Tuesday 22 November 2011

Reading Kingdom online reading and writing program review

A couple of months ago, the opportunity came up on Momfuse to review an "online, fun-filled program that teaches children aged 4 to 10 how to read and write". Well, that sounded perfect for 6-year-old Juliette to try out so I signed us up straight away. 

In return for writing an honest review, they gave us a 1-year membership worth $199. I have to admit, the price for the subscription did seem a bit expensive to me so I was keen to see if it would actually end up being good value or not. I scuttled off to activate our membership and do a quick bit of research about how it all works.

The Reading Kingdom was created by literacy and education expert Dr. Marion Blank, the Director of the Light on Literacy program at Columbia University. They say that it goes above and beyond the traditional phonics programs you may already know, teaching children learning skills using six key skills needed for reading and writing success - sequencing, motor skills, sounds, meaning, grammar and comprehension.

The main thing that leapt out at me from the website is that you have to let your child get on with it and not help them as they do the exercises. It comes as second nature helping your kids out when they ask for assistance or get stuck so this is easier said than done ! It's important though because the programme records your child's success rate in order to plot their progress chart and tell you how they're getting on.

Reading aside, I love the way that the programme helps your little learner with computer skills, teaching them to use not only the keyboard, typing on specific letters, but also the mouse, clicking on different things on the screen. Juliette - who very rarely goes on the computer - at first struggled with finding the letters and the space bar but within minutes, she could find her way around the keyboard, helped by the online prompts whenever she did get stuck.

The exercises are quite repetitive but Juliette found them great fun and asked if she could "play" (her word) again on a nightly basis for the first few weeks. I have to admit, we haven't been using it so regularly for the past month or so but that's because homework has picked up at school so we no longer have so much time before dinner and bed.

I love the fact that the programme is personalised to suit each individual child. The first time you log on, you need to take a skills test which will determine which level you start at (and this is why it is so important that you don't help your child !). Juliette, like most children I would think, started in Letter Land where they learn to find their way around a keyboard recognising the different letters, before moving on to the actual reading part of the programme.

The bright colours and cute graphics, simple exercises that really build up your child's confidence and short timespan of each session so that kids won't get bored, are all huge plus points. Juliette's reading has started coming on in leaps and bounds at school over the past few weeks so I really must make a concerted effort to get back into doing the Reading Kingdom exercises on a daily basis. She often has long lists of syllables and words to read from school so this would be a much more fun way to keep up the reading practice and help her stay motivated.

I still find it expensive for what it is, but it is a very complete programme that really does motivate kids and keep them interested. Juliette made immediate progress on finding her way around a keyboard and recognising letters and sounds, but I found the early "Letter Land" part of the programme to be too long and repetitive - four to six weeks is a long time when you're an impatient little learner ! Having looked at what is in store for us in the more advanced levels, I can see that Juliette will get some great reading, writing and spelling practice so I will definitely persevere, especially as Juliette really enjoys it.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : $19.99 for a month (with a 30 day free trial period), $199 for a year

for more information : http://www.readingkingdom.com/

Other reviews you may be interested in :


  1. I am going to check this one out. Teaching the kids at home, this might be a perfect addition to our resource.


  2. Thanks @momoffunkids! Let us know if you have any questions. :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...