Samson’s Classroom is an online language arts software for kids in grades K-5. The program uses games to build skills through sight words, spelling, and reading. The program also includes printable flashcards and worksheets to enhance learning.
You can purchase a home subscription for 1 student for $30 per year or a family subscription for up to 4 children for $50 per year.
We received a free family subscription to try.
What does this product include?
This online program contains 3 sections:
Sight Words with Samson-In this section there are 5 steps for each section of sight words. The student must complete each section with a perfect score to receive a green check mark for that section. One of the sections consists of Samson reading the word and then spelling it. The student must then choose the correct letters from the letter choices listed in order to spell the sight word. In another section, the student must correctly identify the word that is read by Samson and select the correct treasure chest containing that word.
Spelling with Samson-The spelling portion of the program has 4 components. The first section has a list of the spelling words for the student to review. Next, the student can play a karate game in which Samson must karate chop the missing letters from the words. The third portion is another game in which Samson must race through a field and collect letters to spell words without getting caught by a spider who tries to tie him up and stop his progress. The last section of the spelling portion is another game in which Samson jumps across ice bergs if the student correctly spells each word.
Reading with Samson-There are 4 levels in this section. Each level has a list of stories with comprehension questions. By correctly answering the comprehension questions, the student earns hammer points to play a carnival game in which Samson tries to ring the bell by striking with a hammer.
How did we use this product?
I let Tiger work through some of the sight word sections. Because the program often spells out the letters for each of the words, he was able to complete some of the sections on his own. Sometimes he required my help or asked Curly to help him. The other sections were a little too difficult for Tiger at this point.
Because Curly is a strong reader, she breezed through the sight words section.
I had her practice her spelling daily in the spelling section. While you can enter your own words, I simply used the provided word lists. The 1st grade lists were a little easy for Curly, but I noticed that she made many simple mistakes because she was trying to move too quickly without paying attention. So, I let her work through the levels slowly, practicing her spelling and making sure she was paying attention.
Curly enjoyed the reading section the most. She read the stories to Bee and Tiger and then answered the comprehension questions. I realized that she was reading so quickly that she was missing important details in the story. I had her read the stories more than once before she began the questions and within a week, she was paying more attention to details as she read the stories. She went from missing half of the questions from not paying attention, to being able to correctly answer most of the questions through a more careful reading. This really showed me that she was missing many important details in her reading. We’ll be spending more time on reading comprehension for her!
What didn’t we like?
Curly did not enjoy the spider game in the spelling portion. The spider always caught up with her within a few seconds of her beginning the game. However, once she had been caught, she learned that the spider usually left her alone. In addition, she had difficulty controlling Samson with the arrow keys. Apparently, you select the direction based on Samson’s perspective on the field and not on your own perception of direction. Curly did not understand that concept. And I have to admit, I had a really tough time controlling Samson during this game. I think I rammed him into the wall enough times to give him a migraine! Apparently, we’re not very video game savvy at our house. We could only get Samson to run in aimless circles or crash him into walls. It was very difficult for us to collect all the letters!
One of the other games in the spelling portion gave Curly some difficulty as well-Crunch Time. She had trouble with this ice berg game in which the walrus eats the ice out from under you while you try to correctly type and spell the word that is read to you by Samson. Curly could easily spell the words but had a difficult time under the pressure of the walrus eating her iceberg. It made her extremely anxious and upset. The other difficult aspect of this game was the fact that the student had to quickly and correctly type the word. Curly does not know all the letter placements on the keyboard so she spent all of her time hunting for letters rather than typing them. She spent most of her time in the water as the walrus ate her ice bergs out from under her.
The sight word portion seemed a little on the easy side. In some of the activities, the word was dictated followed by the letters to spell the word. This was not challenging for Curly, even for longer words. Plus, I lean more toward a phonics-based approach rather than a strictly sight-word based approach. So, this section of the program was a little monotonous for Curly.
What did we like?
The program is simple and straightforward. This allowed Curly to focus on her spelling and reading skills without being distracted.
The reading portion of the program was an excellent comprehension exercise for Curly and showed me a weakness she had in her comprehension skills. The leveled stories were great practice for her and they contained an appropriate number of questions-enough to challenge her to recall details in the story but not too many to frustrate or overwhelm her.
The sight word section would work well for a younger child since the words are spelled out clearly. Tiger was able to complete many of these activities by himself.
The program can be done independently if the student has some basic reading skills.
What did we think overall?
Curly enjoyed Samson’s classroom and it was a program she could use without my help. I felt that the reading comprehension exercises were probably the most valuable part of the program for her. We’ll continue to use the program as some fun enrichment for Curly.
Tiger wasn’t quite ready for the program (except for some parts of the sight words section) so he’ll only use it when Curly is nearby to help him out.
This program would be best for a child who likes to learn in an interactive environment and who enjoys computer driven games. It can be a great supplement to language arts studies!
See what other Crew Members thought about Samson’s Classroom on the Crew Blog!
Disclaimer: I received a free membership to Samson’s Classroom in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.