill in the missing letters of the word.

On this screen the child is asked which word on the train cars can be used to spell kids.

Here the child is shown three pictures and is told to click on the picture with girls. Once the correct picture has been chosen the child has to spell the word.
This is Alaina's favorite part of Reading Kingdom.

If you would like your child to use Reading Kingdom a year subscription is $199. you can also subscribe monthly for $19.99. You may also try the program free for 1 month. They are so passionate about getting everyone to read that they offer scholarships to those who truely cannot afford the product.

Other TOS Crew members reviewed this product as well and some of them could have made it to a higher level. If you would like to read their thoughts about this product head on over to TOS Blog.
As a member of the TOS Crew I was given a year subscription to Reading Kingdom to use with Alaina in exchange for my review of their program.

1 comment:

Reading Kingdom said...

Thank you for taking the time to review our Reading Kingdom program...I would just like to clarify that the Reading Kingdom program does teach the sounds of letters and letter blends (phonics), but it does so in the context of the other skills required for reading mastery. The Reading Kingdom
teaches 6 skills that Dr. Marion Blank, the Director of the Light on Literacy program at Columbia University and the creator of the Reading Kingdom, has determined are required for reading and writing success. These skills are visual sequencing, motor skills for writing, phonics (sounds), syntax (grammar), semantics (meaning) and comprehension (text).

Thanks again.

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