Reading Kingdom Review: I am always nearby if Eli needed help but he really enjoyed doing the lessons on his own and would tell me “I can do it myself.”

“Learning Literacy Skills with Reading Kingdom

Teaching my children the joy of reading is a high priority to me. I will be honest when I tell you that teaching my oldest child how to read was kind of nerve wracking and challenging. This time around was a different experience for me as a parent watching my child navigate through the program because Eli’s reading ability is significantly different than my daughters was when we last used Reading Kingdom, this is due to the fact that he is only 4 years old and she was 7. So watching him work through it, I can see more of what the program is working on besides learning sight words (this was kind of my perception I think the last time).

While our placement test was rather quick because Eli had no prior experience with the keyboard, it can be longer for students with a higher skill level. As the parent you are able to download a report, this is a nice detailed sheet that shows the placement test results and the time it took to complete (ours was about 7 minutes). You can also see all the words worked on, the amount of time it took to complete the lesson and progress. So far the longest time it has taken Eli to complete a lesson is 24 minutes, now this can be hard for some kids to sit for this period of time but the interface of the program is interactive and the game/lesson changes so it keeps your child’s attention. Eli is a very active 4 year old and so far there has been no issue in having him complete a lesson.

Reading Kingdom suggest that your child work in the program at least 4 days a week for the best results, but no more than two lessons a day. Every day during our school lessons Eli would ask to do Reading Kingdom, this was really nice to hear because at the beginning stages I was unsure if he was feeling comfortable or happy with completing the lessons. I know that switching to working on the iPad was a major game changer for us, not that I think it would have made a difference in the placement test but I know that it leads to shorter time in finding the correct letters on the keyboard. Response time is something you can change in the dashboard settings, I have it set at the maximum time allowing Eli to take his time in finding the correct answer. This is another aspect of the program that I like, when Eli would choose the wrong answer it would subtly show him the correct answer by asking him to type the correct letters, they would highlight them on the onscreen keyboard. This makes the program easy for the child to work on independently, which Eli liked to do even though a big part of me wanted to help guide him through.

Eli was happy when he answered correctly all by himself!

I tend to have a habit or problem with thinking that I need to be involved in every school lesson and program my children are involved in, so this program is training me to take a step back. I am always nearby if Eli needed help but he really enjoyed doing the lessons on his own and would tell me “I can do it myself.”

So Now Let’s Talk About Eli’s Experience…

The first thing you will do is sign in and choose your child’s account. There is a very cheerful owl and musical notes that play to start the lesson, the first screen is the introduction to the word that is the focus of the lesson. You will also begin to notice as your child works through the lessons that they will incorporate past words in the lesson to begin forming sentences. Each lesson and word will begin to build on the previous one, for example in one lesson Eli was working on the word boy and in another lesson he worked on the word boys. Typically, Eli worked on the program for one lesson a day for 4-5 days a week. Occasionally, he would ask to do another lesson or hit the button to proceed to a new lesson but sometimes I would just limit him to one a day. The reason for doing this was I wanted to make sure he wasn’t overwhelming himself, yes, he loved the games and graphics but I wanted him to be focused for each lesson and not just wanting to use the tablet (he is 4 so I do use my discretion on that). Also, with some lesson taking him 20+ minutes, I felt it was best to regulate his time using the program so he wouldn’t get frustrated or tired of the program. This seemed to keep him excited and asking for the program the next day.

Using the program became easier when we switched to a tablet instead of the computer. Here we used it successfully on a Samsung Galaxy and an iPad.

Each lesson starts with the introduction of a word, for Eli’s level, the word was show and he would type the word using the keys on the onscreen keyboard. For his level, only the letters he needed to use to type the word were available to push. There are several games and activities used throughout the lesson to practice the spelling, comprehension, and identification of the word. Two of Eli’s favorite games were when bubbles would appear in the ocean with a letter in them, he would hit the correct letter on the keyboard and it would pop turning into a fish. In the beginning he got really good at this noticing a pattern in the bubbles, the bubbles were each one letter of the word being worked on, so for example the first bubble would be a b, then an o, then a y. When he recognized this pattern he would pop the bubble before really even seeing the letter. This was something he figured out on his own, at first I told him to wait for the letter but then I stepped away from doing this because I realized he was learning the order of the letters in the word.

This is definitely a program that I am happy to have him spend 20 minutes a day.”

Yvonne Billian

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