You may recall we have reviewed Reading Kingdom before. While one of my children used it before, this time I was allowed up to three children to use the program. After our previous experience, I had just the 3 children in mind. The recommended ages for Reading Kingdom are 4-10, which two of my chosen ones fall into. My eldest daughter is older than this at 12. You have probably read of our struggles with her and the suspected dyslexia.
All three of my girls began with the evaluation. This is probably one of my favorite parts of this completely online program. For my 5 year old, just-interested-in-learning-to-read girl, she had a very short time of this. By how she was answering and responding she was placed at the very beginning of the program. My 10 year old daughter went next. Her evaluation was a bit longer, but easily within 20-30 minutes. She was placed at a higher level, as expected. She does not struggle in the same way as her older sister, but is not quite at grade level.
My eldest daughter went next. She says she is only following through to humor me. Immediately she was “turned off” by the “juvenile feel” to the program. I reminded her that it is designed for younger children. I was not surprised that she was started solidly in the middle. She may be reading books at nearly grade level (finally!!) but she is far from a fluent reader — especially reading aloud. She is starting to be confident in deciphering some of the bigger or more confusing words, but it is the smaller, common words that will often trip her up.
Reading Kingdom has met each of my daughters at the vastly different places they are. My youngest daughter is absolutely loving working on this each day. She is working on Seeing Sequences and Letter Land. She is shown a word and finds – in order – the letters needed from a mixed line of letters. She is making steady progress and asks to do her school work each day. This has been great for her.
My middle daughter has spent some time in Letter Land. She is not as familiar with the keyboard as some her age probably are. With only one computer, she doesn’t get the opportunity to practice as much as she should, keyboard-wise. She has made quick progress here with working daily. I haven’t noticed great leaps in her reading abilities, but she says she is reading better. She is certainly enjoying reading more, picking up a book to read often during free time. I used to have to require her to read x-minutes a day. Now, she chooses to on her own — yay!!
My eldest daughter did not completely test out of Letter Land — which bothered her. She used that as motivation to get through it quickly. Like we’ve noticed, she is reading well, but has gaps in some of the (expected to be) easier types of words. Working through Reading Kingdom is filling in those gaps in her foundation. She knows it is beneficial for her, she just wishes it wasn’t so babyish. She is so grown-up at 12 after all (said with sarcasm). I do think a different version (don’t mess with the works of the program — that works wonderfully!) with an interface geared towards older, struggling readers would be the only thing I’d change (add?) to Reading Kingdom.
I love the reports that let me know just where the girls are. I can see their progress in a level and within the program as a whole. It is in this area that I can adjust the response time. Because the girls aren’t very experienced with the keyboard, I extended the time for the younger ones. Before I did this, they would often be told their answer was incorrect even when it was not. It was simply that they took longer to answer.
Reading Kingdom uses a very different approach from the typical phonics or whole language programs. It does not ignore these proven techniques, but acknowledges that for many children this is not enough. Two of my children have learned to read just fine with these other approaches, I am not saying they don’t work. I have seen evidence though, that sometimes more is needed. Reading Kingdom has been so thoroughly researched and developed to provide just that.
I may not understand all those details, but I don’t have to. I’ve seen the evidence of various approaches and do understand that Reading Kingdom is different. My children who have used it have made great progress in their reading. My children who have used it/are using it within the age range are enjoying the game-like feel to it. They do not like when their time is up and they have to let someone else have their turn.
It is difficult for us to share our one computer, but this program is worth the juggling. It may seem to be just a computer game — but it is so much more. You can sign up for a 30 day FREE trial. After the trial period, continue for $19.99/month or pay for a year at once ($199.99) and save. If you are using it for more than one child, the additional children are at a 50% discount. There are numerous samples of the various levels and videos to let you learn and see more of the program. If you have a beginning reader or a struggling reader or a reader that just needs a bit more practice, give Reading Kingdom a try. I hope it works as well for your family as it does for mine.
Be sure to read some of the other reviews from other Schoolhouse Review Crew families. Just click below to get started.