Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Reading Eggs Review

Now, it's not often that I go all serious on you, but I am 100% serious when I say that this review is about one of  the best reading resources I've ever come across, and I used to teach in primary schools so there's some serious weight behind that statement.  I am also 100% serious when I say that I believe that learning to read is the most important academic skill a child can learn.  So do read on if you're interested in teaching your child to read or enhancing their existing reading skills.

Rory and I have been trialling Reading Eggs; an online program which teaches children to read at their own rate with a series of lessons full of games, puzzles, stories and songs.  He's been interested in letters and words for quite a while now, and I have taught him a lot of letter sounds and how to segment words into different sounds already.  Given this interest, I thought that Reading Eggs would be appropriate for him.  It's suitable for children aged 3-7 (with Reading Eggspress available for 7-13 year olds), and your child completes a small test at the beginning to judge their level so they start in the right place.



For children who are not yet ready for phonics, there is the Play Room area, which contains lots of fun games and activities to help with mouse control and observation, which is perfect for pre-school children and a lot of fun.  Rory has spent a ridiculous amount of time in the Kitchen area of this section creating virtual pizzas and fruit salads.  He enjoys this so much, that I sometimes give him a pad of paper, a pencil and an apron and send him round the room to take orders from everybody so he can play restaurants.  He dutifully scribbles away on the pad and then goes and knocks up a virtual feast for all - brilliant for putting writing in context.

As he had phonic knowledge already, we started the lessons as well, which are recommended for Reception age upwards.  If your child has recently started school, I'd say these lessons are a must as they consolidate everything that is learnt in phonics lessons.  Rory is only just 3, but he still finds the lessons really engaging and easy to understand.  He sits on my knee to do them, so I'm always on hand if he doesn't understand something and I offer him lots of encouragement.  The lessons are bright, fun, obviously good quality and last about 20 minutes, which is the amount of time that tends to be dedicated to phonics each day at school.  The y focus on letter sounds, single words and sentences, just as would happen in school, so they complement existing learning really well.  They are presented by animated characters - so far we have met Sam the Ant and Jazz the Cat and there is a lot of variety throughout sessions, so he doesn't get bored.  He absolutely loves them.  Every day he begs me to "learn his letters" and gets so excited to see what he'll be doing today.  "The best thing ever is when Mummy lets me learn my letters!" he shouted at playgroup the other day, making me look like the sort of awful pushy parent who keeps her child in a box and only lets him come out to do calculus for fun.  That is how much he loves doing them.

But do they work?  Well, that's a big fat yes.  Rory's made a lot of progress already and is becoming really confident in deciphering and spelling out words himself.  Because he's only in pre-school for 15 hours a week and I'm at home with him the rest of the time, I top up by doing little activities with him off the computer to keep track of where he's up to (again, I am NOT that pushy parent - I promise we only do stuff he enjoys and that he wants to do).  Here he is the other day doing a word building sticking activity.  He completed it entirely without any help.  I'm really impressed - this is the sort of thing I'd do with a mid ability reception class at this time of year, not a 3 year old.  And he's bright, but he's not the next Einstein or anything - it's definitely down to Reading Eggs that he can do this already.  This might be making me sound a bit of a smug parent.  Believe me, I was anything but smug when he started shouting "C for Coke!  N for Nuggets!  B-I-G M-A-C" the other day.


I think what I like the most about it is that you can keep track of your child's strengths and weaknesses.  Rory's brilliant at phonics and word building, but clueless re: sentence building at the moment.  But that's fine - if things start getting too tricky, I can just go back and choose a lesson he's done already to re-cap or bide some time before going any further, and if he starts getting frustrated, we can just switch back to using the Play Room and have a break from the lessons.

In fact, the only negative things I can think to say about the whole experience are that occasionally a couple of the puzzles can be a bit glitchy, but that's quite rare, and that I would quite happily smack the Jazz the Cat character in the face with a P-A-N.

If you'd like to try Reading Eggs yourself, go here and have a look: http://readingeggs.co.uk/ It generally costs £39.95 for a full years subscription, which I think is well worth it.  there are often discounts available too, so look out for them.  And just for you, I have a code for a free extended 5 week trial (they usually offer 2 week long free trials, so you get an extra 3 weeks with this code):   UKB24MBT

Do give it a try and let me know what you think.  5 weeks is definitely long enough to make a huge difference, so see what you think.







I was not paid for this review.  Rory and I were offered a 5 week trial of Reading Eggs in exchange for a review if we liked it.  I was under no obligation to write a review at all.

17 comments:

  1. I am certainly going to look this up as my eldest has ADHD and mild autism and it has seriously hindered his learning ability, he is a bright little boy but on paper he is over 2 years behind. He will be 9 at Christmas and has convinced everyone he can read - and dont get me wrong he can, he is very clever in that he uses a mixture of guessing, reading from the pictures and remembering the words. My year 1 little boy is really getting into the reading and when practicing his phonics with him, it became apparent that my nearly 9 year old infact does not recognise the basics like 'ai', 'ea' etc which is quite alarming and certianly explains his lack of progress with his writing and spelling! Thanks for the great review and the code

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    1. To help make learning to read fun and engaging, our reading program includes lesson stories that are matched to the progress of your child's reading abilities.

      These lessons stories are part of the learning program, and comes with colorful illustrations to make learning reading fun and engaging for you and your child.

      These are the exact same stories and step-by-step lessons that we used to teach our own children to read!

      Find out here: Teach Your Child To Read?

      Best rgs

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  2. Thank you for this! My lazy DD2 is utterly captivated by this and begs to be allowed to 'do reading!'

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  3. Both my girls use the Reading Eggs program. They love it. It has really helped them come along in leaps and bounds.

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  4. Sorry to disagree but everything I have researched recently about synthetic phonics best practice indicates you shouldn't teach letter names until letter sounds are well established. The sample lesson in Reading Eggs contains a letter name. I'm not a teacher but a parent of a child who struggles to read and I've had to research this area to get to the bottom of his problems. The Reading Research Foundation is a UK not-for-profit organisation focusing on the promotion of synthetic phonics as a primary tool for teaching reading, writing and spelling. It has useful information on phonics in general, links to materials and resources, and a forum with some very informative threads and helpful members.

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    1. I agree - the use of letter names in the early lessons is something I didn't like. I just disregard them and continue to use letter sounds only with my son in follow up phonics work that we do together. He hasn't seemed confused by it.

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  5. mr anonymous 12th march booo to you

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  6. All our kids learn differently. Reading Eggs didn't cut it for my son and I was worried about the poor quality of the graphics. He's a very smart boy and learnt very early alphabet and phonics thanks to the Leap Frog videos. He also loves playing Bugs & Buttons, which has amazing graphics, calming and beautiful musics and smart

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  7. We have have found the Reading Eggs part to be very good with easy to follow structured lessons. Although I do have a problem with them saying they have downloadable lesson plans. I called them up and asked where they were as I could not find them. Turns out they are the printable activity sheets. These are NOT lessons plans they are just plain old activity sheets which, incidentally, nobody in their right mind would attempt to print out. They have huge blocks of colour and big graphics on them. 2 or 3 of these will drain your printer cartridge/toner big style in return for very little learning gain for the child. I have a huge problem with them advertising that they have lessons plans. This is false advertising.

    Once my child moved on the next stage (Reading Eggspress) we did not like it. There is a huge jump in ability from the Reading Eggs lessons to the Eggpress section. Also the focus shifts from teaching to testing. For example my child did a spelling activity that asked him to find the word that was not an adverb. What??? Nowhere in the course does it even attempt to teach what an ordinary verb is let alone an adverb (or even a noun or adjective for that matter). Yes the first section of Reading Eggs is great but I do not take kindly to paying for a site that tests a child on what they think they should already know and does not attempt to teach them anything. If I had known this I would not have paid for another year subscription. Not impressed. The Eggspress section is also a pain to navigate, too "gamey" and focused heavily on graphics. Also a lot of children do NOT like timed activities - I don't know why teachers seem to think they do. So thumbs up from us for the Eggs bit (largely) but thumbs down for the Eggspress section.

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    1. Anonymous 11 Feb 2014 @ 20.32...There's a new world been added to reading eggs...I think as a go between platforms. We've not tried it yet, but maybe this is the solution to your problem. Possibly worth a look as you've paid subscript already.

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  8. I've tried the two week free trial with my 5 yr old boy (just finished reception and a weak/uninterested reader just about managing ORT level 2 books). He didn't engage with it at all and refused to do it - I think it felt a bit too slow for him with too much repetition of each action. He does however love the "teach your monster to read" website (two different free games - he did the harder one) and has asked multiple times if he can play the monster game :) I need to find something else similar now...

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  9. I had a play around. It has kids just using the first sound, which as far as I know is not synthetic phonics.
    My little one tried Phonics Hero - www.phonicshero.com. Was purely synthetic phonics so he found it easier. As far as I can see - Reading Eggs is better once your kid has the basic sounds.

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  10. We did the trial. He learned from it. I didnt purchase. Why? Because this learning system contains potty humor. Such as a cat passing gas. I can do without the corruption. There is plenty of that on television and in public schools. I reject reading eggs for injecting garbage into learning.

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  12. My twins LOVED it!! They would do it for HOURS!! So I got curious (or, suspicious) and checked on them more often. OK, I did not sit with them through and through, But when ever I checked on them, they were playing some kind of game. SO MUCH FUN!! LEARN TO READ WHILE PLAYING GAMES!!! I don't know if it's too much fun, but one example of the games was to click all the letter E's from a bowl of alphabet soup. Oh, did I tell you they are in 3rd grade, not 3 years old???

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  13. I am fairly certain that ANY programme that is enthusiastically promoted, has children sitting at a screen will provide an opportunity for a child to learn -whether it is reading or something else. As mentioned earlier the synthetic phonics debate needs to be taken in to account. The question parents need to ask is the best programme for my child. Just because it is popular doesn't mean it is based on how children learn.

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  14. You need to sit with your child to use this site. It is not a edusitter site. When used properly it's great.

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