Tag Archives: reading curriculum

Readers in Residence Volume 1 Review

A fun way for kids to learn to become excellent readers is for them to become an expert reading detective and see the material presented with a biblical worldview. The Readers in Residence Series has 4 great courses to get kids excited learning how to be a reading detective.  We were recently sent the first volume in the series Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) by Apologia Educational Ministries .

Readers In Residence Volume 1 (Slueth)

2 Book Set

Student Worktext

Answer Key

4th Grade and UP

Retail $89

This is Volume 1 in a 4 volume series of Readers in Residence courses by Debra Bell and Published by Apologia.  Be sure to check the website for the latest updates in this series.  The four volumes in this series include: Vol 1~ Slueth, Vol 2~ Detective, Vol 3~ Investigator, and Vol 4~ Analyst.  Readers in Residence assumes every reader is a detective.  It focuses on reading comprehension and vocabulary using various literature genres to help students become excellent readers who understand the big picture about the story, the intentions of the author, and real life applications of the story’s message.  Each volume can be used as a stand alone course.

This course is intended to be done by one student, or used in a group setting (such as a book club) with each student having their own worktext. In this course, kids read 6 chapter reader books while using their worktext to answer specific questions to reach their goal of becoming a reading detective.

The course is divided into 6 Units and contains 14 Modules.  It is intended to be worked on 4 days a week and completed in 32 weeks.  However, the course is flexible and you can go as fast or as slow as you want.

Goals of this course include:

  1. AUTHOR’S DESIGN: understand the author’s craft, choices, and intentions
  2. ELEMENTS: recognize the literary elements authors use to create fiction and nonfiction
  3. INFERENCES: make inferences from the details in the text plus their own prior knowledge and experience
  4. NEW WORDS: decode the meaning of unfamiliar words from context clues build a rich and varied vocabulary
  5. FIGURES OF SPEECH: identify and understand figures of speech such as personification, metaphor, and hyperbole
  6. OBSERVATIONS: notice how expert writers employ the conventions of the English language (punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and usage) to achieve clarity

Kids learn about several kinds of literary genres and then settle in to research three specific fiction genres using six chapter books.  They will specifically research three kinds of fiction: Historical Fiction, Animal Fantasy, and Realistic Fiction.  Through out this process, kids will learn about characters, themes, comparison and contrast, plot development, figures of speech, story turning point, settings and set design, and more.

Chapter Book Readers

The suggested chapter books are available at your local library or can be purchased online.  You may already have these books on your book shelves. Three of the books are suggested for you, and three books are of your own choice.

  1. Sarah Plain and Tall (historical fiction)
  2. Your choice (historical fiction)
  3. Charlottes Webb (animal fantacy)
  4. Your choice (animal fantasy)
  5. Because of Windixie (realistic fiction)
  6.  Your choice (fiction of choice)

Student Worktext

This worktext is huge!  My son was excited to get such a big colorful workbook.  It has 562 pages and from cover to cover it is very well done.  It is a text and a workbook “all in one”.

It has large easy to read print on colorfully illustrated pages.  These bright colors and easy text kept my son interested in the material.  There are a lot of comparison type charts and other visual aids built into the lessons and it really makes learning the material easy to understand.

The worktext is spiral bound and the pages are thick and sturdy so it was easy for him to flip the pages and not worry about tearing them.  The book is soft cover so it isn’t has heavy as you might think a large book of this size would be.  It has a nice feel in your hands.  It is very well made.

He likes to take his schoolwork outside on the porch.  It was nice to know this sturdy book would hold up to him using it outside or inside where ever it best fit his needs.  Our other books are not near as sturdy.

I really like how the questions are layed out.  They have explanations and room to fill in the blank after you “hunt” as a detective for the answers.   He found the worktext very easy to follow and the questions were worded in a way he could find the answers in his chapter books quickly.

Answer Key

The Answer Key is a soft cover book of 232 pages.  This is a very easy to use resource for parents to check the progress students are making in their worktext.

The Answer Key contains the lessons questions written in black, and the answers to the questions written in green colored ink.  

In the back of the Answer Key book is a suggested daily schedule that matches the one in the student worktext.  There is also a Grading Rubix called a “Checklist Point System” for each Module.  Points for grades are earned based on the percentage of tasks completed in a Module instead of right and wrong answers.  A student can earn a top score of “6” for “exemplary in quality and effort” down to a “1” for “incomplete” for each task.

A Few Of My Favorite Things:

Some of my favorite things about this course are:

  1. Sowing Seeds: There are scriptures to study in the Sowing Seeds section at the end of each Module to help kids understand the material from a biblical world view.
  2. Independence: It is easy for the student to follow independently and easy for the parent to check on their progress.
  3. Graphs and Illustrations: The comparison graphs and visual aids and colorful pages that engage the student.
  4. Hands On Projects: There are also projects suggested throughout the course that give it almost a hands on Unit Study feel at times.
  5. Study Skills: The reading and comprehension skills learned in this course will be useful for all courses taken throughout all grades especially in highschool and college and it teach good study habits.

I would recommend this course to all homeschool families and homeschool book clubs and coops.  I found this course to be a very useful method of helping kids learn good study skills they will need throughout life.  Debra Bell has put together a great method and beneficial worktext for teaching kids to understand what they are reading.

Social Media

Be sure to check out Apologia’s social media links for all of the latest updates and news.

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/apologiaworld
Instagram:  www.instagram.com/apologiaworld
Twitter: www.twitter.com/apologiaworld
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/apologia/

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using these products in their homes.

 

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A Better Strategy With Reading Kingdom Review

Our school year is going strong, and my kids have been using Reading Kingdom Online curriculum from Reading Kingdom and it is a fantastic learning program.

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Are you looking for a Reading curriculum for you kids?  You might say “yes,  we need to work on reading skills”  but you might also say “no, my kids can read fine”.  But when you stop and think about it, are your kids strong readers?  Could they improve?   The Department of Education reports that only 1 out of 3 kids today achieve reading proficiency.  What is a parent to do?

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Reading Kingdom has a better strategy than what has traditionally been offered to help kids rise above and reach reading proficiency. Reading Kingdom Online uses fun reading games, story books, and an award winning patented reading strategy to boost each child’s skills and confidence in reading, writing, and comprehension.  When kids finish the program, they will have mastered above a third grade reading level.

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Reading Kingdom Online

Ages 4-10

Cost $19.99 month, and $9.99 for each additional child.

Can also be used for :

ESL and Remedial Learning and Review for older students.

Reading Kingdom Online uses Dr. Marion Blank’s patented 6-SIM strategy called the  “Six Skill Integrated Method”.   You can read more about this strategy in her book titled the Reading Remedy.   This method is foundational for learning  and mastering reading proficiency.  The skills learned will overflow into every other academic area too.   This method brings reading, writing, and comprehension together in an integrated and fun way for kids.

The full program is divided into these key areas:

Keyboard and Mouse Training
Sequencing Survey 1
Sequencing 2
5 Levels with 4 to 6 sessions each.

Why does it work?  Because this method is based on learning the meanings of words and and the pattern sequencing of letters and sounds that create meaning.  This is superior to other methods of learning to read.  Most programs only use a phonics program.  But phonics are a deceptive way to learn English because there are 100’s of combinations to remember.

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The 6 Skill Integrated Method (6 SIM) covers six areas of learning: Sequencing, Writing, Sounds (Phonics), Meaning, Grammar, and Comprehension.   This online program cooresponds to a printed program with teachers manuals, workbooks, and level reader books.  You do not have to buy the printed program, but if you want to, it is available.  I hope to purchase some of the workbooks and readers in the future.  I would like for the kids to have practice writing what they are learning, and not just typing only.  I can see the value in having both.  But for now, the kids can do the reading online and that is perfectly fine too.

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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.

What skills will your kids master on the road to becoming proficient readers?

Here is a partial list of skills mastered that correspond with Elementary grades:

Preschool (skills: left and right, sequencing, letters, upper and lower case, keyboarding skills for writing, etc.)

Kindergarten (skills: common words and meanings, punctuation, upper and lower case, auditory processing, sound descrimination: speaking and listening skills, keyboard skills, etc)

First Grade (skills: sequencing, motor skills, phonics, grammar, reading comprehension, blending, decoding, sentences, punctuation, and more)

Second Grade (skills: vocabulary, sight words, reading, spelling, decoding, writing complex sentences, summarizing, and more)

Third Grade (skills: reading, comprehension, writing, spelling, language expansion, increase their abilities to read and understand more complicated texts, academics, and literature, etc. )

Struggling Readers (useful in helping build skills for: struggling readers, learning disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and English As A Second Language (ESL) more).

The entire program starting at the lowest level and working your way through to completing the highest level takes about 12 to 18 months to complete.    A child who already has acquired some reading skills maybe able to complete the program in 6 months.  A child who is a struggling reader due to learning disabilities may take longer than average to complete.  The program is flexible and adapts to the skills of each child.

Skill Levels

Reading Kingdom offers 5 different learning levels.   Each level is adaptable for the skill levels of your kids, so it customizes itself per the child’s needs.  Each level builds upon the skills learned in the previous level and gets your kids ready for the next level so it all flows 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.

Each level is filled with several sessions.  It is expected that kids will work on the program for at least 4 sessions per week.  In each session takes about 20 minutes.  A child learns 1 new word or reads 1 new book during each session.

Each level takes between 10 weeks to 15 weeks (10-15 weeks according the the FAQ Pdf, but the website also lists it can be done in 6-10 weeks) to complete if your child completes 4 or 5 sessions a week and depending on how quickly they progress.

A Quick Glimpse Of The Desktop For Different Levels:

Here are some desktop views from the different levels.  The first picture under each level shows the number of words and books learned in that level.   The second set of pictures in each level shows screen shots of various learning games with blending, sequencing,  and online story books.

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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How We Used Reading Kingdom In Our Home

I am a mom of 6 kids,  and they all have different learning styles and different skill levels. Each child learns a little differently from their siblings and I am so grateful for homeschooling because it gives us the freedom to pursue what works best for each child.

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We are using Reading Kingdom Online with our 6 year old son and 8 year old daughter.  We began by taking a skills test to learn the exact skills they already knew, and what skills they have yet to learn.  They took a letter sequencing test and a keyboard typing test.  This helped customize the program to their exact level.

Sequencing Test

Sequencing Test

Typing & Keyboard Test

Typing & Keyboard Test

Reading Kingdom Online is an adaptable reading program.  It responds to the child’s skill level and their ongoing progress.  It allows kids to skip over practicing words they already know.   It also recognizes what they don’t know and provides extra support and training in those areas.

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The dash board shows their progress.  This is a very nice feature.   Also I can go in to an advanced step on the dashboard and  set it to redo the test or a level if needed,  and change the speed for responses or leave it at the default speed.   So far they are doing great and I don’t see a need to make any changes.

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Since some of my kids find it easy to learn to read, and some find reading more challenging, it is a blessing to have a curriculum that can adapt to both of their learning styles.

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I like the parent dashboard because it gives me a basic summary of how each child is progressing.  I also get a weekly summary emailed to me alerting me of progress and any concerns.

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Dr. Blank

Dr. Marion Blank

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

The online modality of delivery of the Learning Kingdom system software was put together by Dr. Marion Blank’s son, Jonathan Blank.   He is a top software designer in his field and has many other digital software accomplishments. He has designed programs for top name brands like Google, Adobe, Sony and more.

Dr. Blank and her son and have made this an exceptional educational software program.  They made a great team and produced an amazing product for kids, parents, and teachers.  This online learning program has come together in a beautiful way.  Their collaboration together on this project using her strategy and expertise in teaching, and his expertise in digital software is combined and packaged into a fun online delivery system (computerized learning) for kids.  I would encourage every family to give this system a try with their kids and beat those national average statistics and come out a winner who has mastered reading proficiency.

Social Media

Be sure to follow Reading Kingdom of their social media sites for all the latest news and updates.

Blog  http://www.readingkingdom.com/blog/

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

Twitter   https://twitter.com/readingkingdom

Pinterest   https://www.pinterest.com/readingkingdom/

Reading Kingdom Review

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