Teaching your child to read well and enjoy reading is one of the most important gifts you can give them. After watching Emma struggle SO much with reading (and now finally being on the tail end of it) I want to give my children every opportunity to be successful in reading. We read together as a family daily, I read to the children for school, Matt, the older children and I set an example by reading on our own, we frequent the library, our personal book collection is ever growing, and we supply ample opportunity for everyone to curl up with a good book (whether they can read yet or not… you should see Jack with the book of superheros he got from the library). I have also made use of computer games for help in supplementing our reading lessons.
Reading Kingdom is an interactive online learning game. After an initial assessment, Reading Kingdom guides your child through the six language skills that are necessary for reading and writing: sequencing, writing, phonology, semantics, syntax, and comprehension. With a round little owl as his companion your child will be asked to recognize specific letters in a word, type the letters, select letters that make certain sounds, and more. Each time your child answers correctly there is a little celebratory animation. When they answer incorrectly there is a little cartoon that pops in to the screen and shakes his head. Every lesson gets incrementally harder and customizes itself to your child’s level and only progresses as quickly as he can.
Reading Kingdom is very simple to use. After the initial assessment Spencer (age six) was able to navigate the game entirely on his own. After each lesson he was able to choose whether or not he wanted continue on or finish for the day. The first day Spencer was able to sit through three or four lessons and do pretty well on them.
You are given the option of using the onscreen or physical keyboard. Spencer preferred the onscreen keyboard.
You, the parent, will receive emails informing you of your child’s progress. You can also log in and view his progress online. I found the bar graph especially helpful.
I wish I could say that I love Reading Kingdom but after the initial excitement of a new game, Spencer quickly became bored and started to dread his Reading Kingdom time. He would often try and “be done” before he had finished his lesson for the day. He very quickly figured out that if he just clicked the wrong answer, the program would tell him what keys to push, and then would eventually do it for him. It got to the point where he would just click random things so as to be finished sooner. I had to sit him down and remind him to pay attention and do it the right way but he just couldn’t wrap his head around why he needed to do a game that he didn’t enjoy and unfortunately using Reading Kingdom became a source of contention. The lessons were just too long to hold his attention and there didn’t seem to be enough verity. That being said, his feet dragging made it so we could only go so far in the program so it’s possible it gets more exciting later on.
I think perhaps an iPad app would be better for beginning readers since so much of your child’s success in Reading Kingdom is based on whether or not they can use a keyboard (which, in my experience is very difficult for a young child). You supposedly CAN use Reading Kingdom on the iPad using an alternative browser that supports flash, but even after much trying, we weren’t able to get it to work so I don’t know if that would have solved our problem.
On the bright side, he did learn the basic layout of the keyboard (a few of the letters at least, he knows E is supposed to be next to R, anyway). Ultimately though, Reading Kingdom was not a good fit for our family.
Reading Kingdom is aimed at preschoolers up to age 10 and is $19.99 a month or $199.99 a year for the first child. Each additional child is 50% off.
Prices are accurate as of the publication of this review and are subject to changeClick to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew