Several months ago, US Family Guide asked me if I would like to review Reading Kingdom, a reading program that can help beginning readers learn to read and emerging readers become even better. I decided I needed a little help on this one, so I asked Teach, who has almost completed her Masters Degree in Reading to give it a try with her cute little Twizlet. If you remember, she is just entering Kindergarten.
Here is Teach's professional opinion.
The program provides a basis of sight word learning with repeated exposure and a gradual release of scaffolding. This model was effective in helping my emergent reader learn the letter order for the words that were presented such as "kids" or "cats." The program does not address phonemic awareness, the ability to hear the sounds within the words, which is an essential first step for pre-reading. If the child has already demonstrated mastery of phonemic awareness skills then they would benefit from this program, but parents should make that assessment before jumping in. Each child develops at a different pace, so the age recommendation is a bit inaccurate. I also felt that the sight words chosen were not the most significant words to teach, but I understand the choice based on the CVC word pattern. The graphics were engaging and the activities intuitive. The time required is reasonable for a child that is in kindergarten or beyond. I believe it would be a good intervention for a reader struggling with sight words in the K-2 setting, but is not necessarily a perfect fit for all emergent readers.
Li'l Sis is a middle school Language Arts teacher who also has a daughter just slightly older than Twizlet who struggles with reading, so I asked her to give the Reading Kingdom program a try. Her kiddo thought the characters were fun, but she struggled to keep up with the typing part of things. Perhaps it would be better if the games had unlimited times or times that were easily changeable depending on the game.
Last of all, my Baby Doll was in 5th grade and she gave the highest level a try. She thought the games were fun and I thought it was a great way for her to improve her spelling. Unfortunately, after I told her that, she got upset and didn't want to play anymore.
So let's keep that our little secret, ok?