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.
While we’re quarantined, we have had a lot of opportunities to try out some new curriculum. Some have been good so far (see some of my other posts), while others just haven’t been a great fit for our family.
I have to admit that I wasn’t overly excited to try out Reading Unlocked. My kindergartner is not really tech-savvy like her older brother, and I didn’t want to have to sit through a program with her. But I have to confess that I do believe this is one of the best additions to our homeschool this year.
Reading Unlocked focuses on hearing, saying, reading, and writing letters and words, building on the previous lesson and not allowing the child to move on until they have completed that slide.
First, the child is introduced to a new sound. They hear the sound a couple of times before being able to move on to the next slide. Like I said, no skipping ahead on this program! After they hear the sound, they are introduced to it as a capital letter as well.
Then they are introduced to a word that has that sound in it. First, the child hears the word as the computer highlights each sound. Then it is repeated for them. And then they are expected to write the word on a sheet of paper. Now, I must confess that this was hard for my six-year-old, but her dad has been working with her on it, and she has come a long way in just a few weeks!
The child is then presented with a row of letters and must choose the corresponding letter from the one pictured at the top of the page. They are giving different letters to work with for a few slides to make sure they are getting the sounds down. For instance, this slide shows the letter U, but the next slide featured the letter N. My daughter had to match the upper case letter with the lower case letter, further helping her understand the relationship between them.
The next set of slides now focuses on combining letters and sounds together to make words. The program says the sounds slowly as each letter is highlighted. The child is then expected to repeat back the sounds before being able to move on to the next section.
The child is then given a picture to go along with a word to help with word association. In the next section, the picture is left, but the child must now pull down each letter to make the correct word. I really enjoyed seeing my daughter work through this part as she really focused and tried to learn each sound. I have even seen her correct herself a few times and rethink what she was going to do. Progress!
Now that the child has been presented with a new letter and then given the opportunity to create words, she has the chance to see how words can be read within a sentence or story. Once again, the child is presented with the sounds and asked to repeat them. They are given a picture to go with the sounds. And then they are shown the word in a sentence. And of course, they are encouraged to write the word for themselves!
The child is then presented with a long list of words that they are asked to read. I think this was probably my daughter’s least favorite part because it wasn’t as interesting, and it felt too much like school to her! But I do think that it’s important for her to see the words again and to have to read them out loud. She’s getting better at this section.
Finally, my favorite part is at the end, when she and I have the opportunity to read a little poem together. Most of the words are in black for me to read, but the red words are for her. She has enjoyed this part as well, and I think it’s a great way to ensure that the parent stays engaged in an online program. It’s way too easy to just hand over a screen to our kids and step away to go do something else. I believe this program does its best to protect against that happening.
Honestly, I am very excited about Reading Unlocked. I do believe that we will continue using it in our school. My daughter has even started asking me when is it time for her to do her Reading Unlocked. It’s actually very easy to add it into our day as it only takes around 15 minutes for her to do.
This program is actually available in American English and British English, so it’s great for anyone. I do believe the cost is reasonable, compared to other curriculum I have tried. For just $24.99 a month, you can help your child to read in 100 lessons. While we haven’t gotten to 100 yet, I am already seeing quite a bit of progress, and I think she will be well-prepared for first grade.
Overall, I think this is an excellent product, and I highly recommend it. But check out some other reviews first and sign up for their free trial to see if it’s a good fit for you!