Thursday, September 6, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: Reading Kingdom


I've been quite honest with the reading difficulties at Long Leaf Academy.  For some of the kids, reading came very naturally.  For others, reading was the hardest skill to teach and learn.  The Princess absolutely had the  hardest time learning to read.  She is bright and witty and willing to learn but for some reason getting those letters to make words was difficult.

A year and a half ago, we had the opportunity to review the online program Reading Kingdom and it helped the Princess immensely.  (I'd love for you to read the review we did on the program then.)  She made strides in her reading ability and learned to slow down, take her time, and do her very best.  Because we had experience with the program before, we were the ideal candidates to try it again and see how much improvement the Princess had made in those skills.

Reading Kingdom is a comprehensive reading program designed by Dr. Marion Blank.  Dr. Blank is a reading expert having spent over 40 years studying how children learn to read.  Isn't that amazing?  You know you are in good hands with Dr. Blank.  She also serves as the Director of the Light on Learning program at Columbia University in New York and has devoted her life to helping children learn to read.  Dr. Blank wants children to experience the joy in books and her methods for teaching them are proven.  Through the Reading Kingdom program, students study and learn the following skills:


For the Princess, it was simple to begin Reading Kingdom again.  As soon as her account was re-activated, she was ready.  The first thing that she did was take the diagnostic test to see where she would begin her study this time around.  It was exciting for us to see how far along she had come from the earlier days of struggling.  {I have to admit here that I offered to sit down beside the Princess to help her through any difficulties she have through this test.  She quickly responded with a slightly disgusted, "Mom, I've got this."   And she was right.}  My Princess was able to complete the entire diagnostic without my help.  She was elated.  That confidence boost is just what she needed.  Although she loved Reading Kingdom the first time, she has enjoyed it even more this time.  She does not need my help in any way and enjoys sitting down to complete one or two lessons a day.


As this program adjusts step by step to each individual child, it makes learning fun and keeps them motivated.  Recommended for children from preschool to third grade (and for struggling readers of all types -- like my Princess), Reading Kingdom is perfect for homeschooling families.  It can stand-alone as a complete reading curriculum or can be used as a supplement to your current curriculum.  We are using it as a confidence-boosting supplement to our core curriculum.  It works especially well to give me a bit of time to work with the Boy Scout or the Junior when they need help with their individual subjects.  The Princess can quickly log on and work on a lesson or two while I answer any questions the others might have.  Each lesson takes her about 15 minutes and that's usually just enough time for me to help the others.

Sight and sound intensive, you will want to have a computer with keyboard and speakers (and a reliable internet connection) to get the very best out of the program.  If your children are visual or auditory learners, this will be perfect for them.  I like knowing that as my child's skills strengthen, Reading Kingdom progresses with her.  The lessons get a little harder as she masters them.   I also like knowing that she feels confident and KNOWS that she is getting better and better.  Any time that she doesn't complain while doing school, I am a happy mom.


Here's what the Princess had to say about Reading Kingdom:
Some parts are challenging because sometimes it's hard to understand what they are asking you.  But then you get it and you feel like you have just accomplished something really big.  It doesn't JUST teach you how to read and write.  It also helps you learn about the keyboard and how to find the right keys.  Last time it was hard because I didn't know how to read but this time it was easier and more fun.  I like a good challenge and I like to learn.  You know, it's not just "something to do."  Reading Kingdom is something FUN to do.  
I'm so glad that she likes it because I intend for her to finish the entire program.  From start to finish, Reading Kingdom will take a typical learner a minimum of 6 months to complete.  This includes the time spent on the Skills Survey and Keyboard Training as well the Sequencing, Letter Land and Reading & Writing Levels 1 - 5 and their progress checks.  (You can read an in-depth explanation of how long it takes to finish each session here.)  The Princess will not need quite that long now, but I know she will be excited to keep working.  She likes it when I can brag on her after I receive an emailed report on her progress.  That's even more reinforcement -- another benefit of the Reading Kingdom program.

Each of the Reading & Writing Levels contains 6 readers to make a total of 30 books read upon completion.  Students can skip a level or even re-do a level if you feel it would benefit them.  Parents need only contact Customer Service at Reading Kingdom to set that up.  At the end of each Reading & Writing Level there is a Progress Check followed by a Review.  These assure that students are actually learning the words they are supposed to be learning on the given level.

You can sign up for a FREE 30-day trial and see your Prince or Princess get excited about all that Reading Kingdom has to offer.  After you have enjoyed Reading during the trial period, you can subscribe for $19.99 a month (with no monthly minimum) or $199.99 for a 12-month subscription (that's a savings of 20%).  If you have more than one child in your family that can benefit from Reading Kingdom, they can be added to your account for an additional $9.99 a month (50% off).  You are only obligated for as long as your children need help -- you can cancel your subscription at any time.  There is even a way to use Reading Kingdom on your iPad.

Additional resources available at include hands-on at-home reading activities for kids, app recommendations, a list of great books to keep your reader interested in reading, and free worksheets.  You can even buy the book sets to accompany each reading level for extra practice when you are on-the-go.

Reading Kingdom is PASSIONATE about promoting literacy.  That's a passion that I can get behind -- and I think you should, too.

For more information, you can also check out Reading Kingdom on FaceBook.


~Disclaimer:  I was given the opportunity to use and review Reading Kingdom as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  The opinions stated are mine and mine alone.  I was not paid to share my thoughts and feelings with you.  I received a subscription to the website in exchange for my honest review.  You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Crew thought of Reading Kingdom.~

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  1. Thank you so very much for sharing your experience with the Reading Kingdom program.Your review was very helpful and honest.Learning to read can be a challenge for so many. It is great to know there is a program that makes learning fun and easy.I am so excited for your princess and I will tell everyone I know about Reading Kingdom.I am headed to check out their website now.Thanks again for sharing your struggles.


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your heart with me!