Sunday, April 22, 2012

K-5 Learning Review

I recently had the awesome opportunity to review a great learning program: K5 Learning. K5 Learning ( is an online reading and math program for kids from kindergarten through grade 5. Our intent is to help kids build reading, math and study skills through independent study. K5 is designed for home use and can be used for after-school, weekend and summertime supplemental study or in conjunction with a homeschooling program.

K5 Learning - Main Logo 400 pxHow it Works
Kids complete an online assessment of 8 key reading and math skills, and then work independently at their own pace through over 3,000 online lessons and activities. The lessons are animated, interactive and simple enough that a 4-5 year old can use them independently. We automatically choose lessons for students (based on their assessment and past lessons), track student progress and provide reports for parents.

Benefits for Kids
K5 helps kids learn essential reading and math skills, develop good study habits, and fulfill their academic potential.

Benefits for Parents
K5 makes life easier for parents by allowing for effective, independent study by kids. Simplified interfaces, automatic lesson selection, student tracking and reporting all contribute to minimize the amount of daily supervision required.

When you first sign up, there are several helpful videos to get you started. They introduce you to the program, guide you through setting up assessments, and are there to answer any questions that may arise as you use the program.

I used the program with my 7 year old second grader, my 4 year old Pre-K student, and my 8 year old niece who is also in the second grade. I started with my children. Both are above grade level. My 7 year old is currently in the gifted program. After seeing how much they enjoyed the program, I signed my niece up. She struggles in math, so I knew the extra practice would be good for her.

All of the girls enjoyed the program. They liked the graphics and interactions the best. The games at the end of each lesson were an added incentive. However, they sometimes got bored with them because, even though they were great games, they seemed to be the same games over and over again.

I noticed all of the girls grew stronger in math and reading over the 6 week period that we utilized the program. My pre-k student impressed me the most by how much knowledge she gained in phonics and reading. I was worried that the lessons were going to be too hard for her but she seemed to really enjoy them. In fact, she was the one who constantly reminded me that it was time to practice her reading and math. I think she will be sad that our trial period is over.

I enjoyed the fact that my children could log into the program and start a lesson without any assistance from me. It was something they could do while I was working, and whereas the lessons did challenge them, they were easy enough for them to complete on their own.

I do wonder what standards the leveling is based on. When the assessment comes back and says that my Pre-K student is on a 1st grade level when it comes to phonics, what standards are they using to base this level on. Of course, that is the teacher in me coming out.

Speaking of being a teacher, this program would be extremely beneficial in after school programs and home school situations. It provides independent practice, support for students who are struggling with concepts, acceleration, and review with extra practice.

A few changes I would make would be that the assessments should be automatic. You should not have to request them. Before a child ever starts the program, they should be assessed in order to be placed on the appropriate level. There should also not be a limit on the grade levels above where a child is. For instance, my second grader scored on a 4th grade level in several areas but the program would not put her on that level unless I requested it. This resulted in her being bored a few times.

Something I would like to see added to K5 Learning would be an incentive program. This would be great and extremely motivating. It could be like a virtual bulletin board where they can pin their completions of levels and tests and print out certificates and awards for their successes.

This program is definitely something I would encourage parents to obtain for their children. It is a little pricey but the benefits definitely out weigh the costs.

My Pre-K student said, "It is very good! I like it a lot. I love reading now. It is my favorite part, but math is a little hard. And thanks for letting us use it."

My second grader said, "I like it because you can go to a spelling bee and it lets you read non-fiction and fiction books. You can also go to math and reading. On math, you can count, round, add, subtract, and lots of things."

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