Reading Eggs is an online scheme for learning to read using fun games and lessons. I was asked to review it but had actually already been using it for years so really can vouch for how great it is! My son is now 6, but when he was nearly 4 he started showing an interest in reading. We’d always read books together and he was interested in letters etc. but he really wanted to read, and I was hesitant to teach him too much, knowing that when he got to school it could just end up confusing him. Reading Eggs was recommended to me as although it was originally an Australian website, it mirrors the way phonics are taught in the UK and so is a fantastic introduction.
It starts off by assessing where your child is now with a quick test, then places them on the relevant map according to their ability which is great because it means it’s not too easy, nor too hard. The maps start at basic letter/sound learning and become progressively harder, with each map being made up of a series of lessons that focus on a particular sound, or set of sounds. These are usually linked to a particular character, with a song and a story at the end, which my kids loved. In fact they still sing some of the songs now, nearly 3 years after first starting using it! The lessons are simple and fun and most importantly thorough. They start with a particular concept, for example looking at the -er sound, then explore it in a number of ways. Even for non-readers, the games are easy to pick up and get to grips with.
Whilst doing the lessons, children earn eggs which they can then spend on other activities. Aside from the map, there are loads of things to do in the playroom and other areas of the site. Most of the games are fun and educational and both my kids enjoyed playing them.
When Felix started school he was able to read well, and I believe Reading Eggs played a large part in this. I like to think that we helped a little too but he loved playing it so much and just ploughed through the lessons, thoroughly enjoying them all. It took him about six months but in that time he learnt so much, and when he got to school, we found that what he’d learnt from Reading Eggs was reinforced in the classroom. I have recommended it to many other parents over the years.
Iris has been a bit different – she just started school but couldn’t read when she started. She’s always liked stories and is very imaginative but has never had the same obsessive approach to learning that Felix had, and did occasionally find some of the games a little frustrating because occasionally she would have to repeat one if she hadn’t quite got to grips with it. It’s less in her nature to do something over and over (she gets this from me), so she was less inclined to want to work at something, and more likely to spend time in the playroom instead. However, she still enjoyed playing, and now she is at school, is coming on in leaps and bounds. I do think that even though she wasn’t as into Reading Eggs as Felix was, she learnt a lot more from it than she realised and it’s just a matter of gaining confidence.
As well as Reading Eggs, the website offers Reading Eggspress for more fluent readers and Mathseeds games.
With a free trial period when you subscribe, there really is nothing to lose. Children can start at around age 3 and get so much from it both in terms of a great foundation for reading and basic IT skills.
To subscribe, or for more information, take a look at www.readingeggs.co.uk. Use code UKB25RET for a free 4 week free trial instead of the usual 2 weeks!