Learning to read is perhaps one of the biggest childhood milestones. Most children accomplish this around Kindergarten or Grade 1, so I’ve been excited for Jade to learn to read. We’ve been talking about the alphabet and letter sounds for the past year, and just transitioned to online reading lessons with Reading Kingdom.
Reading Kingdom teaches children ages 4 to 10 how to read and write, with comprehension at a third grade level. The program teaches six areas of reading: Phonics (Sounds), Sequencing, Writing, Meaning, Grammar, and Comprehension. During her lesson, the program reads words to Jade, highlights words to help her read them, and gets her to type them on the keyboard. As she’s learned more words, the program has begun putting them together into sentences.
We’ve tried using Reading Kingdom on both our computers and my tablet. When I first tried it on my computer, I realized that most of the letters are worn off my main keyboard. Not a problem for me, as I rarely look at the keyboard, but difficult for Jade! We tried the other computer, but she still found it difficult to switch between the computer screen and the computer keyboard. Using the tablet, with an on-screen keyboard, has worked best for us. I’d recommend trying different devices with your child as well to see what’s easiest for them.
Reading Kingdom is not an app; it is a website, so you do need to use a browser and have internet access in order to use it. The program adapts to your child, creating individualized instruction. Students start the program by doing a placement test. The website then adjusts the lessons to your child’s strengths and weaknesses.
I’ll be honest that Reading Kingdom hasn’t been Jade’s favourite activity. It’s recommended that students use the program at least 4 days per week. (For any reading program, I’d suggest the same, so this didn’t surprise me.) I’ve had to bribe and cajole Jade to get her to sit down and do it. Once she’s done one lesson, however, she often wants to go on to a second lesson. She can also go back to review previous lessons (which is helpful if she’s struggling with a certain word, or to help her feel successful by working on words she already knows).
One thing I do like about online resources such as Reading Kingdom is that we can take schoolwork on the go. Once a week, Jade gets to sit through her older sisters’ music lessons. This has been a great opportunity for me to spend one-on-one time with Jade, because her younger siblings usually sleep through the music lessons. If I bring along the tablet, then Jade and I can work on her reading (and maybe play some games together once she’s done).
Reading Kingdom relies heavily on typing or spelling words to help kids learn to read. So far, Jade has learned words like some, more, kid, kids, girl, girls, boy, boys, cat, cats. These are then put together into short sentences like “more kids” or “some boys.” While she’s learning words that aren’t easy to sound out (like “some”), she also gets easily bored by having to type the words over and over again. (She’ll have the computer keyboard memorized by the time she learns to read!) I’ve had her practice writing these words in her notebook to supplement her online lessons, and she enjoys that.
Right now, Jade often decides before trying to do something that it will be too hard. As she’s in Kindergarten this year, I’ve tried to do school at her pace. We do Reading Kingdom every day, and I appreciate that the lessons are fairly short. The Reading Kingdom website says children can do the program on their own, but Jade has insisted that I sit with her (mostly to encourage her). We may take a break over the summer and tackle this again in September, to see if she’s more ready to learn to read then.
If your child has autism, Reading Kingdom also offers a program specifically for ASD kids. To find out what other homeschoolers have thought about Reading Kingdom or ASD Reading, click the image below.