2 articles Articles posted in Reading

Night Zookeeper Review and Discount Code

Night ZookeeperAs you may or may not know, we’re currently homeschooling the girls on a semi-permanent basis. Sausage is now in year 9 and will be home educated through to college age, whereas BB is in year 3 and is planning to go back to school once she’s had her COVID vaccine. This means that we’ve been using as many resources as possible to keep them both engaged by learning and also on par with their peers. Recently, I discovered Night Zookeeper and we were generously offered a 12 month subscription to try it for ourselves.

 It’s a subscription-based website which encourages reading and writing in a really creative way. It’s developed by experienced educators and brings together a compelling story, innovative digital technology, and effective curriculum-aligned educational content, to help your child boost their literacy skills.

The website is packed with games which help kids learn spelling, grammar and vocabulary and they’re so fun that the kids barely even realise they’re learning. I gave BB her login details and let her use the site without even telling her that it was a learning resource at first, and she was totally engrossed in minutes.

Night Zookeeper storytelling

Parents Point of View

One of the things I like about Night Zookeeper is the fact that it encourages kids to use their imagination. Sausage and BB have always had a thirst for knowledge and intense curiosity for the world around them and they’ve both channelled that through art and storytelling, so the format of NZK plays right into BB’s wheelhouse.

The site is really well set up in that there’s a separate login for parents so that you can see your child’s progress and see what they’ve been up to on the site. It even gives you a word count of how much they’ve written in each of their mini stories and it’s really interesting to see that the word count has been increasing with each time BB has used it.

It can also be used on tablets, laptops and PCs, making it accessible without the need for expensive new tech. There are lessons, writing challenges and word games which are immersive and exciting, telling fun, modern stories that the kids enjoy. There’s even a blog area where kids can write and share their own blog posts!

Perhaps the MOST useful feature of Night Zookeeper is the fact that real teachers can comment on BB’s work and leave her comments and suggestions to help her to expand her writing. Having that type of feedback is so valuable, I think it’s worth the cost of subscription all by itself.

Night Zookeeper teacher feedback

How does it work?

“By providing thousands of fun and engaging lessons, challenges, and games, Night Zookeeper helps children to learn new words, use them in sentences, and then create amazing pieces of writing that are shared with children from around the world. They receive feedback from our team of tutors as well as other children that highlight where they can improve. In-game awards and competitions keep them motivated to continue to learn and progress. They’ll write about everything, from stories about magical animals to instructions on how to make the perfect hot chocolate. All genres of writing are gradually introduced including newspaper articles, persuasive writing, reports, and poetry.”

What Does BB Think of Night Zookeeper?

“It’s really good! It feels like you’re playing a game and you don’t even really realise that you’re doing school work. My favourite thing about it is creating the animals because I like to get creative. I also really like the mini games because they’re fun and feel like other games that I play on my iPad” – Burrito Baby, aged 7.

Value for Money

Night Zookeeper PricingFor what you actually get, I think the subscriptions offer really good value. There’s content on there which suits kids from ages 6 to 12, so it can be useful even beyond junior level, and I love the idea of the continuity that will offer as BB progresses. All subscriptions come with a 7 day free trial, so you can see if you like it before you buy and if you purchase a 12 month subscription, it works out at just £7.50 per month.

Night Zookeeper Discount Offer!

We’re delighted to also be able to share with you an exclusive link for you to use, giving you a massive 50% off of a year’s subscription! By using this link you’ll pay just £46.99 for one child for a year or a truly bargainous £57.99 for up to three children per 12 month subscription! Click on the image below to nab your half price subscription:

Night Zookeeper half price membership!Conclusion

I’m really excited to see what else BB creates with Night Zookeper! We have a few different subscriptions for the girls to use during our home ed and I honestly think this is going to be the one which provides the best value for BB’s literacy. Thanks so much to the people at Night Zookeeper for giving us the opportunity to try the site.

Five Ways to Get Your Kids Interested in Reading

Southend on Sea’s award-winning Children’s Library © Andy Spain www.asvisual.com

With World Book Day on the horizon and parents around the country scrambling to put together costumes for the kids, we’re all thinking about the books that we love. It’s a great way to get kids to be creative and learn about new books from their friends, but what do we do for the rest of the year when books just aren’t as engaging to kids as gadgets or screens? Although the girls both love a bit of screen time, they’re also complete bookworms and love reading, so I thought I’d share with you five tips on how to get kids interested in reading:

Give Them Freedom

There’s a tendency with a lot of parents to try to get their kids to focus on “real” books, steering them towards novels which they feel their kids should be reading. However, we’ve found that giving kids freedom over what they read is a much better way to get them to read. Whether it’s a comic, magazine, joke book, even a recipe book – if they find it engaging, it’s ALL reading! Their tastes will likely change over time, but removing the pressure can have a profound effect. Happy Beds have released a new World Book Day campaign, which looks at the UK’s best bedtime books. This is a great list and hopefully your children will love the thought of reading some of these!

Read With Them

While some kids find snuggling down in a corner with a book a pleasant experience, some kids find it isolating, which in turn discourages them. Ask if you can read to them, or let them read to you, and make it something fun that you can do together. You can even sit together and read your own books to yourselves, but a sense of closeness and companionship can really help.

Make it Fun

There’s are SO many ways to make reading fun. Pick a corner of the room and make it your reading nook, get some blankets and torches and make yourselves a reading den, pick a character each and do your own voices for them! Kids will engage with a book in a much bigger way if they feel that what they’re reading is fun and exciting.

Visit a Library

Library use is way down in recent years and far fewer parents take their kids to the library than ever before, which is such a shame. Check your library for fun events, as they often have things running in the holidays. Also, when you go to the library, don’t just check your books out and leave – many libraries have comfy little spots where you can sit and read while you’re there, which will maximise the value of your visit and give your kids a sense that going to the library is an event in itself.

Be Topical

Kids often like books when they have context to their lives. If they’ve watched a film about space, find a book on the same subject so they can learn more. If they’re currently mad about dinosaurs or cooking or a sport, encourage them to read about the subject as this will help improve their knowledge and vocabulary.

Do you have any tips for getting kids to become book-lovers or fun ideas for how to celebrate World Book Day? I’d love to hear them, so please do leave me a comment below.