Reading Unlocked Review

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

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.

It's not a big secret that I'm not a huge fan of screens. I have trouble learning from them, I've got at least one child who gets addicted FAR too easily, and we just generally try to limit screen time for all the kids. So I probably never would have chosen to use a reading program that was screen-based. But... Reading Unlocked is actually working for us!

Reading Unlocked is Orton-Gillingham based, which is something we were already familiar with. It's far less teacher-intensive than the last program we used, though, and only takes about 10-15 minutes each day to get through a quick lesson. It's easy enough that I can even go through it with Peter while I'm nursing the baby! That's a major plus in my book. It is so hard to be able to carve out time for the littlest learners, and Reading Unlocked really made it easy.

Peter is nearly 5.5 and already knows all his letters and their sounds, and was sounding out simple, CVC words before we began the program. Once I figured out how to set him up with the proper level, he quickly progressed to consonant blends and longer words (he will very proudly share with you that he can read some words that are SIX letters long).

The program works on the computer or iPad, though we used our Kindle Fire tablet and it worked pretty well (with a few technical glitches that the developers fixed very quickly when I emailed with questions). A big part of the process is just getting him used to using the tablet properly, honestly!

We skipped the (minimal) writing portion of each lesson, because I don't like focusing on writing mechanics this early on. But we did a lot of "drawing in the air" of each letter, and using different strategies introduced by the Reading Unlocked program has really helped build fluency quickly, even though we have only been using the program 3-4 times per week.

Simple graphics and clip art help solidify concepts, although I think the company could probably work on making stock photos and clip art a little more diverse. I like being able to track progress in the lesson at the top of the screen, and the poem at the end of each lesson is always a nice "carrot" to help keep us going even when things get a little tricky!

 I think the most difficult thing about the program is that at times the accents can make discerning the words a little tricky - sometimes it's American English, sometimes British, and a couple of the letter sounds were just weird on our device, so it was hard to tell what was actually being said... We figured everything out reasonably well though, and I'm really amazed at how much Peter's reading has been improving with just a little bit of extra help from Reading Unlocked! As far as screens go, it's pretty no-frills, but still appealing to children, which strikes the right balance for us. I'm looking forward to continuing with the program, since Peter has been doing so well with it.

Learn more about Reading Unlocked on Facebook.

Read more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew here.

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