Kickstart Reading: A Dad’s Review

Though the author of this post received a free subscription to Kickstart Reading, all thoughts and opinions are his own.

Your kid picks up a book. You watch them try to sound out some of the words, their little brains going a million miles an hour trying to put the sounds together.

Eventually, they get frustrated, close the book, and move on to something else. It may not seem like it’s having much of an impact on them, but I think every time a kid tries to accomplish something and fails, it does something to their self-esteem.

Thankfully, our oldest never struggled with reading, but our 6-year-old took a bit more work.

What I wish we’d had when we were teaching her to read was Kickstart Reading. I connected with them several weeks ago, and they were gracious enough to allow us access to their entire program as we attempted to start working on reading with our almost 3-year-old.

Founded by a former elementary and special education teacher, Kickstart Reading takes something that your kids are already doing–screen time–and turns it into something you can feel good about.

The theory behind Kickstart Reading is quite simple: they offer short, accessible videos that focus on teaching your kids the fundamentals of reading so that you can turn reading from a chore into something they look forward to.

Though my youngest daughter is still a little too young for full-blown reading, there are a number of videos in the program that are perfect for younger kids, specifically the videos that focus on letter sounds.

The videos are bright, happy, engaging, and repetitive, which is a perfect recipe for success when it comes to little eyes and brains.

My 2-year-old’s favorite video is one that simply repeats a letter, that letter’s sound, and then something that represents that letter. Again, it’s repetitive, informative, and she’s been walking around the house for the past week repeating, “A! APPLE!” over and over again. She may not be reading, but she certainly knows what sound the letter A makes.

I sincerely wish I’d had access to this material a year ago.

As we were trying to teach our then 5-year-old to read, she was frustrated that she couldn’t seem to put multiple sounds together to make a full word. When asked to sound out the word “start” she would turn it into a three syllable word (st-ar-t) and would get so frustrated that she couldn’t seem to combine the sounds.

Kickstart reading is a fantastic tool, specifically for a kid who might be having some trouble picking up on some the fundamentals of putting words together.

The program includes whole sections on sight words, word families, colors, plurals, and digraphs. It’s an ideal solution for a kid aged 4-6 who is at the beginning phases of their reading journey.

Kickstart Reading offers two billing plans. You can pay $7 a month, or buy an entire year subscription for $42 (which is just $3.50 per month). It’s a fantastic value, and a worthwhile investment. If I’d had access to this for my older kids, I would have gladly paid the money.

So if your kid is just starting their reading journey, I highly suggest giving Kickstart Reading a try. I think you’ll find it is an ideal companion to your child’s reading journey.

 

Stephen Carter is a writer, husband, father, & friend. He lives in Portland with his wife Rachel, and 3 beautiful girls, Avery, Rylee, & Hattie. When he’s not reading or writing, he enjoys a local micro-brew, or a strong cup of coffee. He is passionate about literature, theology, justice, Daniel Day-Lewis movies, U2 records (but with strong reservations about No Line on the Horizon), and believes that the right words can change the world. He can be found on: Twitter: @stephenedwardc

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