Thursday, April 16, 2020

Reading Unlocked Review

{Disclaimer:  I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.}

You know that I am passionate about reading and it has been a privilege for me to teach my children to read so I was so excited to receive 12 months of access with unlimited use to Reading Unlocked's online learning to read program for both F and G.  I have been using this program the longest with G on the first level, the Red Level.  F enjoyed watching G and asked if he could do it too so I am using it with him as well on the second level, Orange Level.

Above you can see how I determined starting levels.  G (age 3) definitely needed to start on Level 1.  F was a bit in the middle of Level 2 and 3 so I went with Level 2 so it wouldn't be too far ahead for him.

G learning the j sound.
So what is Reading Unlocked?  It's an online simplified phonics program that teaches children to read and write.  It is structured to adapt to your student.  It reviews their mistakes and goes at their pace.  Children learn to read and spell phonetically.  Harder words are taught individually to help children remember them.  Reading Unlocked takes only 10-15 minutes a day.  G is really loving this program.  Now, because he is only 3, I am focusing more on the reading part for him and less on the writing.  This program asks for children to draw letters in the air and write rows of them on paper.  So G only draws in the air for his session, while F does both when completing his.  At the end of each session, there is a poem that you read with your child.  They read the words sprinkled throughout the poem in red while you read the other words.  We've enjoyed this and some of the poems are quite silly and fun!  F can do his session fairly independently but I am there if he needs help and to read with him at the end.  I let G do as much of his session as he can on his own (and it's impressive what he can do at 3!) but I am always nearby to help him more than F.

Lessons begin by showing you the letter that you will be learning.  It never calls the letter by its name but rather by its sound.  You say the sound with the program.

In G's Level, he is shown lowercase letters.  In F's Level, he is shown capital letters.  G is asked to find the picture that starts with the letter sound, while F is asked to find the picture that ends with the letter sound.

G has to find the word that starts with the m sound.

F has to find the word that ends with the correct sound.

Another example from one of F's sessions

Both of their levels have section where they are shown a word and they read the sounds with the program one by one (a total of 3 times) and then they read the entire word together.  Take a look at what I mean in the short video clip below.

So in the video, you can hear G saying the sounds for j, e, and t.  Those are all sounds that he has learned already in this program.  He then can see how it blends at the end to form jet.

F is doing the same thing here for the word slush.

One of my favorite sections, is when they are asked to spell a word.  They are given a picture of the word, boxes next to it, and letters to choose from at the top.  They drag and drop the appropriate sounds to spell out the word.

G is asked to spell hen.

Here you can see, he is dragging and dropping the correct sounds to spell out the word.

In F's level, sometimes the blends are grouped together.  Above he is spelling stamp and mp is grouped together in one box.

Remember how I said that trickier words are taught individually.  Above is an example of learning the word the.

There is a section in both levels where kids are asked to change one word into another word by changing the correct letter.  So they might be asked to change jam into ham for example.  And then they might be asked to change ham into hat and so on until they have made several different words.

Another fun section is where the child reads the word and selects the correct picture for that word in each row.

G has been doing great in this exercise and then a few days ago I noticed that he wanted to just start selecting the pictures starting from the left and continue right until he selects the correct one.  Well, remember when I said that the program adapts to the child and it reviews their mistakes.  I noticed after this that one of his sessions was a revision session and I am guessing that's why so I told him that we really need to sound out the word and pick the one he thinks it is!

Above is an example of a poem that I read with G.  The child reads the red words.

Above is an example of one that I read with F.  It didn't all fit on one screen but you get the idea.

 At the end of each lesson, you can see which words your child learned that day.

There is also a progress bar so you can see above that G was 72% done at that time.

Both boys are having fun with this program.  I love that G asks to do his "reading school" most mornings, he likes being a "big" kid and I am really impressed with how well he is doing at just 3 years old.  I feel like F's reading skills have continued to improve and explode this year and I love that this program gives him new ways to read and challenge himself.

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