Embracing a Healthy Family: phonics
Showing posts with label phonics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label phonics. Show all posts

Reading Kingdom Review

Reading Kingdom

We have been reviewing Reading Kingdom, an easy-to-use online program for ages 4 to 10, for a little while now and to date, my student has enjoyed it. Starting out with a placement test, it ensured she was starting at the right level to eliminate possible redundancy in what she already knew or being over her head. The home page allows access to as many students as you have registered with a good summary of when it was last used, days per week, current level, percent done and performance rating. From that same home screen, one can adjust settings, see reports, review billing information, find out how to earn free months and access to help. I liked the site's login access being the e-mail and password you signed up with versus having to create separate user accounts. The customized interface is also nice allowing for a physical keyboard or an online keyboard and the ability to change program speed and response time. That is a huge plus for my student as we have experienced other programs that require her to work at a pace faster than she's able to. 

Other key features of the program that makes Reading Kingdom a good program for teaching reading are:
  • Versatile as students at an early reader stage will learn as well as those that are accelerated readers and even struggling readers.
  • It is not a phonics based program which is extremely appealing to me. Reading Kingdom explains why their program works and why the phonics based way is flawed which I completely agree with.
  • Ability to redo lessons or to skip lessons.
  • A summary icon menu next to each level showing status.
  • Fun animated screens encourages the student to continue to see more and rewards for progressing.
  • Constant interaction reinforcing each word being taught between clicking answers to typing answers.
  • As the student progresses, the software keeps up with their needs and customizes to their particular reading needs.
  • After she became accustomed to the program, she was able to progress without as much supervision and assistance helping her to feel more independent.
  • In addition to the online reports, Reading Kingdom e-mails progress reports on a regular basis.
  • On screen incentives to open next level passports.
  • e-mail support is available along with a resource center that includes tutorials, FAQs and videos. 
  • To complete all components, it should take around 12-15 months thus providing a full year plus curriculum.
  • Social media access to further knowledge from Reading Kingdom from their blog to Facebook to Twitter.

Reading Kingdom

Reading Kingdom is one of the first programs that allowed my student to be able to use it on her own without requiring direct assistance all the time. She was able to pick up where she left off and completed her lessons on her own. She also liked the program and the cute animations which is something not heard often from her! It was easy to use and fun for her which allows me to definitely give it a thumb's up. Providing only one new vocabulary word per level also helped give her time to learn the word without feeling rushed and by utilizing the words in the next levels, it reinforced what she already had learned. I wished I had had access to Reading Kingdom for my oldest student who would have benefited specially from the customized settings.

ASD Reading is another program available for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for ages 4 through 10. There is a 30 day trial period.

Check out what others on the Crew thought about each program:

Learn to Read with Reading Kingdom OR ASD Reading {Reviews}

Starfall Education Foundation's The Starfall Home Membership Review



I'm always looking for fun and educational learning  games for both my younger child and my grandchildren so I was very happy to have an opportunity to review The Starfall Home Membership from Starfall Education Foundation. It is a flexible online program that offers free and fee-based curriculum either on a desktop or mobile via Apple, Google Play or Amazon Apps. There is also a store to purchase various products such as children's books, instructional cards and more. For some parents and educators, it's important to stay linked up with the States Standards Initiative and align with Common Core which Starfall does. It's a comprehensive program for the experienced home educator, teacher or the parent who wishes to provide their young one with further educational opportunities. 

In the Complete Guide to Using Starfall, you will have everything you need in one place to understand how to move forward with your child(ren). What I liked first upon setting up my child and grandchildren to begin the program was the Guide.  It provides key skills appropriate for each grade level and how the skills align along with mobile app activities.  There are supplemental products as well as parent and teacher resources. I suggest the first step in starting to begin your plan for teaching is to review the many guides that pertain to your needs:

  • Guide to Pre-K
  • Guide to Kindergarten ELA
  • Guide to Kindergarten Math
  • Guide to First Grade Reading
  • Guide to First Grade Math
  • Guide to Second Grade Reading
  • Guide to Second Grade Math
  • Guide to Starfall Book Levels

Membership Perks Only $35 Annually

There are many free activities but once you purchase the $35 yearly membership, you will have complete access to all the activities, expanded math and reading content covering grades Kindergarten through second grade and additional songs and rhymes.

Review of Guide and Second Grade Math:

Each PDF downloadable is full of information to kick start your child's education in that subject matter. For this part of the review, I'm going to cover Second Grade Math which I'm using as a refresher for my youngest child.  The Guides are short and concise and outlines major areas and for Second Grade Math, it covers:  

  1. Understanding place values
  2. Using place values to add and subtract
  3. Adding and subtracting within 20
  4. Foundations for multiplication
  5. Beginning Multiplication

The actual program is very easy for younger children to use with click and drag features, colorful animations and pictures, playful music and clear audio to easily understand.  There is repetition in the activities to ensure a student is understanding and remembering the task. It was a good refresher for her.

Review of Guide and First Grade:

My granddaughter has been utilizing the online activities and the printables for Kindergarten. To date, I have not ordered any of the resources available on the online store so I cannot comment on the quality of those but knowing there are more resources available is good. Both her and her three year old brother take turns playing with the games and the various activities provided. She has utilized the online games, activities and the worksheets.

She really enjoys the worksheets and has already learned a lot from our time using The Starfall Home Membership. Backpack Bear's Books was also a wonderful activity as the words are spoken in a slow enough manner for children to understand and with easy click and drag features, it's a great way to teach words.

Of course everything that big sister does, little brother has to try too! They had a lot of fun playing the games and even though he didn't understand the activities clearly, I truly felt he benefited from it. We worked on this into the night so when I told them it was time to stop, they were disappointed. This is something you want to hear when you are trying to teach your children!

For the math, we started with Beginning Multiplication and moved into Understand Place Value and she really liked it! I heard her say it was fun and she smiled and was very happy that she was doing so well with using the program. She had been using the free resources for a couple of months prior to this review so she was already familiar with how to maneuver and get around each screen.  She often played it on her own via her tablet. It's very user friend and intuitive.

Talking Library Review:

I am a huge fan of libraries and being that we reside in an area where winter is very cold, the library isn't always feasible. The Starfall Talking Library is one of the best features I liked about The Starfall Home Membership and here is why:

  • Contains a wide selection of both non-fiction and fiction with poetry.
  • The opening page is easy to maneuver even for small children and has a selection of favorite books by other members.
  • The children can adjust the sound volume on the screen and can choose to pause the audible. An easy to see finger prompt shows the children to press the button to go to the next page.
  • Words are highlighted as the reader continues with each sentence for easy to follow along.
  • Sound effects provide a great way to capture the children's attention as the book comes to life.

Other Activities/Levels of Starfall 

We focused on Second Grade Math and Kindergarten for this part of the review.  It's great to know that my granddaughter will have the resources available for First Grade next year. As with the Kindergarten curriculum, there are many areas of concentration to include:

  • First Grade Math
    • Operations & Algebraic Thinking
    • Base Ten Number & Operations
    • Measurement & Geometry
  • First Grade English
    • Literature & Informational Text
    • Phonics

All of the different activities are engaging and fun for little minds. They are intuitive and makes learning fun versus boring and redundant.

Other Benefits of Starfall 

  • Starfall also has free and low-cost mobile apps via Apple iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Apps.
  • Products such as children's books, instructional cards and more are available for purchase at the Starfall Store.
  • Supplemental Parent and Teacher Resources in the Parent-Teacher Center.

To stay up to date and find out the latest, stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Overall, my family really liked The Starfall Home Membership from Starfall Education Foundation. It's a flexible program to be used on a desktop or on a device. It's fun, eye catching and full of many activities that will not only educate but provide hours and hours of fun. It's well worth the subscription cost to have a comprehensive math and English program, and for those that want a common core aligned program, it has all that you would want.

The Starfall Home Membership {Starfall Education Foundation Reviews}
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