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Sometimes we feel like we need a change of pace. When we were offered a six month subscription to Reading Eggs, I thought that sounded like a fun change for my two youngest daughters. Looking over the Reading Eggs website, I realized that it can be used for more than beginning reading skills!
Reading Eggs:We tried Reading Eggs long ago, and I remember my child enjoying it. We don't use a lot of online programs, especially with the younger children, so this sort of fell off my radar. But sometimes a little change is helpful! My youngest catches on to everything so quickly that she likes to think she's an authority on many things. That is a stumbling block when it comes to reading... she does WONDERFUL, but slowing down to follow the steps to decode words she doesn't know is nearly torture. I hoped that using Reading Eggs as a supplement would provide a different way for her to learn, and take a little stress away from both of us. We still do her regular reading curriculum daily.
Reading Eggs was easy to set up. I created a username and password, logged in, and set up two child accounts. My first grader uses the Reading Eggs portion, which is intended for ages 3-7. This program teaches a child to read, and has 120 lessons in groups of 10. Each group or level of 10 lessons is contained in a map that the child progresses through. The first thing the program had N do was a placement test. I don't know if the test was conservative, or if N had trouble using the computer mouse, but it placed her a long way below where I felt she should have been. When she started doing the lessons, she said it was too easy, and it just seemed like wasting time on a video game. So I adjusted her lesson to one I thought was more appropriate. She enjoyed it more after that!
There are spelling lessons built into the program, and they are independent of reading. Meaning that my child who reads above average for her age but barely started spelling this year isn't frustrated by spelling words with more difficult phonograms. There are also vocabulary and comprehension stories in Storylands, and tests that cover phonics, sight words, and vocabulary called Driving Tests.
The parent portion of the site gives me stats such as N's estimated reading age, phonics skills, and sight words that she knows. It also tells what she has recently completed.
When N passed her first map, she was thrilled! She received a certificate which she begged me to print off immediately. This excitement has continued. The program also gives Golden Eggs for accomplishments, but she loves having a paper certificate to hang on her wall. The Golden Eggs can be used to play games and purchase items in the shop to change the look of their avatar and house. There are a lot of extras available, but my kids didn't seem too interested in them. Kids who use tablets and video games more might really enjoy these extras.
|Many lessons referred to "chips", which confused my American child. I had to explain this meant fries.|
I was pleased to find that each lesson has bonus printable material to go with it. That means my kids can continue their lessons offline! The worksheets are fun and go along with what the lesson teaches. Most of the worksheets are in black and white, but there are some in color too. Other bonus material includes a very helpful parent guide that explains how to use the website and what each lesson covers for Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress. This guide was VERY helpful in making sure my child was starting at the correct lesson. There are also cartoon videos to watch.
The lessons are LONG, but they are broken into parts. The child can stop and come back the next day to do the rest of the lesson. I prefer that my daughters did it that way, otherwise they were spending 30-45 minutes with a tablet or computer. That's a lot for this age.
One thing that bothered N is that not all of the letter sounds are included. One lesson was telling her that A says a short sound and a long sound. She said, "Mom! They don't know that A says /ah/ too!" She also noticed that Reading Eggs didn't include Y when listing vowels. She has learned that Y is sometimes a vowel. This is not a negative thing, it just means that Reading Eggs teaches a different method than we are used to.
About a week before I posted this review, Reading Eggs sent me an email about a new download in their bonus section... homeschool week-by-week program guides! These are really cool, they outline what lessons your child should be doing each week according to their grade level. They also tell about other subjects and give suggested reference books so you can create a year's worth of lesson plans (36 weeks per grade) using these sheets!
How to access:We were able to use Reading Eggs on all of our devices, a Windows computer with a mouse, a Windows laptop, a Chromebook, and Android tablets. There is not an app, but we placed a shortcut on the home screen of the tablets so the girls could tap that (it's cute... it shows up as an egg!) and go directly to the website. The website was easy to use on all devices, but on the tablet we discovered that sometimes it does not show the complete screen (and then they can't see what to do) in landscape. With the tablet turned to portrait they could see the whole screen. Once I logged in with my parent account and had the browser save the password, the girls could easily choose themselves in the program and be taken to their current lesson. They didn't need to remember usernames or passwords.
Reading Eggspress:My 4th grade daughter received access as well, but she is using the Reading Eggspress portion of the program. This is intended for kids ages 7-13. This program focuses more on comprehension, grammar, and honing reading and spelling skills. It contains longer stories, more advanced games, and interactive activities. My daughter loves the stories in this program, and she was excited to tell me all about the dictionary included with them. It allows children to look up a few words in the story to make sure they know what they mean.
Again, children progress through a map, but these contain five lessons each. The parent dashboard shows me how well my child is doing on quizzes, how they have progressed, what their Lexile level is, and how many online books she has read. There is also a "progress by category" section so I can tell how my child does on vocabulary, text analysis, and literal and inferential questions in the lessons. The lessons contain both fiction and nonfiction topics in a fun variety of texts.
Other sections include English Skills, which contains spelling lessons, the Stadium, where children can compete with other children online, a library with over 2000 books to read online, and a place to redeem rewards.
When we set up her Reading Eggspress account, we got a bit frustrated. We could NOT get the website to let her complete the placement test. We tried everything, and it would not let us click on Lesson 1 (which should start the test for a new user). I had her do the placement and then the last level for Reading Eggs to see if that would trigger Reading Eggspress, but nothing worked. I finally gave up and let her use Reading Eggs. The next day when we started the computer, I ran into the same problems again, but this time Reading Eggspress allowed me to change her level. So I picked one that I thought fit her level (following the lesson overview in the Parent Guide from the Bonus section), and she was finally able to use the site. She said that Reading Eggspress is SO MUCH better for her than Reading Eggs was. The activities are funner, and the books are longer. She's been excited to use the program daily since then! (I know one other crew member had this issue, and when she contacted Customer Service they helped her right away and she was able to reset the program to do the placement test for her child. So don't hesitate to ask for help!)
She also has printables available with each lesson, and she liked reading these stories and doing the worksheets too. This lesson was about making predictions. (There are also spelling worksheets available.)
Mathseeds:We also got to try out Mathseeds, the math program for ages 3-9 available through Reading Eggs. My girls had fun with this program too. I also found printables for the math lessons.
|Find the number seventeen|
My 1st grader's lessons had her do various activities, while my 4th grader had to watch a short video clip then do activities based on the concept introduced in the video. It seemed a little easy for her, but that's probably because she's in the upper range for this math. The lessons are organized into levels, so your child can do what is appropriate for their grade or ability.
To sum up some important details about this program:
- Lessons are broken down into sections so child isn't spending a lot of time online
- Printable worksheets reinforce lessons
- Great/fun/interesting age-appropriate lessons and materials
- Kids LOVE it!
- Easy to use
- Contains reading, spelling, math, comprehension, and more! With Homeschool Guides you can plan a full year of curriculum.
One program that we did not use is Reading Eggs Jr. It is an early learning program for ages 2-4. That means Reading Eggs can help kids with their reading skills from ages 2 to 13!
Reading Eggs is offering my readers 4 weeks of free access to the program so you can try it out for yourself! This offer will expire on November 30, 2017, so sign up soon!