Disclosure: I was compensated for my review of Reading Kingdom, along with given a year’s access to the system. All opinions are my own.
Given that fewer than 1 in 5 words can be “sounded out” and there are 1,768 ways to spell 40 sounds, Reading Kingdom claims to be the first program to use the groundbreaking “Phonics-PLUS” system. In addition to teaching the skill of “Sound”, “Phonics-PLUS” incorporates “Sequencing”, “Writing”, “Meaning”, “Grammar”, and “Comprehension” to help children learn to read.
Reading Kingdom promotes that their program is for children 4-10 years old, from kids who are not yet reading and don’t know their letters to those who have already started to learn and builds skills up to a 3rd-grade level. Given their recommended age range, I signed up both my 8-year-old 3rd grader and 4-year-old preschooler.
When you first sign up, it is recommended to have your child take an assessment to determine which of their five levels to start with. The assessment consisted of 2 sections – identifying words spoken and typing. The first section showed 3 different word options and would speak a word for the student to identify. The typing section showed individual letters for the student to type.
My 8-year-old flew through the word identification with ease but was slower with the typing given he hasn’t spent much time learning to type. He was placed in Level 1. My 4-year-old struggled with both sections, just guessing on the word identification. She was also placed in Level 1. While Level 1 made sense for my 4-year-old, I was surprised that my 8-year-old was also placed in Level 1, so I’m guessing heavy weight is given to typing ability. I would not have equated reading and writing ability with typing, but we proceeded as suggested.
I was given 14 days to review the program and provide this post, so my children both worked through Level 1 in that time. As advertised, the program adjusts based on how your student performs. Both of my students had the same first lesson, and then they varied immediately.
Each session consists of 15-20 lessons. And they recommend no more than 2 sessions per day. The first lesson focused on the word “girls” and the skill of “sequencing”. They were to spell “girls” using the letters in the white box in order from left to right.
Other lessons included identifying a spoken word, identifying all instances of a spoken word in a text in order, typing a spoken word, and identifying which option could become the spoken word then filling in the missing letters. Each session would focus on 1-4 words, with all 15-20 lessons practicing those words in different fun ways.
Reading Kingdom Review
My first impression of Reading Kingdom was that it was unlikely that my 8-year-old and 4-year-old were at the same reading level, but we continued as instructed. My 8-year-old was very bored at Level 1, but it was a good review and repetition of beginner sight words.
As the program is very heavily focused on typing, we improvised with my 4-year-old who had not used a keyboard at all. I would have her speak the letters that were shown on the screen or needed to complete the words and I would type them. I also found the sessions too long for her attention span. They provide a pause button, but you can only use it one time per session.
On a positive note, I do like that the program focuses on only a few words at a time and works on both reading and spelling in the same sessions. While my son is on par for reading at his grade level, I feel like his spelling is lacking, so this has been good practice.
As 14 days is a very short time to review a program like this, check back as I’ll be updating this review over the next year that we have access to the system.
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