Friday, February 18, 2011

Reluctant Reader Solution Review


I have noticed that there is frequently a gap in between your avid reader and your phonics learner.  These kids have the head knowledge required to read, but they have not yet figured out that reading is fun.  In my humble opinion the best way to instill a love for reading is to read a lot.  But for those of you who want or need more, there is the Reluctant Reader Solution from Kid Scoop.


The Reluctant Reader Solution is a two-part digital program, but both parts are focused on providing high-interest subjects coupled with fun activities and puzzles.  The idea is to capture your kid's attention with fun puzzles and interesting themes, and then the reading will naturally follow.  There are no recommended ages for this product, but I am guessing it is intended for kids who can read independently but are still getting comfortable with it.

One part of the Reluctant Reader Solution is a monthly on-line newspaper titled Kid Scoop News.  It is very colorful and each one covers several different subjects.  You can turn the pages with a simple click, and zoom in and out.  The February issue has a author spotlights, Valentine puzzles, science experiments and puzzles, money matters, art, jokes, and history pages.   I really like how many puzzles and activities are included.  The pages are also broken up into many different small sections of type, so there are no large discouraging pages full of words. 

The second section is a large downloadable file with small newspapers to print.  There are 60 little newspapers in all, and they each have around 6 pages full of info and fun goodies.  They are black and white PDFs, so they are easy to open and print.  These have wonderful subjects, and the included instructors guide has optional schedules for using these either by theme or by season, which is very nice when you just can't decide where to start!  Some of the titles include Clay Play, Optical Illusions, Frost, Louisa May Alcott, and tons more.  There are also files for most holidays, including Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, and Thanksgiving.  

So how did they work for us?  The online newspaper was a little strange to me.  I love the content, but the pages are full of pencil-to-paper activities.  So why is it online?  The Kidscoop website says that children really enjoy reading online because it feels like 'fun time' to them.  But you can't do any of the activities without printing it out anyway.  The size of the font was also a little discouraging for Bop.  The words are the size that you would expect but there are only two options for reading it- you can either have both pages showing, which makes the type too little to read, or you can have it zoomed in which only allows you to see part of the page and makes left- to- right tracking difficult.  All in all, I think that the online portion is useful and fun for the kids, but it could have been designed in a more practical way.  I found that the best way to use it for us, is to just go ahead and print it out, but you have to keep in mind that it is full-color and around 20 pages long.

We had a much easier time using the downloadable portion.  I think these can be used in a lot of ways, including unit study supplements or even mini-studies on their own.  But we decided to use them as they were intended- to spark an interest in voluntary reading.  I printed off a newspaper for Bop, stapled it, and just handed it to her each day when we had some downtime during school.  She was less then impressed with the first one, asking why she had to read it.  By the second one she willingly found activities to work on, and by the time we got to this week's paper, I actually caught her doing it on her own.  I do think the interest level for that particular child will change with the subject, but most of them tend to be interesting for all kids.

DSCN8818 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

I really like the weekly newspapers, and I think that they will help Bop keep stretching her reading abilities as she does them.  I am not sure that Cj will enjoy them, because he just does not like worksheets.  But you never know, there are a lot of interesting things to learn in there!

I can see how the online paper and the printable files could spark an interest in the written word for reluctant readers, but there is also a lot here for other kids.  What about the kid who is always wanting something fun to do while the younger kids get all of mom's attention?  What about those hours riding in the car or waiting in the doctors office?  What about kids who can't get enough of pencil-and-paper puzzles?  I can see a lot of options here.

You can buy the Reluctant Reader Solution from Kid Scoop for $97.  You can find some fun free activities under the kid's tab on the website.  Visit The Old Schoolhouse Crew blog to read a lot more reviews for this product.

How would you use Kid Scoop in your homeschool?

I received this product free of charge
as a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew,
for review purposes. I promise to be honest
and fair in my reviews, and I received no
other compensation in exchange for my review.
to read more reviews on this product.

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