Brennan is a fairly good reader, but he's not a very big reader. There's any number of things that he'd rather do than read. Occasionally, we'll find a book or series that really interests him, but on a whole, he doesn't typically choose to pick up a book and read.
One of my latest review products promised to change that. Kid Scoop News has designed their Reluctant Reader Solution program to "get your children or students to read each and every day, and spark their own interest in reading."
Reluctant Reader Solution consists of two parts. The first part is a one-year subscription to Kid Scoop News Online Edition. This online newspaper is roughly 20 pages long and contains a variety of articles, puzzles, experiments, etc. This monthly newsletter is a gorgeous full-color publication for your child to read. Unfortunately many of the pages contain puzzles or activities that cannot be completed on the computer. I printed off several pages for Brennan to complete, but it wasn't nearly the same as seeing it on the screen, especially when I tried to save ink by printing it in black/white.
The second part of the Reluctant Reader Solution is an e-book that contains 365 black-and-white learning pages. The pages are divided into more than 60 topics, all of which would appeal to most elementary school students. The ones I noticed first were fun ones like Bubblegum, Solar Snacks, Big Foot, and Kitchen Creativity. There are also several packets available for animal lovers -- Orcas, Tadpoles, and Gorillas.
Each topic has five to seven corresponding activity pages. As an example, Brennan is working through a packet on Optical Illusions this week. The first two pages have six optical illusion questions with multiple choice answers. For instance, "Which rainbow is longer? M) The one on top. N) The one on bottom. O) They are the same length." The letter of the answer to the question goes into a code word that answers a riddle. The other pages include a word search and an activity to find the ten differences between two cartoon drawings. I believe this unit also had a writing assignment, but I didn't print that page for Brennan. I particularly like the way that the activities change from day to day. Brennan actually has to read the directions and figure them out, instead of just guessing at what needs to go in the blanks.
I'm really quite impressed with both the online newsletter and the learning pages. These learning pages focus on more than just reading the articles; all of the activities help build the skills necessary for reading effectively. I am also very pleased to see the focus on reading across subject areas. Many reading programs tend to focus merely on reading stories. The activities in the Kid Scoop materials cover science topics, charts and graphs, money problems, and much more. I believe that working through this material will help Brennan build his skills in all areas, not just reading. We've already explored a handful of the activity packets, and I plan to keep some already printed to add-in on busy days when I need him to do a little more independent work than usual.
As for sparking Brennan's interest in reading, I'm not sure the program lived up to its advertising. Brennan says he thinks the learning pages are a lot of fun, but he still looks at them as schoolwork. It's more enjoyable than other school assignments, but he's not chomping at the bit and begging me to let him do extra pages or to let him read more on his own.
Kid Scoop's Reluctant Reader Solution costs $97, which includes the one year online subscription and the 365 learning pages. Even though I'm just not sure it sparked Brennan's interest in reading, I think the activity sheets are a valuable addition to our regular elementary reading instruction.
If you are interested in improving your child's reading skills, you might want to check out all that Kid Scoop offers on their website -- 30 days of free activity ideas, ebooks, thematic lesson resources, and more. As always, if you'd like to see what other homeschool families thought about Kid Scoop's Reluctant Reader Solution, be sure to visit The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew blog.