Homeschool.com’s Product Reviews
Reading Kingdom Ages 3-8, $19.99/month, or less
If phonics worked as advertised to teach a child to read it would be spelled “foniks”.
I think this sentence is both humorous and brilliant, and to be honest, I have quoted it for years!
It can be found on the Reading Kingdom website —
Current reading education typically teaches a phonics approach, a whole language approach, or a combination of the two. But the simple fact is that the vast majority of words in the English language cannot be sounded out……phonics relies on children memorizing almost 600 rules, such as the “silent e” rule, the double vowel rule, the consonant combination rule and on and on. Remembering nearly 600 rules is impossible for a child – or even an adult for that matter. What’s worse is that the rules themselves are riddled with exceptions. For better or worse, in English, irregularity is the rule. To put it simply, if phonics worked as advertised to teach a child to read it would be spelled “foniks”. Consider this sentence where “ea” can be pronounced 13 different ways!
I knew in my head and heart that the theater bureau’s harsh reaction to the great and beautiful ocean/earth pageant, was mean spirited despite the caveat that their review was changeable.
Whole language has had even poorer results. It provides very little structure for learning and as a result, children are overwhelmed with unfamiliar words and sentence structures – and reading failure often ensues.
So what is the answer? Well, it just might be Reading Kingdom!
Reading Kingdom is an online program that teaches children 4-10 years of age how to read and write at a third grade level. It features Dr. Marion Blank’s patented 6-SIM “Six Skill Integrated Method” which uses innovative techniques to teach all the reading & writing skills in an integrated fashion so that they complement and reinforce each other while fostering comprehension at every level. The result is that children become successful readers.
A PDF overview of the program can be seen here.
A video overview of Reading Kingdom can be seen here.
One reason Reading Kingdom is so successful is its customization features. The program starts with a Reading Skills Survey in which a child’s skills in reading and writing are evaluated. Based on the results, the program places the child at the point that is just right for his or her reading skill level. This prevents children from wasting time learning something they already know (which leads to boredom) or being faced with tasks that are too difficult for them (which leads to frustration). As the child moves through the reading software program, the path s/he takes continuously adapts to his/her particular reading needs.
- can be used as a curriculum or supplement
- can be used by children on their own
- is structured so that a child skips over words that he or she can already read and write. This not only saves precious time, but accelerates learning which adds to a child’s motivation.
- offers tutoring techniques that enable a child to overcome any errors he or she may encounter. This allows every activity to end successfully, with a resulting increase in skill and confidence.
- includes a progress check at the end of each of the five levels of reading/writing, to assess whether the child has mastered that level. If the achievement is on track, he or she moves to the next level of the reading software; if it is not, a set of review activities is provided to bring a child to the level needed for continued progress.
In addition to being thorough, the program is very attractive. It has visually appealing graphics and animation (funny, too!), and the audio is excellent–it’s loud and clear. We enjoyed playing the games–and believe that children will enjoy the program as well. Testimonials to that effect can be seen here.
The program is affordable–you can even sign up for a 30 day FREE trial. Following the free trial, individual subscriptions to Reading Kingdom are $19.99/month (with no monthly minimum), or $199.99 per year (20% off). Additional children within a family can be enrolled at 50% off ($9.99/month or $99.99/year). And Reading Kingdom offers a scholarship program for those families who have financial hardships.
Reading Kingdom–thorough, attractive, affordable–and much more than “foniks” alone!