Friday, February 24, 2012

TOS Review: Reading Eggs

Reading Eggs is an online website that teaches children to read through fun activities and games. The Reading Eggs program offers various levels from First Steps for preschoolers, those getting Ready For School and Fun Practice Makes Perfect for kids up to about the 2nd grade (about age 7). They also have a section for older students ages 7-13 called Reading Eggspress that helps them continue on in their reading journey. This offers more advanced skills like reading comprehension, spelling, vocabulary skills and others. This last month we had the pleasure of reviewing Reading Eggs and we found it to be quite enjoyable.

As I mentioned above, Reading Eggs has basically two different categories, Reading Eggs that teaches actual reading skills, and Reading Eggspress that offers advanced reading activities. If you are not a beginner reader you can take a placement test to find out where you will begin. Since Gess is 10, but has special needs, she tested in at both levels. Because the majority of her skills are more advanced we spent most of our learning time in the Reading Egsspress area but Gess really loved going to the Reading Eggs section of the site too. In fact, I would often find her going there on her own.

Since we homeschool I wanted to use this to supplement our learning day so I would often have Gess do some lessons during school time in both Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress. When you click on the login screen you get to choose which section you would like to go to.

Once you click on the Reading Eggspress side you get to the floating Island. The Island rotates around as you choose which area you want to explore. There is a library where you can read books and take comprehension quizzes when you are done, a gym where you exercise your reading skills, a stadium where you play games (that require reading skills) against the computer or other players, and a mall where you can spend the eggs you earn doing your activities.

We spent a lot of time at the library. Here you can choose a book from the entire library list or limit the book selection to your reading age level (although you have to reset the search bar limit each time you enter). They have fiction and non fiction books and so far but we have found them all to be really interesting and fun. Here is a cute one Gess enjoyed.

One of the reasons I loved the library so much was that at the end of each book it has some questions to see how well you retained the information in the book. As Gess has gotten into chapter books it's hard for me to tell if she really understood what she read without me also taking the time to read the book and ask her about it. Well, I need her free reading time to be free for me too so I can get chores or other things done. With Reading Eggspress she could read a book and answer questions about it and her score would let me know how well she did! (I do, however, need to watch her take the quiz because the parental dashboard that lets me track her activity only tells me her average score, not how she does on each individual activity.) Now she would not always get the 80% they would like her to have to pass, but even with her special needs she hasn't really gotten below 60%. I love the way the quizzes are on a note pad right over the book and each page simply floats away when you are done with it. Here is one of the quizzes that she took.

I also liked the comprehension gym. I have been working on teaching Gess how to use a dictionary and this hands on, interactive way certainly makes it much more fun.

Of course you do more than just dictionary work in the gym. The entire interactive system that they have has been really well done and we find it to be a great way for Gess to learn.

Since Gess tested into both sections of the program we also implemented Reading Eggs into our day as well. While it was basically review for her she really enjoyed it immensely. (As I said before I have often found her just playing there, even when we were not doing school.) I think it is a good thing to have lessons where the kids can continually do them successfully and because of that this made it a fun and rewarding way for Gess to review some basic reading skills.

I was pretty impressed with the system myself. One thing kids with special needs struggle with is repetition. While repetition can be important for learning some programs repeat lessons so many times it begins to frustrate or bore Gess. This program was not like that at all! They only had you do each activity a short number of times before moving on. It really kept Gess motivated and she never got frustrated or hung up anywhere.

After you choose to go into the Reading Eggs section of the website you don't see a floating island, instead you see your map. Here is a shot of the lesson paths. This character is on the 8th activity in lesson 71. On the left hand bar you can see icons for other areas of Reading Eggs.

The interactive lessons were quite fun. Here is one where you have to make a sentence by putting the words in the correct order.

Every time you complete an activity or lesson you earn eggs. You can spend those eggs decorating your house or playing in the arcade among many other things.

On the Reading Eggs website they have an area where parents can track what each of their children have been doing on the site. The parent dashboard is helpful but as a homeschooling mom I wish it had more information. Maybe that's asking too much. Still, you can log on and see how many activities your child has done, what lesson they are on, how many eggs they have earned, how many tests they have taken, some average scores and other information. However, since I have a daughter with special needs who isn't always good at communicating to me what she has done I would just like more information than that, but not enough so that it would keep me from coming back or recommending the site.

Overall I think Reading Eggs is a great way to teach children to read. They have done an excellent job making games and activities that the kids really enjoy and are excited to play. Having your child desire to learn is most of the battle, and Gess never minded heading over to Reading Eggs or Reading Eggspress. In fact, she looked forward to it. There wasn't any part of what the kids did that I did not like or think needed improvement.

Reading Eggs offers a few subscription options. You can subscribe for a year for $75.00 which is only $1.40 per week or for 6 months is $49.95. The cost is for one child but if you sign up a second or third child up at the same time you receive 50% off their subscription price. Another option is subscribing monthly for $9.95 per child. I personally think the pricing is pretty reasonable and for what you get it's worth the money. You can try it out for FREE by simply signing up for a free trial. (I don't believe there is any credit card information required for the free trial.)

If you want to learn more you can see what other TOS Crew members thought of Reading Eggs or you can visit the Reading Eggs website and give the free trial a whirl so you can see it for yourself.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received a two month subscription to Reading Eggs for giving my honest opinion and assessment of this product in my review.

1 comment:

GraGra said...

You may also be interested to look at . ZooWhiz is a new FREE online learning system for kids aged 5 – 15. It covers maths, reading, spelling, punctuation and grammar. It’s free to use at home and school. Kids parents and teachers are really enthusiastic about it and our user base is growing rapidly.


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