Reading Horizons Curriculum Review

We were given the opportunity to use and review Reading Horizons computer program. At first, I didn’t request to be one of the reviewers because we don’t have any struggling readers in our home, but the good folks at RH wanted reviews from all different reading levels, so we took the opportunity to see how it would work for us.

Reading Horizons is a bit like having an in-home tutor.

This interactive computer softward program is designed to work with different reading styles, and is taught in a logical sequence. It’s presented in a method that is suppose to be great for students with dyslexia. Ken was never formally diagnosed with dyslexia but we believe he has it, and he would’ve loved something like this when he was younger so he could’ve worked through and overcome his reading difficulties in a more private way, without the embarrassment he felt in the classroom. Actually, he still may try a few lessons himself, since the program is for ages 10 through adult.

Reading Horizons screen shot settings

Customization options, reading level assessments, and lesson features:

Students can customize a few settings, including background color, and the voice of the teacher. [See screen shot above.] Parent/teachers have some customizable settings for each student, too.

First, I should preface this by saying that Kathryn (age 11) scored a reading comprehension level of grade 12.7 in the Reading Horizons assessment, and that’s consistent with other assessments I’ve given her. A few years ago, she already had a vocabulary level in 12th-grade range, but her comprehension was “only” a few grade levels above her age; since then we focused on comprehension, primarily through oral narrations, and saw her comprehension skyrocket. That being said, she doesn’t “need” a reading program, so I was curious if this might end up being an exercise in frustration and boredom.

The program works up through the levels, which meant quite a bit of repetition for Kathryn. I sat with her for some of the lessons, but that made her feel uncomfortable talking back to the computer (repeating words as instructed, etc), so after sitting in for a few lessons, I just checked in now and then, and asked for input as she went. She did learn some spelling/phonics rules that we had never discussed. These are the kinds of things Ken is always wanting to know and understand, but Kathryn and I simply seem to “know” without needing rules about them. Still, I’m a word nerd, and I find these sorts of things interesting, and I think Kathryn does, too.

Reading Horizons screen shot

Kathryn had a frustrating day when she accidentally clicked “retake test” after completing the 212 questions on the chapter one test, and had to redo the whole thing. There may be a way around that, but I didn’t find it. So, just be careful where you click! 🙂

Our favorite Reading Horizons feature: the online library!

As students earn points through doing lessons, reviews, and vocabulary, they unlock library passages. This is when Kathryn started enjoying it! The Reading Horizons online library contains 225 passages on various subjects, based on reading level; Kathryn’s favorite subjects are “nature’s mysteries” and “space.” I have to force her to stop reading passage after passage after passage in the library, because she says they are very interesting!

Reading Horizons online library screenshot

Who is Reading Horizons best for? (My opinion.)

When it comes to reading, we are very Charlotte Mason-minded; Kathryn learned to read by having me read to her. She has learned spelling and phonics rules, and even punctuation by simply reading good literature. I would not seek out a program like this for her — HOWEVER, for any child who struggles with reading, I believe this well-thought-out program could be very helpful. Reading Horizons offers a free 7-day trial, so you could decide if it’s the right fit for your child. You can also sign up for free learning resources from Reading Horizons, or you can check out the Reading Horizons blog for more helpful info.

Want to know more? Want to win free stuff? Either way, join the Reading Horizons twitter party August 30, 2012 at 9PM ET for a chance to do both! Find Reading Horizons on twitter @readinghorizons, or like the Reading Horizons facebook page!

But wait, there’s more! 😉

Don’t miss the Reading Horizons giveaway!

You could win a 180-day subscription to Reading Horizons program for ages 10-adult. (A $179 value!) To enter the giveaway: comment on this post! Contest ends August 27. (Just so you know, since it’s a digital product, you won’t have to share your physical address if you win, just your email.)

These other bloggers in the iHomeschool Network also used and reviewed Reading Horizons, so please be sure to read their reviews for how the program worked for their kids:

**Disclosure: I received this product for free, and I was compensated for the time invested in using and reviewing this product. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and I was not required to post a positive review.