Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Friday, February 18, 2011

Kid Scoop:The Reluctant Reader Solution

I may be wrong, but in my experience students seem to fall in one of two camps- they either love reading and can't get enough, or, they can't stand it and do everything in their power to avoid the dreaded task. So, where do your children stand on the reading issue? Our children, and both my husband and I actually, love to read. If there's an offer to go to the library or the bookstore, we are so there. Our bedtime ritual must include reading at least one chapter of our favorite book of the week. And, believe it or not, the kids sleep better when I've read to them. No, seriously. I've tested the theory, and it's true.

So, in our family, no arm twisting is necessary to teach this subject. Still, we are always interested in checking out new books and reading resources just because we like to.

This month, our family was given the chance to check out a cool resource- Kid Scoop:The Reluctant Reader Solution. With that title, I was pretty sure that we were in for an engaging product, and I was correct!

Now, as I've already stated, we don't have an issue with reluctant readers ourselves. But, who wouldn't be interested in a website that features a vividly colored, interactive online monthly newspaper, with lots of great kid centered articles, puzzles, games and more?

The whole theme of Kid Scoop is centered around newspapers, but, you've probably already figured that out by now ;) This however, is unlike any newspaper that you or I have ever seen. Jam packed with material from the first page to the last, it even allows you to listen to each page- which may be helpful for some of those younger readers. One of the features that I like is the ability to fit the paper to full screen. As you click on arrows at each side of the pages, you can flip from one page to the next, and it even makes a realistic sound of actual paper pages turning. How about a peek into the contents available for February?

Check out the very cool article about an artist who sculpts...wait for it...pencil lead! No foolin'! Using tools like a razor blade and a sewing needle, you'll be amazed at what he sculpts from the lead on the tips of pencils. Elvis Presley, and a shoe are just a couple of those neat sculptures that you'll see.

Encourage those aspiring writers you may have by reading the 'Author, Author' section. Here, Sid Fleischman gives kids writing advice, offers some writing rules, and then have your child play a matching game that features a few of Sid's book characters.

Keep flipping through, and read a bit about how lead makes its way into pencils. We'll stay with that theme for a bit and work on some drawing activities featuring, what else? pencils, and then try your hand at the pencil themed word search.

February wouldn't be the same without Valentine's Day, and so this issue includes plenty of heart themed fun. Your student can try his/her hand at a few math problems floating on the page within pretty little valentines, finish some heart patterns, and try some love themed matching games.

As you come to the end (sadly) of the newspaper, your child can find out who Nellie Bly is. I would tell you, but that would spoil all of the fun! And be sure not to overlook the calendar at the back that offers a daily to do activity or project for the reader.

It's fun in and of itself to enjoy browsing the paper online, but it doesn't end there. Kid Scoop allows you to print out these pages, either a page here or there that piques your child's interest, or print them all and have a physical copy of this newspaper!

If that were all there were, it would be a fun addition to include in your studies. But, this is actually a 2 part resource, with the online newspaper being only the first part. Sounds intriguing, yes? It sure is folks!

Part 2 includes 365 worksheets in pdf format, allowing you to print off just what you need, when you need it. A full year's worth!

Each week has its own theme, and you can divide these up into 4 or 5 different themes per month. You also have a couple of options in the way you choose to divvy these up, and Kid Scoop has conveniently included 2 separate table of contents'.

Option number 1. Use the chronological table of contents, and make your way through the year following the natural course of the holidays, weather, and such.

Option number 2. Use the theme based table of contents, and choose your weekly paper based on the subject of your choice.

We've been using the chronological table of contents, and it's been working well for us, but choose the way that suits your needs best.

Would you like a look into what we've been reading over the past month? Well, alright...

We started out January with Owen and Mzee, a hippo and a tortoise respectively. We read some fun and interesting facts about these animals, learned how to draw a hippo, learned what hippopotamus means in Latin, and wrote a journal page about friends.

Then, we had fun with the theme Frost. We learned about the legend of Jack Frost, and tried out a couple of science experiments, including learning how frost is made, and then made our own. Fun!

With January comes Martin Luther King,Jr. day, and within that theme was a day of service. We read about creative ways other students served their community, and then came up with our own ideas to serve our friends and family. One of those projects for us was to decorate flowerpots, plant spring bulbs, and deliver them to some elderly women in our neighborhood.

This past week, my oldest really liked reading through and completing the projects for Valentine's Day, which included coloring and cutting out valentines, proof reading a love themed paragraph and correcting the errors -as every good newspaper editor does ;), trying out a "Love Sudoku" type word puzzle, and a broken heart matching game.

Additionally, each edition includes things to search for in an actual newspaper relating to that theme and other vocabulary activities like a word of the week.

Now, for our personal opinion of Kid Scoop...

Thumbs up for us! We found the online paper colorful and engaging. Loved the realistic sound effects, although we weren't so crazy about the robotic sounding voice of the narrator- if you choose to listen to the paper. Also liked the option of printing these pages.

What we really, really loved were the worksheets. You'll never run out of activities here. There are pages for every school day in so many different themes. We used these mostly in our "down time", after our main school work was completed. It's great because the kids are having fun completing the assignments, but it doesn't necessarily feel like schoolwork.

I would and will definitely recommend Kid Scoop to any family, with or without a struggling reader.

*I received a free subscription and downloads of Kid Scoop:The Reluctant Reader Solution in return for my honest review, with no additional compensation.

Kid Scoop:The Reluctant Reader Solution

Price: $97.00 Includes 12 month access to online newspaper, and 365 worksheets. Check their website for more details.

Visit TOS Homeschool Crew home page for more reviews and homeschool products

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