Reading Eggs is Fun!

Reading Eggs DashboardReading Eggs is a very engaging program that helps children learn to read and grow in proficiency. There are two different reading levels available for parents to choose from – Reading Eggs (3-7), Reading Eggspress (7-13). They have also developed Reading Eggs apps that span the entire age category (3-13).

Your child is guided through this world by his own personal egg friend.  Once inside, children meet a full cast of characters including singing ants, cats, bees, snails, frogs and more along the way. It’s very colorful with lots of things to do. Let’s start at the beginning.

A Map to Reading Eggs

The children’s dashboard is divided into multiple parts, as you can see from the picture on the right. The top half, where my son’s pumpkin-headed friend is sitting, contains the level the child is and the number of golden eggs he has acquired.

The next sections (green vertical sidebar), called “Go Places” is your child’s launching pad for various learning activities.  The yellow vertical sidebar is where kids find fun activities and games to play. It is also where they get to spend their golden eggs. At the store, kids can buy new avatars, clothing and accessories.  The blue vertical sidebar is where the kids can get help and listen to music. On the right side of the screen is the map to your child’s lessons.

Reading Eggs: Learning Experience

Reading Eggs’ first lessons focus on sight words (words that don’t lend themselves to easy sounding out).  The lessons build upon each other and there are lots of opportunities to review what was learned in the previous lesson. Parents also have the ability to jump from one lesson to another without a problem. For example, my Furryflash (videogame moniker) and I had a long break between lessons. So instead of starting where we left off I went back to earlier lessons to make sure that he hadn’t forgotten too much.  I’ve worked with some programs that force you to move forward regardless of what I wanted to work on with the kids. There are lots of games and songs to keep a child’s interest in between spelling, phonics work and reading short books at the end.

My son’s favorite spot in the My Stuff section is Reggie’s Shop where he gets to spend his golden eggs. His little avatar has had many incarnations over the past few months.  My favorite section is the Story Factory. Kids get to write books that other Eggsplorers read and rate the stories for prizes.

My Experience with Reading Eggs

Mr. Furryflash enjoyed the early Reading Eggs exercises a lot. As a matter of fact I had to ban him from the site because he was obsessed with collecting Golden Eggs and advancing to see who he would meet next on his reading journey. That is until we hit the 46th lesson.

For a little background —  Furryflash has some auditory issues and is currently enrolled in speech to help him with pronunciation and issues. In my experience, gleaned from two children with auditory issues, they have highly developed visual skills to compensate. Too many images, graphics, etc. can be very distracting for them.  And that’s what happened to Furryflash.

Reading Eggs was enjoyable for him until the 46th level where he went into overload. Reading Eggs has a game that’s similar to Space Invaders. Words are travelling on spaceships and the child is expected to find the target world before it hits the barrier.  The combination of the decoy ships, the real ship, the sound effects and voices proved to be too much for him. After a few minutes of trying to find the target world he was yelling at the game and crying because it wouldn’t be quiet. He hasn’t been back to the site since because he “doesn’t like it.”

So for now we’re concentrating on reading simple books and working on blending, which he has difficulty with, the old-fashioned way. He’s retained much of what he learned in first 45 lessons, so Reading Eggs was good while it lasted. And maybe a few weeks down the road we will go back and visit his Reading Eggs friends and see how they’re doing.

Overall, I do like what Reading Eggs has created, but for a child with any type of learning difference it can be overwhelming and frustrating.

Reading Eggspress

My older daughters did a three-month trial with the older setting and enjoyed it while it lasted. My older child is a voracious reader, so she whizzed through the exercises and spent most of her time on the mini-games and shopping. My middle daughter, Skittymom, liked it, but not enough for her to request that I get a personal subscription for her. I think the spelling (which was a challenge at the time) frustrated her.  Skittymom is a solid reader, but is not a quick one. The timed reading annoyed her a bit, although she got through it without too much difficulty. It made reading a pressurized activity instead of a pleasure.

Overall, I think this is a solid program, as long as you  keep in mind that no reading program is 100% perfect. My one complaint with the program is that it seems to reward speed. Everyone is not a fast reader, even as a proficient adult. So to have timed reading sections seems like a good way to frustrate kids. This program has a lot to offer, but children will benefit even more with a traditional teaching of reading. Nothing beats sitting down with your little one with a beginning book and helping them work through the sounding out process.

Reading a Gift for All Seasons

Couth Buzzard BooksThe term “Summer Reading Program” always make me chuckle. As an affirmed bibliophile I can’t imagine any season that shouldn’t be full of reading. Books have been my life-long friends. I can’t remember not being able to read and can’t imagine what life would be like without my daily reading fix.

However, for many people reading is a chore that you do because you “have to” while you’re in school. And this chore can be tossed out the window once you’ve graduated. For many, reading is something that you do for practical purposes and never for simple enjoyment. How sad. I personally don’t like “Summer Reading” programs because it sounds like a homework assignment. Yuck! Reading should never be a chore, but a grand adventure to undiscovered destinations.

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AVKO Educational Research Foundation

AVKO is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping parents, teachers and researcher to find the best ways to educate children in literacy. There is a plethora of free and low cost resources for families to use to help the children in a variety of ways learn how to read and spell better. One thing that I liked about the program was that it addresses educational challenges in a variety of ways. This is not a one-size fits all grouping of tools.

Recognizing that children have dominant learning styles, they’ve provided auditory, visual and kinesthetic ideas and materials to help parents use whatever works best for their children. There is also a ton of research that is stored on the website, so if you have a question about why something is working (or how to get it to work better) you don’t have far to look.

I think that this is one of the first places parents who are new to homeschooling should visit and sign up for a membership.  Although there are lots of free places to get information for developing a homeschooling curriculum, AVKO has the most comprehensive material that I’ve seen since I began this homeschooling journey with my kids. And I was surprised to learn that many of the resources that are sold in curriculum packs from company’s such as Sonlight and other major companies originated from AVKO.

One of the benefits of membership is that you get additional freebies and access to information that are not available to the general public. The basic membership package is only $25 and you more than get your money’s worth from the free e-books that are available to members.  If you have a variety of ages to work with, I think that the $100 membership is well worth the cost because not only do you get the basic member perks, you also get to view all of the AVKO curriculum materials (with the exception of Sequential Spelling and Engaging Language Kits).  I mean, economically speaking, it’s kind of tough to get purchase all of the materials that you might want. This way you can still read through the information and use it in your homeschool.

I wish that I had known about this resource earlier in the game, but I’m definitely going to avail myself of all the things that it has to offer from this point forward.

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Home Schooling Overview : Benefits of Home Schooling

Teach your children from home; learn the benefits of homeschooling in this free home schooling video from an experienced teacher and education curriculum expert.

Expert: Terry Neven
Contact: www.home-schooling.org
Bio: Terry Neven, founder and principal of the Sunland Christian School, is the executive director of the National Independent Study Accreditation Council.
Filmmaker: Traci Holsey

Duration : 0:1:17

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