Reading Kingdom Review

The past several weeks, Rebekah and Eli have been able to improve their reading skills by using one of Reading Kingdom‘s online reading programs called  Reading Kingdom Online.  Other members of the Crew were also able to try out the newer program ASD Reading which is specifically developed for those children with autism.

Reading Kingdom Review

Reading Kingdom is an online, subscription based program which teaches children how to read to a third grade reading level.  It is based on the teaching method designed by Dr. Marion Blank called the “Six Skill Integrated Method.”  The Reading Kingdom program was designed by her son (who is also the CEO) Jonathan Blank.  The “Six Skill Integrated Method” focuses on teaching:

  1. Sequencing
  2. Writing
  3. Sounds
  4. Meaning
  5. Grammar
  6. Comprehension


Initially the student learns the importance of proper sequencing.  They learn the difference between words such as own, won, and now; where the same letters are used but they make up very different words.  The child is taught to recognize the words from left to right and to recognize subtle differences between words.


In order for the student to be able to effectively “write” the word with an online program, they need to have a basic understanding of the layout of the keyboard.  Letter Land is the way in which the student becomes more familiar with the placement of the keyboard.  Both Eli and Rebekah really enjoyed this aspect of Reading Kingdom.  They also focus on writing in Reading Kingdom because it is 5x more effective in teaching a word than by seeing it alone.


Reading Kingdom uses orthographic phonemics (which is seeing sound patterns) and bit blends to teach the sounds of different letters and letter blends.  With bit blends the student learns to make different sounds from groups of letters.


Reading Kingdom is unlike many programs in that instead of using words that sound the same in each lesson they use words that have similar meaning.  The thought behind this is that in real life reading, words in a book are not organized by similar sounds instead they are organized to provide a meaning.


By learning the 100 common non-content words (such as; and, they, is, the, but, what) students can recognize and read about 60% of any written text.  These same words also help us to identify nouns, verbs, singular, and plural.  By understanding these words and their relationship to other words, the student is further able to decode the meaning of the text.


The goal of Reading Kingdom is to teach each word that will be used in a book that the student will read before the book is introduced to him/her.  This enables the student to understand each word and be able to identify the main idea of the story.  This gives the child the ability to read each word that is presented within the book.

Dr. Blank also created the “Comprehension Modeling Method” in which the student is taught how to summarize the main idea of the text.  Initially the student fills in the missing word(s) in a summary and by the end of the program the student is able to write his/her own summary.

How Did We Use Reading Kingdom Online?Reading Kingdom Review

When we started Reading Kingdom Online, both kids completed the placement tests so that the program could determine where to place them.  They were both placed in the Letter Land and Sequencing portion so they could gain a better knowledge of letter placement on the keyboard.

Both Eli and Rebekah have been completing three-four lessons of Reading Kingdom Online  per week.  Each lesson takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.  After completing a lesson, they also have the option to do another lesson, practice reading or exit the program.  I often encourage them to go ahead and do some extra practice.   They have both completed the Letter Land and Sequencing Portion of the program and are now working through Reading/Writing Level 1.

What Do We Think of Reading Kingdom?

At first, I wasn’t sure that Eli and Rebekah were progressing very fast.  As I learned more about the theory behind Reading Kingdom, I realized they were learning two important aspects, Sequencing and Writing.  This has proved to be very beneficial to them because now when they are asked to write a word they can quickly find the correct letters on the keyboard.

Now that they are in the Reading/Writing Level 1, they are learning many new words.  They not only learn to  recognize and read the words, they also learn how to spell them.  The consistent practice is paying off as they are able to recognize the new words quickly.

The kids have both really enjoyed Reading Kingdom Online.  They find the games to be pleasant and fun.  I like that I can see them learning and utilizing new skills associated with becoming more proficient readers.  I plan to continue using Reading Kingdom with both of them over the coming months.

Wondering if Reading Kingdom is right for you and your children? Reading Kingdom  has several videos that you can watch to learn more about the program.  I found this video to be very helpful.

You can see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew have to say about Reading Kingdom Online and ASD Reading by clicking the banner below.

Reading Kingdom Review

You can connect with Reading Kingdom on Social Media:





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Our First Year on The Schoolhouse Review Crew

As our first year of being a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew begins to wind down, I thought I would share the top 4 reasons that I have LOVED being on the 2015 Crew:

  1. It has been such a blessing trying out so many different types of curriculum, games, movies and other review items.
  2. We’ve been blessed to be introduced to great curriculum that worked well for our family that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to try out.
  3. I have received so much encouragement for our home, family and homeschool from the other members of the Crew through the online forum
  4. Being a part of the Crew has helped me to stay motivated and focused on growing my blog.

crewHave you ever considered being a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew?  They will be taking applications for 2016 soon.  You can learn more about  the Crew through the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.

It has been such an honor to be a part of this group!



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Middlebury Interactive Languages: German ~ Review

Do you have a child who is interested in learning a foreign language?  Do they need a foreign language credit? If so, then you will definitely want to check out Middlebury Interactive Languages.  Brock has been wanting to learn German for quite sometime and I know nothing about German.  (I took Spanish in high school, so I’m no help!)  He was so excited to see that one of the offeringsfrom Middlebury Interactive Languages was Middle School German I!  We received access to the Middle School German I course for 6 months for review purposes.

Middlebury Interactive Languages use an immersion style, online program to teach foreign languages to children in grades K-12.  The courses are self-paced, using text, audio, video and images to help teach the student.  For the middle school course, the semester is broken into 90 lessons.  They recommend that you complete 4-5 lessons per week for middle school.

The diagram below gives an overview of Semester 1.  As you can see, the student learns various greetings, alphabet, food, family etc.

 germanEach lesson features a speaking lab in which the student records their answers; so a headset with microphone or similar technology is necessary to complete the course.  Throughout the lessons, there are quizzes and tests built in that test the student’s knowledge up to that point.  These scores are recorded in the Student’s Gradebook.  There is also a calendar that can be customized to match your schedule so that the student knows what he or she should be working on.  The website is very easy for Brock to navigate, which I appreciate!

What Do We Think of Middlebury Interactive Middle School German?

Although Brock has been progressing through the Middle School German course slowly, he absolutely LOVES it!  He enjoys being able to tell me the new words/phrases that he is learning.  This is his first experience learning a foreign language and it has been a positive one!  He has found Middle School German to be both challenging and rewarding.  He has also been trying to teach his younger siblings his newfound knowledge.

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

Would I recommend Middlebury Interactive Languages?

Yes! I would absolutely recommend Middlebury Interactive Languages as a fantastic way to teach foreign language in your home or homeschool.  They offer a variety of languages including: Chinese, French, German , and Spanish with various grade levels including: elementary, middle school, high school and AP.

Not only does Middlebury Interactive teach the student the foreign language but they also teach the culture of the people that speak that language.  This makes the learning experience so much more valuable in the real world setting.

You can connect with Middlebury Interactive on the following Social Media links:

Other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed other levels and languages of Middlebury Interactive.  You can check out their reviews by clicking on the banner below.

 Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

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USAopoly Review

Are you ready for a new game or games for your family fun night?  As I have mentioned before, the kids and I love to play games!  For this review, we jumped up and down at the chance to receive two very fun games, Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game and Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone, from USAopoly.

 USAopoly Review

USAopoly is a leading manufacturer of board games and puzzles.  Their company values include: bringing a smile, playing fair, doing it right, honoring your word and giving it your best.  According to the company they “strive to represent [these values] in our products.”  I can assure you that these two games have brought many smiles to the faces in our house!


Tapple fun


Tapple is a fast-paced game designed for 2 or more players ages 8 and above.  (However, it is possible for some children younger than 8 to play.)

The goal of Tapple is to think of a word that fits the current category card and “tap” the first letter of that word within 10 seconds.  Some examples of Tapple categories include:

  • Utensils & Appliances
  • Bugs & Insects
  • Cheeses
  • Historical Figures
  • Flowers
  • Hobbies
  • Villains and many, many more.

If the time runs out before you tap a letter you are out for the rest of that round.  The winner is the first person to collect three category cards.  Tapple requires two AA batteries for the timer.  It is very easy to transport since the cards are stored in the bottom of the game.

The kids rave that Tapple is AWESOME!  I love watching them concentrate so hard to think of a word and then once they tap the letter a big smile crosses their faces.



Wonky is for 2 or more players and is recommended for those 8 and up; however even Quinton, age 4, has picked up on it and absolutely loves it!!  Each player receives 7 cards initially.  These cards have various actions such as stacking a certain color or size block, reversing the direction of play, passing a turn to the next player etc.  The winner is the person who uses all the cards in his/her hand or is able to stack the 9th block on the tower.

Although this sounds easy enough, watch out for those blocks, they are “Wonky!”  Some of the sides of the blocks are straight but others are cut at an angle or a curve.  This makes stacking them very tricky.   Then to add to the difficulty, the blocks don’t always get stacked smallest to largest.  You end up with a fun, challenging game that our family has LOVED!

What Did We Think About Tapple and Wonky?

The kids and I have really, really had fun playing both games from USAopoly!!  It looks like Tapple and Wonky will be favorite family fun night games for a long time.  Both games would make excellent gifts for your family.


 Connect with USAopoly onSocial Media:


To read what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about Tapple and Wonky, click on the banner below.

 USAopoly Review



*I would really appreciate it if you would take the time to sign up to receive an email for each post so you don’t miss anything. You can find the “Subscribe to Blog via Email” button at the top of the blog and enter your email. Thank you!

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The Day Life Looked Very Different (Part 2)

Continued from The Day Life Looked Very Different (Part 1)

Let me tell you, that van could not have gone any faster!  When we arrived at the hospital we hurried in the emergency room doors.  When said why we were there the guy at the desk said, “I never heard a helicopter land.”  Okay rule two, don’t tell a distraught woman whose child should have landed over an hour earlier that you didn’t hear the helicopter. He did however hurry us through the corridors to the PICU.  When we came through those doors we instantly saw Quinton.  The door to his room was open.  He was so pale laying on that bed.  He was hooked up to numerous wires, monitors, and I.V.’s, but he was alive.  I didn’t know what the future held but I was praising God that he was still alive.

The first friends arrived soon and were able to sit with the kids while we met with the PICU Doctor.  He told us that Quinton had been without sufficient oxygen long enough that his brain had swelled.  Only time would tell how he would be.  There was a possibility that he would remain in a vegetative state.

Soon another friend arrived and we agreed that she would take the four older kids.  The kids were willing to go as they were going to be staying with close friends (at the time they had 6 kids, talk about a full house!) until my mom could get there to get them.

Thankfully at the time Quinton was still nursing, this would turn out to be so crucial in the days to come.

Thursday they began to reduce the medicine that Quinton was on so that he could begin to come out of the medically induced coma.  The nurses and doctor were cautious while doing this to see how his little body would respond.  As he woke up, he was not at all happy about all the wires and tubes attached to his body.  He did not understand that they were for his good; he just wanted them away from him.

I asked the nurse on duty if I could let him nurse.  She was not very optimistic, saying that the doctor normally didn’t allow the kids to eat when they just woke up.  However, she did go ask.  I was so relieved when she returned saying that he could nurse.  Nursing seemed to be the only thing that would comfort him over the next few days.  I believe that him being able to nurse also helped his little body to heal.

Quinton was put through a battery of tests trying to determine the cause of his seizure.  They checked for accidental poisoning, heart issues, brain abnormalities etc. and finally decided that he had suffered from an atypical febrile seizure.  They called it atypical because of the length that he seized.  Scott and I had no idea at the time that a normal seizure would be just a few seconds to a few minutes in length.  Quinton’s had lasted for at least 30 minutes!  During the seizure, Quinton had also aspirated stomach contents which not only caused the awful raspy breathing during the seizure but led to pneumonia.  He was on breathing treatments for the next four days.  (I still wonder if he had his sister’s stomach bug and vomited while he was sleeping and aspirated that first, leading to a lack of oxygen that could cause a seizure.  We will never know for sure one way or the other.)

Finally on Sunday he was released from the hospital.  The boy that had been so cute as he ran after his older siblings on Wednesday morning could no longer stand or walk.  His balance was completely off.

Over the next few weeks we watched a miracle unfold as he regained his ability to stand, walk and then even run.  We are so thankful that God healed his little body!

I used to pray for those involved when I would see an ambulance or medical helicopter.  I still pray for those families involved however I now thank God for His faithfulness when we were that family.

Today Quinton is a busy, ornery four year old.  Of course, he doesn’t remember anything about those days in May, but the rest of us do.  He now knows that he flew in a helicopter and that he had a seizure and has started to ask lots of questions about what happened.

On the left:  Quinton on the way home from the hospital.   On the right: Quinton showing off a chicken egg three years after his seizure.

On the left: Quinton on the way home from the hospital.
On the right: Quinton showing off a chicken egg three years after his seizure.

I pray that you too will feel the hand of God as he holds you close during those days in your life that “look very different” than what you have pictured.






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