FAQs: Getting started

FAQs: Getting started

Who is the program for?

The Reading Kingdom is aimed at children 4-10 years of age in the general school population, or those who will be going to the general school population. The program is designed primarily for three groups:

  • young children who are 4 years of age and up whose parents or teachers want them to get into reading in a smooth, problem-free way and have a leg up in school. If a child has been attending preschool, or kindergarten, then the program is likely to suit him or her well.
  • children in the early primary grades of school whose parents or teachers want them to attain the highest possible level of skill in reading, writing, and comprehension so that they shine in all aspects of literacy.
  • children in the primary grades who are, often inexplicably, experiencing difficulty in learning to read.

At what age can I start the program with my child?

We recommend starting the program when a child is 4 to 5 years old. If you do, smooth patterns of reading are established at the outset and school performance is greatly improved. However, if a child is already in the primary grades and is experiencing difficulty in learning to read, you can begin using this program at any time. The basic requirement is that a child should, without strain, be able to work on activities for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

Until what age can the system be used?

The Reading Kingdom can be used with children of any age who need the skills it provides. However, it is best if the programs are used up through about 10 years of age.

Where does a child start in the program?

The Reading Kingdom is designed to start a child off at exactly the right level based on his or her skill level. As a rule, children who have no reading skills, or very limited reading skills, start with the first set of components which teaches visual sequencing and basic computer keyboard and mouse skills. Following this, there are five reading/writing levels . Depending on the proficiency that a child already has, the program will place them in the appropriate component.

How long does it take for a child to complete the Reading Kingdom program?

Because the Reading Kingdom is customized to each child's abilities, the length of time a child will need to complete the program varies depending on his or her skills. To complete the entire set of components takes about 12-15 months, assuming a child starts at the first level and completes four to five sessions a week. Many children, who already have some reading skills, can often complete the program in as few as three to six months. For more information read this .

What level of reading will a child achieve?

Upon completion of the final program, a child will be reading at about third grade level. More importantly, he or she will have a broad set of skills that will improve learning in all other areas. Among these are the ability to read with total accuracy, to attain fluent decoding, to develop accurate writing, to use punctuation and to achieve full understanding. These skills not only supply reading mastery, but of equal importance, they supply the sense of confidence that effective reading requires

Can the Reading Kingdom program be individualized?

One of the great features of the Reading Kingdom is that it is "kid-customized." Each child is only taught exactly what they need and are ready for, so a child never gets bored learning something they already know or frustrated with material that is too complicated for them.

How do I know if a child is making progress?

You will notice obvious progress almost immediately. You will see a child easily completing and remembering many reading and writing tasks. As confidence grows, he or she will also begin to read signs and other new material. There is also a parent/teacher report that is always available when you log into the program that shows you exactly how a child is doing in the Reading Kingdom.

How does the Reading Kingdom fit with the program a child is using in school?

The Reading Kingdom works extremely well with any other program a child may be using. As a child masters the system underlying effective reading and writing, all their learning skills improve, and so classroom performance and grades are naturally improved as well.

I am worried about my child's progress in learning to read, but my child's teacher tells me not to be concerned. Should I be?

While the common, well-intended advice is to be patient when your child is having reading difficulties, we do not think you should wait if your child has problems with the single most important skill he or she needs for learning in life. Even if your child's skills were to even out in a couple of years, during that lag, your child is steadily comparing himself or herself to peers and is coming up short. The damage to morale and self-esteem cannot be overestimated. Why not offer your child every opportunity for success? There is no advantage in waiting for things to clear up and every advantage in helping your child succeed right now.

It's wonderful that a child does not have to memorize all those sounding out rules. But without those rules, how is he or she going to be able to figure out new words?

In English words, letters take on very different sounds depending on the letters that surround them. Consider the "s," sound, for example, in sun and sand versus sure and sugar. If you want to "explain" these differences, you have to offer a child almost 600 rules just to get to third grade reading. And still, the rules are filled with exceptions. Even the "at" combination -- a bedrock in early reading instruction -- changes its sound in the majority of words in which it appears (as you can see in words such as ate, watch, great, beat, attack, etc.). The variations in sounds do not trouble good readers because, from early on, their focus is not on individual letters, but rather on the patterns formed by letter combinations. That is why, even though they may have been taught that "ph" sounds like "f" they do not for a moment think that a word like "uphill" should be pronounced "ufill." All the activities in The Reading Kingdom have been designed to lead a child to see key letter patterns. With that skill fostered in each session, figuring out new words becomes easy and appealing.

Who designed the Reading Kingdom?

The Reading Kingdom was designed by Dr. Marion Blank, Director of the Light on Literacy program at Columbia University and one of the world's leading experts on reading education. You can read more about her here.

How do I learn more about how the Reading Kingdom program works?

You can start with the information provided on this website such as this program overview.

How is this program different from other reading programs?

The Reading Kingdom uses new teaching methods pioneered by renowned literacy expert, Dr. Marion Blank. These methods do not rely on standard phonics techniques which have yielded a national 40% reading failure rate. For better or worse, the vast majority of words in English cannot be sounded out. To adapt phonics to this reality, it uses almost 600 rules which are almost impossible to memorize and riddled with exceptions. The Reading Kingdom, on the other hand, has no complicated rules and empowers children to learn using simple and easy to follow techniques that leverage the tremendous skills they have mastered in learning spoken language. In addition, the Reading Kingdom is the only program that customizes itself to a child. In this way children do not become bored learning something they already know or frustrated by material that is too advanced for them.