Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Homework Needed: ClickN Kids Review

H has been in public school kindergarten for two weeks now and I'm conflicted. If you've read my latest post on Technorati, you know that I have reservations about whether to move our family to another school district. The first week, H's homework assignment was to write his name. He's been writing his name for three years! The second week, his homework was the letter A. One of the pages had him draw lines from the top of the page to the bottom of the page. I could see that he was not going to learn anything anytime soon. I had asked the teacher what was required to move him up to first grade. She said that he would have to be evaluated by everyone in the school, including the district psychiatrist. I knew that meant it was not going to happen.

Last night was back to school night at H's school. I was hoping that I would learn in the presentation that things would pick up quickly and he might start to be challenged soon. Unfortunately I didn't hear anything that disabused my notion that H would not be learning anything this year, at least academically. It's my fault really--I put him in a pre-school that teaches one level ahead so he's already gone through the entire kindergarten curriculum. I put that to the test by having him read the list of 50 sight words I brought home from the presentation last night. He nailed every single one. So what to do? It's either put him back into his *expensive* private school or teach him outside of school.

Thankfully, I recently signed up to do a review of the ClickN Kids online learning products. There are three of them on the market right now: ClickN READ Phonics, ClickN Spell, and  Looney Tunes ClickN READ Phonics. H has been going through the lessons for a couple weeks now and it's definitely helped him keep up his skills and learn new things. In addition to learning the underlying reading and spelling content, the programs are helping him master computer manual dexterity and learn where letters are on the keyboard.

ClickN READ Phonics teaches the entire kindergarten to 3rd grade phonics curriculum taught at US public schools through 100 interactive cartoon animated online phonics lessons. Any child can learn English, and learn to read correctly, in a phonics game-like environment that is great fun and easy to use. The phonics program is designed for children as young as 4 years old learning to read English for the first time, older children struggling to learn to read, learning disabled children and even adults learning English as a second language.

All phonics lessons begin in the Letter Sound Chamber. The onscreen teacher, "ClickN KID", gently guides your child through interactive phonics sound exercises as they learn to read. Children learn all of the letter sounds and their corresponding letter shapes required for reading mastery as well as spelling and keyboarding skills. Each phonics lesson introduces a new sound which is then practiced along with five previously introduced sounds. Next, your child is automatically taken to the Listening Cube which systematically incorporates the letters taught in the first Letter Sound Chamber into beginning, middle and ending sounds in words. Those same sounds are then incorporated into a word blending exercise which teaches your child how to decode the individual sounds in a word and learn to read the sound of the word.

The Reading Room now incorporates the letter sounds and word blends, learned in the first two reading skills environments, into new words and progressively builds your child's ability to read complete English sentences and short stories with ease. Following the Reading Room, your child enters the Speed Chamber where all letter sounds and words taught in the lessons are reviewed and practiced. Your child must make as many correct responses as possible within a user set number of instruction minutes. This environment builds the automatic decoding skill mastery needed to learn to read. H really likes the Speed Chamber because it's a contest against himself.

Looney Tunes Phonics takes the ClickN Read Phonics program and links it to the zany antics of Bugs Bunny, Daffy, Taz, Tweety, and more to enhance children's engagement and motivation to read. The Looney Tunes gang entertains your child and kids will delight in meeting the new character Professor Wizbot, the on-screen instructor in Looney Tunes Phonics, who teaches one click at a time®. The program lesson control settings allow the teacher or parent to precisely match each child's individual needs for motivational content and positive feedback:
  • Full length: Maximum motivation. Features entire curriculum and all entertainment content
  • Medium length: Medium motivation. Features entire curriculum and reduced amount of entertainment content
  • Shortest length: Minimum motivation. Features entire curriculum with extra entertainment content removed
"Entertainment content" refers to the additional animation that occurs between educational modules that is designed to entertain and also reward users throughout the lessons. No matter the setting, the curriculum portions are identical and no educational pieces have been changed. H preferred the shortest length of entertainment content. He actually is a bit afraid of the Tazmanian Devil (maybe it reminds him too much of R?) and is more comfortable with the original ClickN Read Phonics program. I could see, though, how the Looney Tunes platform would be helpful to motivate kids who aren't as interested as H is in the outer space and space travel features of the original ClickN Read Phonics.

Click N Spell uses the same outer space platform as the original ClickN Read Phonics. It is a spelling program for PreK through 5th grade that teaches the 800 most commonly used words in the English language. It is based on the educational research on the use of Copy, Cover, Compare spelling instructional practice proven effective. H really enjoys these lessons and is very proud of himself when he gets a 100% on the quiz at the end of each lesson.

All three programs come with the industry's best progress reports. All mouse and keyboard entries are saved and can be viewed any time from any online computer. The cumulative results report combines all Individual Reports into one easy to understand summary report customized for each user. Parents can see scores as a percentage and compare them to other users and also easily identify the exact areas in which your child may need help and then see the specific lessons to repeat if necessary. Individual lesson reports are shown at the end of every lesson showing exactly how each child performed on that lesson. Reports for all lessons (even repeated lessons) are auto-saved and can be viewed online any time.
ClickN Kids programs are among the World's Most Advanced Learn To Read Phonics And Spelling Software Programs. Guaranteed to teach children to learn to read and spell or your money back! Visit ClickN KIDS web site for more information and free trial lessons for each of the three programs. I'm so glad H has these programs to help keep his mind engaged during this school year.

I did not receive compensation for this post. I received product samples to facilitate my review.

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