Tag Archives: language arts

Learn To Read With Reading Kingdom Review

Are you looking to improve your child’s ability to read and write? Then you might want to check out Reading Kingdom online interactive curriculum.

Reading Kingdom offers a better strategy than what has traditionally been offered to help kids improve their reading and writing skills, reduce academic failure, and reach reading proficiency.

Reading Kingdom

Reading Kingdom

Online Learning Program

Interactive Curriculum

Highly effective

Adapts To Each Child

Individualized Instruction

Research based

Ages 4-10

Retail $19.99 month ($9.99 additional child).

Reading Kingdom in an online learning program developed for students ages 4 to 10 to help them become proficient at reading and writing to a 3rd grade level.   It is fun to use and kids can use the program on their own.  Because it is filled with learning games and books, kids are motivated to use it each day.  Reading Kingdom works as a standalone curriculum or as a supplement to your curriculum.  Reading Kingdom works on any device with an internet connection (including Windows, Mac, iPad, Android, Chromebooks, etc.)

Reading Kingdom uses a patented strategy called the Phonics Plus decoding system created by Dr. Marion Blank, a developmental psychologist who is also one of the world experts on reading.  Learning with Reading Kingdom has been made available in a fun online interactive program by her son Jonathan Blank, an expert in computer software development.   Now families everywhere can have access to this award winning learning system to help kids learn to read and write.

The Phonics Plus decoding system is based on learning the meanings of words, the pattern sequencing of letters, and sounds that create meaning.

Sequencing:  recognizing patterns from left to right.
Writing: understanding letter placement on keyboard and writing through out the program.
Sounds (Phonics): sounding letter blends,
Meaning: understanding the meaning of words and their context.
Grammar: grammatical rules
Comprehension: remembering and understanding what has been read.

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The Department of Education reports that two out of three kids today are failing at reading and writing proficiency and Dr. Blank believes it is because they learned to read with phonics only.  There are many reasons why learning with phonics only fails to help so many kids.

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However, rather than just learning phonics only, Reading Kingdom teaches the Phonic’s Plus decoding system as foundational for mastering reading and writing proficiency.  This method brings reading, writing, and comprehension together. As students learn these skills, they will benefit both now and later in life as many of these skills overflow into other areas in a person’s life.

How It Works:

Reading Kingdom uses fun reading games, story books, and the Phonics Plus decoding strategy to boost each student’s skills and confidence in reading, writing, and comprehension.  When kids finish the program, they will have mastered above a third grade reading level.

Reading Kingdom contains 5 Levels.  Each level is adaptable for the skill level of the person using it, so it customizes itself per the child’s needs.  Each level builds upon the skills learned in the previous level.  Before moving forward it gets kids ready for the next level so both sets of skill levels flow smoothly together. A Progress Check (review quiz) is given after each level. More practice is given if needed, or if they have mastered everything, they are promoted to the next level.

Reading Kingdom is designed to be used 4 days per week. Each level is filled with several sessions and you complete one session each day.  Each session takes about 10 to 20 minutes to complete.  A child learns 1 new word or reads 1 new book during each session.

Below are a few examples of different skill levels.  The first picture shows the level, the number of new words, new words plus word variants, total new words, and new books learned in that level.  The second picture in each category below is an example of a learning game in that level.

Level 1

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Level 2

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Level 3

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Level 4

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Level 5

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The entire Reading Kingdom online program starting at the lowest level and working your way through to completing the highest level, is designed to take about 12 to 15 months to complete all the levels and skills.   However, an older child child who already has acquired some reading skills, takes the placement test and scores above the beginning level, etc. maybe able to complete the program quicker, perhaps in as little as 6+/- months.   This program could also be used for review for older students and ESL and remedial learning.  A child who is a struggling reader may take longer than average to complete.  The program is flexible and adapts to the skills of each child.  However if your student is on the Autism Spectrum or has other learning challenges, then you might want to check into another program Reading Kingdom has developed called ADS Reading.

Who is Dr. Blank?

Dr. Marion Blank

Dr. Marion Blank is known around the world as a literacy expert. She developed and directed the Light on Literacy Program. She has served on the faculty of Columbia University. She lectures around the world, and has authored several peer-reviewed articles and books. Dr. Blank has developed award winning teaching programs.  She is the author of the Reading Remedy and creator of the Reading Kingdom.

Video
Here is a short video about Reading Kingdom:

How We Used Reading Kingdom In Our Home

I was thrilled for my kids to have the opportunity to use Reading Kingdom.  We were given a one year subscription in exchange for writing an honest review about our experience.

My kids have been using the Reading Kingdom program for about 6 weeks, and have practiced almost daily during our language arts study time since getting the program.  I am using this program with my three youngest kids, ages 6, 8, and 10.  The 8 year old is the most consistent user.  He has averaged 4.3 days per week.  The 10 year old has averaged 3 days per week.  The 6 year old has an average of 2.3 days per week.

Sometimes the 6 year old isn’t as motivated as the 8 year old and 10 year old are to sit at the computer.  I think he has stopped a few times before his lesson was completely finished for the day, and I am not sure if that reduces the average number of days counted.  I think he will become more motivated to finish each lesson as he gains more skills.

This is our second time to use this program and I can see similarities in the ages in regards to skills and motivation.  We had a subscription to Reading Kingdom three years ago and the kids learned a lot at that time and loved it.  We were excited to see how much they have improved since then.

Each child has two options when starting the program.  The first option is for those starting at the beginning level and are just learning to read.  They can start at the very beginning with the very first lesson session.  The second option is to take a placement test to find out what skills the child already knows and where they should be placed.  The placement test has two parts, a keyboard typing test and a sequencing test.

Typing & Keyboard Test

Typing & Keyboard Test

These placement tests help the parent, and the Reading Kingdom program understand what skills the student already knows, and what skills they have yet to learn.  Because Reading Kingdom is an adaptable reading program, it responds to the child’s skill level and their ongoing progress.  It also recognizes what they don’t know because of the mistakes they are making, and provides extra support and training in those areas.  This helps customize the program to their learning level.

Sequencing Test

Sequencing Test

Since he is a beginning reader, I had my 6 year old start at the beginning level without taking the placement tests.  My 8 year old son and 10 year old daughter both took the placement test.  They took the letter sequencing test and a keyboard typing test.

The placement test put the 8 year old a little above where I thought it would.  He is a strong reader and quick learner and did well on the placement test.  It placed him on Level 3.  However the 10 year old struggled more while taking the test, as it is timed and she is slower to answer even if she knows the answer, and it started her in the middle of Level 1.  Both she and I thought she would place on a higher level.  It seem to us that because she struggled with speed on the placement test is the reason why she started at a lower level, and not because she didn’t know the answer.  Though she was a bit disappointed at first, it has turned out to be good review for her to go back over many of the words and practice them, and the parent report is showing she is getting an “excellent” score on her lesson sessions.

After the tests, and placement, then each kid can begin their sessions.  The program is set up to do 1 session a day, though you can do more.  After they log in, each of my kids have a dash board that shows their progress.

On the parent dashboard, I can go in to a tab and choose to review reports, change the level or speed for responses, or even set it to retake the test if needed.  For now, I have left everything at the default speed and mainly use my dashboard to review the reports.  Reports can also be downloaded and sent by email too.  I like the parent dashboard because it gives me a basic summary of how each child is progressing, what words they are learning and what words they are struggling with.

As a parent, I know each of my kids learn differently, some are fast and some are slow at picking up certain skills.  It is nice to have a curriculum that can adapt to their learning styles.

When my kids complete a level (or test out of a level) they have the option to print a diploma certificate for that level.

I would encourage other homeschool families to check out Reading Kingdom. You can help your child achieve reading proficiency when you team up with Reading Kingdom for the Phonics Plus solution to help your child succeed.

FREE

Try before you buy with FREE Sample Lessons. Reading Kingdom also offers a FREE Trial Offer, free worksheets, and many other free resources too.  They also have special discount offers to choose from when you subscribe.

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Follow Reading Kingdom on their social media links for all the latest news, teaching ideas, product updates, and special offers.

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Homeschool Review Crew

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IEW Teacher and Student Writing Package Review

If you haven’t yet heard of the Institute for Excellence in Writing  (IEW) curriculum company, I would encourage you to check them out.  We were sent their Teaching Writing: Structure and Style, Student Writing Intensive Level A  Package for review.  This would be a great curriculum to add to your schedule this coming school year. 

IEW Writing Level A Package

 

Teaching Writing / Student Writing Package Level A

Package Combo Retails for $249 (Save $49.00!)

Teaching Writing: Structure and Style DVD seminar

Student Writing Intensive Level A

For Elementary Grades 3-5.

Grades

 

What We Received

Teaching Writing: Structure and Style DVD Package Level A:

12 Seminar DVDs 

  • Nine DVDs with instruction on the nine structural models and multiple stylistic techniques (14 hours total viewing time).
  • Three DVDs of sample Student Workshops at four different grade levels.

TWSS Seminar and Practicum Workbook

  • 3 ring binder with dividers  and printouts.  The binder serves as the syllabus and workbook for the seminar and contains charts, word lists, sample lesson plans, and more.

1 year Online Subscription

  • Streaming video of the entire Teaching Writing: Structure and Style teacher training course, providing instruction on the nine structural models and multiple stylistic techniques (14 hours total viewing time—may be watched all at once, or viewed one disc at a time throughout the school year)
  • Streaming video of sample Student Workshops at four different grade levels to help you with the first lesson
  • Free access to our monthly training webinars, August through May
  • Audio MP3 downloads of Andrew Pudewa’s most popular conference talks
  • Several PDF downloads

Student Writing Intensive Level A
5 DVDs
SWI Level A Student Notebook with student handouts, a student 3 ring binder with dividers, and daily lesson suggestions for the teacher/parent

Here is the author Dr. Pudewa, explaining more about the program.

 

How We Used IEW Writing Curriculum

We did a trial run for a few weeks at the end of our school year to see if we want to include this curriculum in our studies this fall.  I was really impressed with the quality of the materials we recieved.  The 3 ring binders are heavy duty and we were sent over 100 pages plus nice dividers to put into each of them and help us stay organized and on plan.  The case that holds the Teachers Seminar DVD’s is really nice too.

I found the Level A Package to be a wonderful writing program and useful for teaching English to Elementary 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades.  This curriculum fits right into our life right now as we have several in this grade range, and some older ones who can sharpen their skills too.  This program is helping improve my skills as a teacher so really all of my children will benefit from this.

For this review, I used this program with my 12 year old to help him get a better understanding and improve his writing skills. This program will work great for older students who might not like writing.  My 12 year old does not enjoy writing and would much rather do math. This curriculum would also be useful for teaching English as a Second Language, and also for remedial learning for older students who need more practice with writing skills.

IEW has put so much together for the parent teacher.  The Teacher Seminar gives you the tools you need to confidently teach your students to write well, think and express themselves clearly. It helps parent teachers learn how to effectively teach their kids to:

  • Outline and summarize
  • Write paragraphs
  • Create stories
  • Write critiques and reports
  • Develop essays
  • Communicate their thoughts and ideas into writing
  • Change sentence structure
  • Use vocabulary in interesting ways

When we first received the materials, I put the binder notebooks together.  Then I viewed the lesson on the corresponding disk in the Teacher’s Seminar DVD’s before having my son watch it with me. Then we watched the lesson together, and followed the teacher notes and presented the lesson to my son.

The lessons are designed to do one a week, but some students will take two weeks to do a lesson. The teacher’s portion of teaching the lesson and use of the DVD takes about 1 hour at the start of the week.  Then he can work on the daily practice assignments the rest of the week. We did not need to watch the Student version of Structure and Style overview as it is basically the same as the teachers DVD.

After watching the Lesson on the DVD, we used the checklists to complete the lesson assignment.  The workbook has sample assignments and ideas to help,  and there are also student workshop videos to watch that can help give more ideas on implementing the lesson.   I found these to be very helpful.  In a nut shell so to speak, my son is learning how to create an outline from a paragraph using key words.  Then learning how to use his outline to write and add adverbs and verbs to make it more interesting.  He is learning to be more creative in writing stories.

Our first few weeks of lessons:

Teacher’s Notes: Lesson 1

“Sea Snakes”

Key Word Outline,

Composition Checklist

Key Word Sentence: 1 word

Key Word Sentence:  2-5 words

Key Word Sentence:  6 words

“Desert Tarantula”  Optional Resource

Repeat steps learned

“Pillbug” and Composition Checklist

Repeat steps learned

Teacher’s Notes: Lesson 2

“The Boy and the Nuts”

“The Cocks and the Eagle”

Once we complete the first lesson in the teacher’s seminar (or student set), we can move ahead and master the material in the next one.   Not all of the lessons use the disk system, some can be completed without it.  For example, Lesson 1 used the disk, but Lesson 2 did not.  You can easily keep track of what’s what as everything is layed out very nice and easy to follow.  I am saving the rest of the work to begin in the Fall at the start of our school year.

IEW

IEW Review

Before we start our next school year, I hope to get a couple of my boys set up with this curriculum too so they can work through it together.  You are allowed to make copies of the student workbook for use within the same family, so this will be really nice to have the boys working on this together and strengthen their writing skills.

There are some additional items available through IEW to help with this curriculum.  I hope to purchase the Portable Word Walls and A Word Write Now before our Fall school year begins too.   IEW also has a clearance section and you can find a lot of discontinued items there. Many of these are previous versions that have now been updated. For example, I found some Word Walls and Bible Based Writing Lessons workbook on clearance for 4th-12th grades. Kids learn to outline bible passages, diagram them, and write paragraphs retelling the story. There are also US History Writing Lessons too. How cool is that?

I can really see how this curriculum is going to help my kids learn how to write with excellence and help me learn how to better help them too.  I am thrilled to schedule this material for their daily writing curriculum for the coming school year.

I hope you will check it out IEW, and all of their various writing curriculum products and see if their curriculum would be a good fit for your family too.

IEW Writing Packages

 

Social Media

Be sure to follow IEW on social media for all the latest news and product updates.
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/excellenceinwriting
Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/iewriting
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Twitter https://twitter.com/iew
Youtube https://www.youtube.com/user/iewtv
Google+ https://plus.google.com/+Iewriting/
Blog http://iew.com/help-support/blog

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Be sure to check out what other homeschool families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about using IEW writing products with their families.

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Fix It Grammar Review

Grammar (the process of learning and using correct grammatical rules in language) is in my opinion, one of those subjects that can be either difficult to learn or fun to learn depending on the method being used to teach it. How do you motivate students to learn grammatical rules?

IEW

Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) is a company that specializes in teaching grammatical rules in fun and creative ways to students of all ages.   We reviewed IEW’s Fix It Grammar: The Nose Tree (Book 1) Teacher’s Manual and Fix It Grammar: The Nose Tree (Book 1) Student Workbook curriculum.

IEW

IEW has a large body of curriculum options to fit many different levels of learning. The grade / skill levels IEW curriculum options include:

Level Primary (Grades K–2)
Level A (Grades 3-5)
Level B (Grades 6-8)
Level C (Grades 9–12)
Special Needs
English Language Learners
College Students
Teacher Helps

There is no way I could tell you about all of the various creative curriculum options at IEW, so I encourage you to stop over to their website and take a look around.

FIX IT GRAMMAR

We were recently sent IEW’s Fix It Grammar curriculum for grades 3 through 12 to review.

FixItGrammar

Fix It Grammar teaches a grammar mastery method that includes six progressive levels of learning grammatical skills. Each level has its own spiral bound student workbook and spiral bound teaching manual. Each level builds upon the skills learned and practiced in the previous level.

It is recommended to spend 15 minutes a day and complete 1 lesson a week, for 33 weeks, to complete a year’s worth of lessons. The great thing about homeschooling is that it is a personal approach to education and you can work through lessons faster or slower depending on what you and your student needs.  You can take a free placement test to see what Fix It Grammar level your student should begin at.

NoseTree

We received Fix It Grammar:The Nose Tree (Book 1) Teacher Manual 229 pages spiral bound, retails $19.00; and also Fix It Grammar: The Nose Tree (Book 1) Student Manual 126 pages spiral bound, retails for $15.00.

Inside the student workbook, each lesson is progressive builds on the skills learned in the previous lesson. The student workbook is a complete year of grammar curriculum divided into 33 lessons, 132 vocabulary words, glossary of grammar, and flash cards. My son is working on one lesson per week.

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At the top of each page in the workbook it is labeled as week 1, week 2, week 3 and so on. Every two pages that face each other comprise a weeks worth of lessons. For each lesson, there is a Learn It section, and a Fix It section, Discuss It section, and Copy It section. In the Learn It section you learn a grammatical rule that you will put into practice during the week. There are corresponding punch out flashcards in the back of the book that contain each grammatical rule and your student is encouraged to use them to help remember what rules they have learned. In the Fix It section, there is reading of a few sentences, Vocabulary words to look up, and sentences that are to be fixed in the workbook. In the Copy It section your student will re-write the corrected sentences in their own notebook.

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I had my son work in his student workbook for 15 to 20 minutes a day. He could have easily done more work on this curriculum some days, because he actually liked learing with it and he was motivated to complete the writing exercises. This totally surprised me because the only time he likes to use written words seems to be when he is typing on the computer. He states “I don’t like learning grammar rules because they are a bottomless pit with no end. ENGLISH is nuts! Why do I have to learn this?” Now, he says “I like this, it isn’t hard to do, and makes sense. I like that I am accomplishing something instead of just random facts or rules.” I know he is not alone in feeling this way. I think it becomes more boring to learn grammatical rules as kids get a little older. I am not sure why, but I just bet that you could stroll through almost any American middle school, highschool, or college Language and Arts / English classroom, and most of those students in class are bored to tears or are struggling to write and re-write their essays! So this is very positive that he likes the Fix It Grammar curriculum. The fact that he is progressively learning to re-write a story and will have a correctly written masterpiece when he is through is the motivation. He hates to fail. He is excited just knowing if he follows the step by step activities, he can’t fail, but will succeed.

I recommend IEW curriculum products for homeschool families. The list of curriculum options available is wonderful and covers many creative fun ways to get your kids interested in writing and writing well. I have a big wish list of their products I hope to obtain in our homeschool. This is our second IEW curriculum product to use in our homeschool, and I believe it is a great addition to our homeschool learning curriculum.

MEDIA LINKS

Check out IEW media links for all the latest news and updates.

Webinar: http://iew.com/events-classes/webinars/intro-to-fix-it-grammar

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/excellenceinwriting

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iew

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/iewriting

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Iewriting/posts

Tube: https://www.youtube.com/user/iewtv

Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/iewtv

Click to read Crew Reviews

Be sure to check out what other homeschool families on the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about using Fix It Grammar in their home.

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