Reading Eggs have hatched fun in our home (a TOS Crew Review)

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Our latest review is a reading program, Reading Eggs.  Until we started this review, I had not heard of this program (we really don’t live under a rock, I promise).  Since then, I have seen Reading Eggs & Reading Eggspress talked about all over the internet.  Does it live up to the hype?  In one word, yes.  For many words, keep reading….

In case you haven’t heard just what Reading Eggs is, let me tell you a bit.  It is an online (ad free) supplemental reading site.  Each child progresses through at their own pace.  Through a series of lessons, new skills are learned.  The activities are fully interactive and varied.  What does that mean?  Your child does not just sit and watch a lesson, but participates fully.  Even though the particular skill (letter sound, etc.) has repeated activities to learn and reinforce it, the activities are different so it doesn’t feel like boring repetition.  The different activities also use various means so that any type of learner can benefit.  The activities are based on much research (the five elemental skills – phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension – you can read all about this on the site).  The program calls itself supplemental, but I believe a child could learn to read through the lessons and activities presented.

The program can be started with a child who is interested but not reading yet.  Your child of any ability can take a placement test to see where they should begin (if not beginning at the first level).  Reading Eggs goes through a 3rd grade reading level.  For further reading supplement beyond this (comprehension, etc.) the Reading Eggspress program continues nicely.  

I have learners all of the spectrum with regards to reading ability.  After having my 6 year old beginning reader check this out with me, I chose to use Reading Eggs with my 4 year old daughter.  She is very interested in learning and has little to no exposure with any reading instruction.  She has watched some videos on letters and sounds and has been an eager listener to everything I or her sisters read aloud.  We began at the beginning for her.  She loves this program!  Her brother would have been frustrated because he was put at the beginning and dislikes having to repeat what he knows.  Maybe we had a glitch with the assessment, I just know he did not want to work at the beginning where he was placed.  It has been a mostly great fit for his younger sister though.  Two of my older girls are working on the Reading Eggspress level.  Be watching for that review in the future.

Reading Eggs has a map for your child to track their progress through each level.  They can “go backward” and revisit previous lessons, but their progress is determined by mastering the current lesson.  In the beginning levels, I am not too pleased with this.  My daughter is just not ready for blending.  She is loving all the activities.  She is learning the letters, their sounds, how to “write” them following the dot-to-dot, etc.  I wish she could progress through all of the letters and phonemes.  Some children come to their readiness for blending later, not on the “schedule” expected.  This has recently been a little frustrating for her.  She is ready for some new information, but the program won’t let her get any further until she masters the activities that require blending.  We could cheat the system and I could help her with this part.  I want her to be able to feel confident in her work and not get used to Mommy bailing her out.

She has had some difficulty with the mouse use (dragging and dropping in some of the activities, or chasing after the letter when it pops up, etc).  She still loves working on this and asks daily to “do her school”.  I do require her to work on lessons for a time (15 minutes or until she gets frustrated) then she can click on the school house to have some fun with the activities found here.  These are mostly fun little activities, I haven’t seen anything that reinforces what she is learning–at least directly.  I do like that she is using the mouse more, so is practicing those skills if nothing else.  There are also activity sheets that you can print to reinforce the lessons.  One for each of the 10 lessons per map x 12 maps means there are 120 printable activities.  The ones we checked out actually are a few activities – including writing the letters/words learned per lesson.  I really like this off-line component.  In a single computer household, these sort of extras extending the learning off-screen are important.

From what we have seen in these earliest lessons, I think Reading Eggs would make a great app for a device (tablet, my iPod Touch, etc.).  All of those mouse issues?  no problem if she is just using her finger.  The element of writing the letter would be a much better match if it was actually finger-written on a touch screen.  I don’t know enough about the later activities to know if they would all translate to a touch screen.  I think at least the lessons on letter introduction and phonemic awareness would be awesome.  Let the parent choose how to advance through the phonemes, with or without requiring blending mastery etc. and it would be perfect!  I’d pay for that app!  (If you know me, well, you know I don’t pay for apps)

So here’s the important information for you to check out Reading Eggs for yourself.  There is a 14-day free trial (no credit card required–I love that!)  Subscriptions are available for 6 or 12 months.  The prices are $49.95 and $79.95 respectively.  If you have more than one child you want to use reading eggs, add them to the same account before purchasing and get 50% off the subscription prices for them.  When you decide to purchase a subscription, you will just convert the trial–your child doesn’t have to start over-yay!

Many other TOS Crew families reviewed Reading Eggs or Reading Eggspress.  Read more reviews by checking on the Crew blog.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a free trial to Reading Eggs for the purpose of review.  I was not required to write a positive review; the opinions expressed are my own.
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