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.
I honestly wasn’t sure how our 4-year-old would react to structured lessons but agreed to review Reading Unlocked with the understanding that I would, “do what I could to engage her.” She is a free spirit who learns from movement and play. I asked her if she wanted to try a new game I found on the iPad and within the FIRST lesson, our early preschooler was reading and writing the word “CAT.”
I was stunned. And excited! So was she. So much so that she took to writing the word cat everywhere, with markers, on her legs, and tummy, and the walls.
Reading Unlocked is an online subscription with unlimited use and lessons that take about 10-15 minutes each. When you log on, you can choose which level you want to start at. Since our early preschooler is just associating sounds with letters, we started at level one. It says you can choose between an American or British accent, but we only ever got the British accent to work. That wasn’t an issue for us, because I sat with our student and repeated the words and instructions for each slide.
They use a phonetics-based approach, which introduces learners to the sound of the letter first, before learning the name. We are currently working with two other products with the same approach. It is amazing to see the light bulbs come on in her head as she associates the sound and name together.
We don’t always make it through a whole lesson in one sitting, but I haven’t pushed her too hard. I want her to be excited about using the curriculum when work on it. We also made the arrangement that after each slide she completes in a lesson, she can eat a chocolate chip. She thinks that’s a dandy deal and doesn’t start the lesson until there’s an allotment of chocolatey chips at the ready.
We haven’t figured out how to return to the home screen once we’re logged into the program, and/or to restart lessons. She often wants to repeat a slide or lessons, which would be good for where she’s at in her understanding. I do hope to figure out how to backtrack, because I think the program might be even more beneficial when she starts actual homeschool/preschool in the fall.
Since beginning Reading Unlocked, her recognition of sounds, letters, and words, and her desire to write them have grown exponentially. Besides helping children learn to read, this program is also designed to help learners with dyslexia or other reading difficulties.
Other families also used this product during the same period we did. You can read about their experiences by clicking on the image below.