Friday, February 18, 2011

Review: Kid Scoop

If we were to debate which of the the R's is most important in education, I would choose reading.  Teach a kid to read and you've given him the tool to learn about any and everything else.  Schnickelfritz can read and very well for his age.  What I haven't been able to teach him is to lovereading.  I'd rather spend time with a book than any other inanimate object --perhaps this comes from growing up an only child or from warm memories of reading time with my mother.   Fritz on the other hand would rather build with blocks,  play basketball, ride bikes, play with model trains, anything but reach for a book--a classic reluctant reader.  I've tried reading aloud and stopping at the cliff-hanger moments hoping he'll want to continue on his own.  Any time I hear "I'm bored" I respond with "pick up a book."  We faithfully check out boy favorites like Hank the Cowdog at the library.

Then along came the opportunity to review a product by Kid Scoop.  As you can see from their own ad, it should "spark you child's OWN interest in reading."  There's even a money back guarentee (of course I receved my copy for free as part of the Homeschool Crew).  The Reluctant Reader Solution($97) is geared towards 4 to 8 year-olds and consists of two E-products:  a year's worth of the monthly Kid Scoop News Online and a download of Kid Scoop Worksheets.

Kid Scoop Online is a full color magazine which allows your child to virtually flip through the pages.   Although it's advertised as a reading tool, there are a lot of pencil pushing ideas so you'll probably want to download it as a PDF file and print some of the pages out.  The January edition we received was 20 pages covering a range of topics:  rainbows, gravity, otters, the circus, interest on money, the January calendar and more.   Activities included word searches, mazes, studying pictures for differences and silly objects,  coloring, practicing penmanship, and unscrambling words.   Most of the articles were kept to two or three short paragraphs.  The colors were eye-catching.

We also received sixty downloaded Kid Scoop Worksheets, each 5 to 7 pages long (365 pages in total).  These are black and write pages with similar length articles and activities.  They also add writing skills like practicing alliteration and writing a persuasive advertisement.  You can follow the recommended chronological order included in the download or pull out themes to tie in with your current studies.  Holidays covered are Valentine's Day, Easter, Columbus Day, Cinco de Mayo, Constitution Day, Father's Day, Halloween, Memorial Day, Martin Luther King's birthday, Mother's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Thanksgiving, and Veteran's Day.   The resurrection aspect of Easter is ignored as are all other religious holidays ( I'm assuming this program was designed for public school use).

Other Themes: baseball, bees, bigfoot, bubble gum, butterflies, allowances, fire safety, frost, germs, gorillas, hockey, immunization, kitchen creativity, miniature golf, nutrition, optical illusions, solar snacks, tad poles, teasing, and more.  Kid Scoop's online shop also has many more worksheets on other themes available for $2.99 each.   You can also sign up for their 30 days of reading activities via emails.

I tried printing out a few pages and leaving them for Fritz to discover on his own with no luck.  He just ignored them as he passed by in search of blocks.  When I forced him to do the activities he did enjoy the word searches, breaking codes, and math problems the best.  Any writing assignment was met with "Do I have to?"  (Read that with the whiny voice with which all parents are familiar).  I can see benefit in these sheets in a classroom setting where some students need busy work while other kids finish up, but in my one room, one student schoolhouse this isn't necessary.  I did, however, appreciate that each activity included  tag words for educational standards.  The word searches cover skills like letter sequencing, skim and scan reading, recalling spelling patterns.  It helped me account for our time in the log of hours I'm required to keep by the state.

Let me remind you though, that the purpose of the product was to "ignite the child's OWN interest in reading."  I would unfortunately have to call them on their money back guarantee.   The books still sit untouched unless I make it a required activity.  So I'll continue to read aloud and hope that something sparks his interest enough for him to read on his own.

You can see what others on the Homeschool Crew think of Kid Scoop's Reluctant Reader Solution by clicking here.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the Reluctant Reader Solution for the purpose of completing this review.  I received no other compensation for my honest opinion.

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