Oh, sister! This is the year I'm teaching my 7th student to read, and I'll admit right here and now that next to potty training, teaching a child to read is my least favorite task.
When the opportunity to review a web program designed to teach reading, writing, and comprehension arose, I jumped at it. Christian is a 5-year-old kindergartener this year, and I thought he'd be perfect to try it out. He already knows the alphabet but can't necessarily recognize all the letters by sight. He's bright enough to get the basics of the program but not so advanced that he would be bored.
Reading Kingdom is a patented curriculum designed by Dr. Marion Blank, the Director of the Light on Learning program at Columbia University and a world-renowned expert on literacy. Reading Kingdom is the only program that teaches children all 6 skills required for reading and writing success.
After creating an account for your student, the program tests your little one to see where they need to begin. It then customizes a reading and writing program for your student based on their needs and abilities. The program grows and adapts as your student gains confidence and skill, adjusting as it goes.
Beginning at the kindergarten level, Christian worked on developing the skills of recognizing common written words like "boy", "dog", "girl", and "pool". He quickly picked up where the letters were on the keyboard, a skill I find abundantly valuable as a child's familiarity with keyboards is indespensible. Soon he was learning the difference between upper and lower case letters, the use of simple punctuation, and even how to produce cases using the shift key. While the letters and words are presented on the screen, they are also being spoken aloud so he was able to see and hear the letters and words, too.
"This is fun!", he exclaimed on day one. "I'm good at this!"
Several levels into the program, he began to get antsy. There is a lot (a lot) of repetition, and so I began to trade off with him until we got past the exercises that were no longer new and interesting. But the repetition doesn't bother me. In fact, it is the repetition of learning to read that makes me disdain teaching it so, and if a computer program can keep his interest overall while drilling all those letters and sounds, then I'll take it.
The graphics are great for this level, and as Christian began to play he even said things like, "Those mushrooms are cute." :D
I'll be using Reading Kingdom this year until Christian is on his way to solid reading skills. And then I'll reevaluate whether it's the best thing for Mighty Joe's learning issues. Two thumbs up from us!
Mighty Joe loves to watch, too
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.