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.
Here in the Deputie Home we have successfully taught 4 kids (out of 7) to read! Yay! I am currently fine tuning and growing the skills of my 6-year-old son. Starting with phonics and working his way up to short chapter books is where we are at currently.
What Is Reading Unlocked & How Is It Different?
Reading Unlocked is an online phonics program with lessons that only take 10-15 minutes a day. These lessons not only teach your child to read, but also write.
The program has a structured approach, but also adapts to your child by reviewing the mistakes they have made and having them repeat areas they struggle in.
There are a few aspects to this program that I think made it stick out to us from the other programs we have tried.
I want to walk you through a lesson so you can see the unique approach of Reading Unlocked:
As you can see the lesson starts with the basic sound of a letter and illustrates the upper case and lower case of that letter. It then builds the child’s ability to recognize the sound of the letter. This is crucial when it comes to sounding words out to read them or to write them.
Notice that the top bar has circles that show the child how far into the lesson they are and how far they need to go. Each “bubble” fills as the child clicks the “next” button that appears on the bottom of the screen only after they finished the activity. You will notice no two activities are the same. This keeps they child extremely engaged and excited every step of the way. I also appreciate that each activity is short and not burdensome. If my son didn’t like an activity, he knew he only had to do it for about a minute or so before he could move onto a new one.
The next few screens teach the child to pair the lower case letter with the upper case letter followed by a review of the previous letters learned and their sounds. The child can check which letters they know the sounds of, or which ones they wish to work on more.
The program does something interesting at this point. It really teaches a child how to sound words out phonetically. This is very important and much more effective than sight words. Reading Unlocked highlights each letter of the word while an accompaning voice sounds the word out several times in a very slow manner, taking each sound at a time. It then proceeds to say the word in it’s entirety.
I LOVE that Reading Unlocked teaches this skill to young readers as they will face many words they do not know, but can approach them with the confidence that they can sound them out.
More phonetic and spelling is touched on as the lesson progresses by sounding out words and building them by dragging letters in their correct order as well as writing these words out on paper. The child has the opportunity to utilize all of their learning styles by using pictures as well as an automated voice leading them through the lesson every step of the way.
In the first image, a word from the lesson is being read out loud and the child is to write it on a piece of paper. A parent is needed to check their work on this one.
The second image is a wonderful practice for your child to make sure they are reading phonetically and not just guessing at what they beleive the word is.
The last image shows the practice of turinging one word into another. The voice will say, “Turn drop into drip,” then, “Turn drip into drill.”
Notice all the different ways your child is building their skill set in reading! They have to do some critical thinking to make it through some of these activities. They may not be able to verbalize exactly what they are learning, but you will definitely see the benefits when you sit down with your child to read a book with them!
The final part of a daily lesson in this level ends with a portion that needs some parental involvement. A complete sentence is read by adding a word or two to each line. It’s like a pyramid that adds a few words at a time with the base of the pyramid being a full sentence that’s a bit of a tongue twister! Notice how there are many words with simular letters? I think this is a great opportunity to make sure your child is sounding out the word and not just guessing what it is.
Finally, each lesson ends with a silly story that the parent and child read together. The parent reads all the words in black and the child reads the words in red. They absolutly love to feel like they are a part of reading somthing big. They also learn quite a bit following along with the words YOU are reading and listening to how you say them according to how they are spelt.
The last page is a final report for the parent and child to see what they accomplished in just 10-15 minutes as well as over the last 4 weeks. When the “Finish” button is clicked, the screen reverts back to Reading Unlocked’s main home page.
There are three levels to choose from using this program. I had my son using the second level, but his reading level has advanced so quickly I am moving him to the upper level!
So how is this program different?
– It only takes 10-15 minutes a day
– Most of the lesson is hands off from the parent
– It focuses on PHONICS not SIGHT WORDS
– It has a writing element added to it
– There are no advertising or anything distracting on the screen
– It provides many different skills and strategies for your child to face future words they are unfamilliar with
I recommend this program definitely. I am planning on allowing my son to continue a lesson every other day or so in addition to reading out of chapter books. I beleive that reading out of a book is the best experience, however, I am also a beleiver in these quick lessons to sharpen his skills and confidence in sounding out words. I have witnessed incredible and measurable growth in his ability to read since he started using Reading Unlocked and I am glad that I came across it.