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Reading skills can be difficult to improve, especially when attempting to do so with a child with special needs. My son is 10 and has Autism, so his reading skills are not quite on par with his peers. In fact, they are severely lacking when compared to those of other kids his age. Thankfully we homeschool and can work on them as we need to.
Over the course of the last few years, we have tried a number of things to help him gain some understanding of words, and how they work together to make sentences and stories. He attends speech therapy twice a week, and he works on these skills there as well. He is making progress, but I wanted to find something that really worked for him, based solely on his skill set, instead of on his grade level.
I was given the opportunity to check out a program called Reading Kingdom. This program was created by Dr. Marion Blank, from Columbia University. It is designed to help bring your struggling reader to a 3rd-grade reading level, in which they can read, spell, and comprehend what is in front of them. Your child starts by taking a couple of placement tests; these are meant to be taken without help from a parent. They go through a series of tests that help them start your child at the correct level. Letter recognition, placement, and even keyboard skills are tested.
When I sat my son down to take his placement tests, I already knew that he was not going to be at a fifth-grade level, but I watched him go through the test and was proud of what he was able to accomplish on his own. At the end, we discovered that he is a first-grade reading level. Great, now we know where we are, at what our end goal is!
The program is meant to be used 3-4 times a week and gives you the ability to track their progress. You can quickly see where your child is in the program, and what their performance is. This program is unique because it does not rely solely on phonics-based instruction.
– The only program that uses the Six Skill Integrated Method developed by Dr. Marion Blank from Columbia University
– Program is adaptive and is personalized for each child
– Children can use the program on their own
– Teaches children to read and write with comprehension at a 3rd-grade reading level in only 12-18 months
– Works on any device with an Internet connection (including Windows, Mac, iPad, Android, Chromebooks, etc.)
My favorite part of this program is that my son ENJOYS it! He can do it on his own, at his own pace, and he has fun with it. He is learning to read, spell, comprehend, and increase his keyboard skills. As both an Autism mom, and a homeschooling mom, it can be difficult to find things that grab and keep his attention. Reading Kingdom has helped us both advance in an area that could quickly turn into a meltdown situation.
I fully intend to continue this program with him, to see just how far it will take him. If you are a homeschool, special needs, or struggling reader parent, this is a program that you should look into to improve their reading skills.