Thursday, October 8, 2015

Teaching Reading The Easy Way With Reading Kingdom ~ Review

Learn to read with Reading Kingdom.  Review @ @HomesteadMommy #homeschooling #hsbloggers Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links, thank you!

Teaching children to read can be hard!  There are many different approaches that all claim to be the best out there.  Yet many children reach higher elementary and still struggle with reading.  Some times the child just isn’t ready to learn yet and other times they just haven’t found the right teaching method that fits them.  One my favourite reading programs is Reading Kingdom Online by Reading Kingdom.  I’ve reviewed this program a few times in the past and my children loved it.  Each time I’ve used it with one of my children I’ve seen large jumps in their reading and they suddenly start wanting to write stories on their own.  There is something about this program that gets their creative mind going!


What Is Reading Kingdom Online?

Reading Kingdom Online is a fully online reading program that adapts to your child’s needs and pace.  It's targeted to children aged 4 to 10 and is also great for older struggling readers.  Reading Kingdom recommends that children do 1 to 2 lessons each day and 4 to 5 days a week to have the best retention and skills practice.

Many reading programs focus only on phonics or sight words and some use a combination of both.  However these approaches do not work well for all children.  Reading Kingdom uses a 6 skill integrated method that was developed by Dr. Marion Blank. 

Reading Kingdom chart

Children learn to:

  • Sequence
  • Writing
  • Sounds/Phonics
  • Meaning
  • Grammar
  • Comprehension

All of the above skill sets are taught in an integrated way so that they work well together and reinforce what your child is learning.

Reading Kingdom's Seeing Sequences section children are taught that we read and spell from left to right.  This is an important and some times difficult skill to learn because as Reading Kingdom talks about on their website young children are often shown groups of pictures and taught that they are all the same no matter what order they are in.  However when it comes to reading that is not true!

Writing -  They have children practice typing the words they are learning to help their memory retain the word.  This isn't to hard for young children because they don't need to be fluent at keyboarding!  If needed the parent can help them find the right letter on the keyboard or click on the on screen keyboard.

Reading Kingdom Online has a Letter Land program that really helps children to learn to use the keyboard.  It also teaches upper case and lower case letters and simple punctuation.

Sounds/Phonics -  English is a very irregular and difficult language!  According to Reading Kingdom there are 1768 ways to spell 40 phonemes.  To help with this phonics programs introduce rules for how to use the sounds.  However there are so many exceptions to the rules that it can make learning to read with only phonics very difficult for many children.

To help with this Reading Kingdom using a brilliant approach of using "Bit blends".  This is there technique that gives the child part of the sound blend and has the child complete the other part.  In time the child learns how to do the blending on their own.

They also teach phonics by writing so children can see the sound patterns in different ways.

Meaning - Reading Kingdom uses a method that teaches words that naturally connect together.  Instead of showing a list of words that sound similar and asking the child to pick what one matches the picture, they teach the meaning of words by using a story.
This establishes a contests to the words that are being learned and makes it easy for the child to understand the meaning of the word being used.

Grammar -  Reading Kingdom teaches grammar in a meaningful but simple way.  Instead of just having children memorize grammar they present the word,then have the child use the word in a sentence after that a picture that matches the sentence meaning is shown.
This helps the child to solidly connect the word to a picture.
They focus on teaching 100 of the most commonly used exception words and there meaning that make up to 60% of the text used on the page of a normal book.

Comprehension -  Instead of using fill in the blank comprehension questions Reading Kingdom teaches children to summarise the stories they have read.  This starts off very gentle and grows with their ability. 

Reading Kingdom

How Does It Work?

After you have created your child's account and they login to Reading Kingdom Online for the first time their first activity is a Skills Survey.  This is an assessment test to determine where in the program your child will be placed.  Once your child is unable to complete a section of the test, the test ends and is placed at the level the program believes they should start with.  However if you find this level is to easy or hard for your child you can override the placement and move them ahead or back at any time.

Reading Kingdom stresses the importance of not helping your child to find the answers to the questions and games.  This is because if you help them find the answer, then the program thinks they KNOW the answer.  Since the program adapts to your child as they work helping them can through off the programs speed.  It does suggest helping very young children operate the mouse or keyboard if needed.

If your child has been placed in the Letter Land area they will practice keyboarding skills and phonic sounds until they can pass that section. 

Reading Kingdom

Once they have passed out of Seeing Sequences and Letter Land they begin with the Reading and Writing levels.  This section is made up of 5 levels and have 30 books to work through.

In each lesson a word is said and the child is asked to type the word.  If they can type it successfully no further instruction on that word is given and the program moves on to the next word.  However if the child can't type the word correctly then for that lesson they practice it. 


How We Have Been Using Reading Kingdom

I received two 1 year subscriptions to Reading Kingdom for our review.  I decided to use the program with our 8 year old and 11 year old.  Our 11 year old could already read but struggled with they way other programs had taught reading.  Since starting Reading Kingdom she is flying through her lessons each day.  Of her own choosing she's been doing 3 or more lessons a day and loving it!

Our 8 year old is also really enjoying the program.  She has some dyslexic symptoms that remind me very much of our oldest.  So she is moving at a slower pace, 1 to 2 lessons a day.  The seeing sequences was an important part of the program for her.  It helps her to remember what order to read the words in and train her brain and eyes to work together.


What Do I Think?

I think that Reading Kingdom Online is a wonderful program to teach children to read with.  It covers all learning styles and uses a solid integrated approach.  It is by far the most comprehensive online reading program that I've seen.  I really like that it uses real stories for children to read, not silly gibberish that doesn’t make sense.

Reader Details - Google Chrome_159

I love that it keeps records for me that I can easily download in a spreadsheet format in my parents dashboard. Progress is shown to the child by symbols on their dashboard. 

While we always practice reading together I love that this is a solid program that can take the lead in teaching reading, typing and grammar for me.  I've used Reading Kingdom in the past with some of our children and they loved it.  I remember the first time I tried the program I didn't like it!  I just wasn't used to the methods they used.  However ever time I have a child start working with this program I start seeing a big difference quickly.  This is not just in their reading abilities but they start wanting to write stories all on their own.  I really think that it is because Reading Kingdom integrates writing and grammar so well.

If you would like to see if Reading Kingdom is a good fit for your family, they offer a 1 month free trail!

Connect with Reading Kingdom:

To read more reviews of Reading Kingdom's programs click the banner below.



Saturday, October 3, 2015

Lunar Eclipse/Blood Moon Photos

Like so many people last Sunday we were looking forward to staying up and watching the eclipse, the kids especially!  As the day went on it started to get cloudy and I wasn’t sure if we would miss this one again.  At about 8 pm the clouds started to break up.  Woohoo!


full moon  My camera isn’t very good at taking night photos so I decided to try my phone.  It didn’t do to bad but the full moon came out as bright white instead of picking up the beautiful grey markings we could see.full moon

Full moon with cloudsThe clouds started to come back in around 8:30 so we decided that we would head back inside and check again in a little while.  Well we got busy doing things and forgot!  By the time I remembered to come back outside and have a look the moon was half covered in the shadow.

moon moon moon I took a few photos with hubbys old phone, it has a good night setting on it’s camera and I was able to pick up the shadow of the eclipse coming over the moon.blood moon

blood moon The blood moon was just beautiful to watch!  We all stayed up until around 11pm after that it was just to cold to be outside any longer since the wind was picking up.  We had all been sick the week before and it wasn’t worth it to stay out and get sick all over again.

Where you able to get a good look at the eclipse?  I hope you were able to enjoy this amazing event! 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Middle School French From Middlebury Interactive Languages - Review

Middlebury Interactive Languages LOGO_zpsspnst7mv

Last year we had the wonderful opportunity to use and review Elementary French 1 (grades 3-5) from Middlebury Interactive Languages.  My oldest daughter loved the course so much she had asked to take the next level.  So we were thrilled to have the opportunity to review Middle School French 1!  The class comes in 2 forms one with a teacher and one with out.  We received a 6 month subscription to the class with out a teacher.

Learning Languages

What is Middlebury Interactive Languages?

Middlebury Interactive Languages is an online, interactive foreign language program.  They offer foreign language courses for grades K-12 including advanced and AP level courses at the high school level.  Language classes are for Spanish, French, German and Chinese.

French classes offered:

  • Elementary French 1 - Grades K-2
  • Elementary French 1 & 2 - Grades 3-5
  • Middle School French 1 & 2 - Grades 6 – 8
  • High School French 1, 2 & 3 - Grades 9-12
  • High School French Fluency 1 & 2 - Grades 9-12
  • AP French - Grades 11-12

The style of the classes is like a slideshow but interactive.  The student listens to audios, reads slides, answers questions using interactive games, writes and records themselves repeating French phrases.

When you first login to Middlebury Interactive the home page has a section at the top for announcements and under that is a box that says Up Next.  This is suppose to show what lesson the student is to work on next. However I've found it to be out of sync with the lessons my daughter has completed.

There is also a calendar option to find your lessons.  This schedules 2 lessons to be done each day.  Unfortunately the schedule seems to be locked and started the week before we had access to the program.  Luckily there is another way to follow along the lessons!

Middlebury Interactive Table of Contents

There is the table of contests to the program and this is what my daughter has been using to do her lessons.

On the left side of the screen is a list of Units with a file folder symbol next to them.  As you click the unit it opens to show a list of lessons under it.  You then click the lesson folder you want and it opens a sub folder with a list of activities to complete for that lesson.

Middlebury Interactive

The lessons display in a slide show type box in the center of the screen.  As each lesson is completed a green check mark appears beside the lesson in the table of contents.

Each unit has 10 lessons and each lesson has at least 6 parts to it.  They have an introduction or teaching tip, a warm up exercise, a matching game and a speaking lab.

Middlebury Interactive3

What Does My Daughter Think?

She has really been enjoying Middlebury Interactive Languages middle school French program.  It's more challenging and a different style then the elementary program that largely used videos to teach.  However she still really likes the format.  She does wish that there was a definitions page she could print off for each lesson.  She has to write out her own terms to help her with the exercises later and since hand writing is harder for her it slows the lessons down.


What Do I Think?

I really like the Middlebury Interactive French program!  This is the type of program that as a parent if your not strong in the language your child is learning it's not a problem.  Even if you don't know it at all, they can still use this program well! 

Middlebury Interactive Languages breaks the learning down into small manageable chunks.  Each lesson takes about 15 minutes to complete.  As your child works through the lessons the activities are graded.  You can easily see these grades and view the lesson as well from your grade book.  Our version of middle school French didn't have the teacher add on so her audio recordings are not marked with feedback so I listen to original and her recording to see if she is pronouncing it correctly.

The only things I wish I could change about the set up is I would like to be able to use the calendar view but select the start date of the course myself.  It would also be helpful if there was a pop up keyboard with French language characters on it.  There was no way that our daughter was going to remember what alt key codes to press to get them to show up.  So I was able to find a app that would let her select the French letter that she need and just copy it for her use.

Other then these little things I think it is a wonderful language program!   This is the program we are planning to use again next year when our oldest reaches the high school level.

Connect With Middlebury Interactive Languages:

To read more reviews of the courses offered by Middlebury Interactive Languages click the banner below.

clickformorereviews600x160_zpsc2cf0855 disclaimer_zps7f3b646c

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...