Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
If you have been searching for an online program that covers reading, spelling and comprehension for grades K to 3, then a subscription with Reading Kingdom may be for you.
The goal of this program is to get your child up to a Grade 3 reading level (Lexile 750). It is suggested that you use this program at least 4-5 times a week for the best results, and only do 1-2 sessions each time.
We were given a 12-month subscription to this online program for each of my 6-year old twins. People may struggle to tell the twins apart by their looks, but their brains are wired very differently. This leads to their different skill sets and preferences when it comes to learning. So, I’m sure you can now understand why I was fascinated to see how this program would work for them both.
The Placement Test
I was warned that the placement test can be long, but my children didn’t find that. That’s mainly because they’ve struggled with their reading skills and we had a couple of technical hitches during the test. That’s my fault for not reading the instructions first and selecting ‘on screen keyboard’ when they were using their iPads. I also didn’t give them any prior keyboard and mouse training when they were using the computer, which they suggest you do. There are training exercises outlined for this within the program.
In the first couple of weeks there were a couple of other annoying technical hitches on the twins’ iPads, such as the program freezing or it would unexpectedly zoom in so that the onscreen keyboard would suddenly not be available. It was frustrating, but with a quick exit and a log back in, it was fixable.
Even though the website is very comprehensive and there are documents about using the program, it wasn’t until my twins had taken the test that I became positive that there’s a lot more to it than what you see as a parent.
For example, one twin was given more games to play at the beginning to develop certain skills, which suited her personality; although she was technically further along in the program and was able to skip more of the reading books than her sister.
Even though the twins could find their way around an iPad, they were not familiar with a ‘qwerty’ keyboard, or even knew that the shift button existed. So when we then tried the program on our computer, it really slowed them down at the beginning as a mouse was foreign to them too. As a result they have made numerous accidentally clicks as the mouse slipped under their hand, but their keyboard and mouse skills are significantly better already. They are quickly learning where all the letters are on the keyboard, and picking up speed along the way. So my personal preference is for them to use the computer when using this program and truly develop these skills too.
My approach for this program was for my girls to dive straight in and see what happened. That sounds like I treated them like guinea pigs, but for this system that’s exactly what I wanted to do to truly test it for each of them.
Once your children have started you can go in and see their progress. They have very detailed reports that you can download and print off for reference. You can look in at the results for each child, or see an overview for all your children using the system, and you even get to pick the time period you would like to review.
Their initial placement test showed that one twin needed extra help with ‘Seeing Sequences’, yet the other with ‘Letter Land’. The overview report highlights their progress and whether it is classed as ‘excellent’, or not. As time passes you can see how much of the program is completed, what current level they are on and what percent of that level is completed. The date they last used it, and the number of days they have logged in are also mentioned.
For each child you can see exactly which words they have struggled with, and how long it has taken them to get through a section. There are also graphs that show their vocabulary words and Lexile scores overtime, which gives you an insight to their decoding skills and comprehension.
I know the twins can read more words than they are seeing so far in this program. They have even commented how easy they find the reading. However, you have to remember they are not only reading, but they are spelling words too, as well as building on keyboard and mouse skills. Therefore, the results you see are solid numbers that probably will show higher in other less thorough reading programs.
In the picture you can see over a period of five weeks they have had a strong increase in both skills measured, and I expect this to continue. Even though they had to start at what seemed to be close to the beginning of this program, it has been a great way to build their confidence with spelling, reading and computer skills.
Sometimes there appears to be a lot of repetition during a session, but the girls have stuck at the maximum recommended sessions of two per day, which left them both wanting more. That’s a good sign for the long haul. However, there were a few days when they only wanted to complete one session each. I left that to their discretion.
Unfortunately, there is no option to correct a letter that has accidentally been pressed. This means children are unable to correct themselves, but this I suppose is encouraging them to improve their accuracy over time. However, they both found this frustrating.
Despite this small annoyance this is an excellent system. A program that the twins want to do daily, and can be used on any computer device gets a thumbs up from us. But more importantly, it works for both twins and their different preferences and learning styles. Even though the twins tend to be at the same level academically, the program adjusts depending on their individual needs. This is key. It’s also a program that is proving to increase multiple skills at the same time through various measurements. They are both seeing positive results.
I’m excited to see (and measure) how the twins continue to improve throughout the year. Also as they go through the levels, how the system will adapt as their skills develop along with their increase of reading comprehension.
I highly recommend that you check out what other Homeschool Review Crew families thought of this program via the banner below, which also includes reviews of Reading Kingdom’s ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) Reading program.