Monday, October 16, 2017

Reading Eggs (A Homeschool Crew Review)

If you've surfed the internet looking for ideas for language arts for early elementary students, you've more than likely come across advertisements for the website Reading Eggs.  Geared to help young students learn important reading skills, the website uses colorful animals, sounds and a reward system to guide children through learning phonics and word recognition.

Maybe like me, you used the free 4 week trial they offer a while back but found that it might have been a bit too young for your child.  I thought that too when we originally tried reading eggs and while my kids enjoyed it three years ago, they were beyond reading simple consonant-vowel-Consonant words like Cat and Ant. Well, members of the Review Crew had the opportunity to try Reading Eggs and explore all the new additions that the website has made and while I can say the kids love it just as much as our first time, Mom is happy to see that the website has grown well beyond Cat and Ant and even includes early elementary math.

 Click for the 4 Week Trial

A subscription to the Reading Eggs website gives the subscriber access to four different Reading Eggs programs: Reading Eggs Junior (ages 2-4), Reading Eggs (ages 3-7), and Reading Eggspress (ages 7-13, grades 1-6) and also to MathSeeds (ages 3-9).

How We Used It

We were offered a 6-month subscription for both Ashleigh and Garrett to use all the functions and activities that Reading Eggs offers.  After taking the included Placement test, Garrett started Reading Eggs while Ashleigh started Reading Eggspress. Ashleigh's placement test actually put her towards the middle of the Reading Eggspress program but I decided it would benefit her to start with Map 1 and work her way through the complete program.

Login to the website is easy.  Each child has a tab with their own avatar that they can create along with their name, making it simple for them to select their learning maps. They simply select their tab and click the green "Start" button to take them to the main screen for their program.

Since Garrett is working on Reading Eggs, that tab is raised for him.  But he also has access to the other levels such as Mathseeds if he wanted to work on those lessons.  Since he's concentrating on Reading and typically does well with math, we've been sticking to working through the Reading Eggs portion of the website.

This is the main screen of the Reading Eggs portion of the program.

From this screen, Garrett can choose to work through a lesson, work on the weeks spelling words, take a "driving test" or work on the Story Factory, where he can write a story for submission based on a topic given.   At the bottom row, there are selections where he can go to his "house" (more about that in a few moments), look at awards that he has achieved, play word games, shop for items for his house using the eggs he has won in completing lessons, and other activities to help build his reading and vocabulary.

Lessons follow along a Map, which contains 10 lessons.  Each lesson builds upon the previous lessons, reviewing words learned.  As the student completes the lesson, the egg beside the lesson number hatches with a surprise "critter".  The student's avatar moves around the path giving a visual account of what lesson the student is on and how many lessons are left on each map.  Certificates of Achievements are earned at the completion of the map and taking a quiz over the material covered on the map. Depending on the results of the quiz, students can earn Gold, Silver or Bronze.

When the student backs out of the Map, they are presented with this page, which gives them a few of the same options as the main screen.  It also gives a list of books the student can read in order to get "rare" rewards.   So far, Garrett has read 3 books.  He can also take the driving test, work through a spelling lesson or proceed to the next lesson from this screen.  Or, he can change his avatar here as well.

The Spelling section brings up a set of activities separate from the lesson on the map.  These introduce students to a particular word family (In this case, "amp" words and "ent" words. )  After he moves through the activities, he's given a spelling test where he is required to type 12 words from memory.  Finishing the test rewards the student with a larger amount of golden eggs (which are used for shopping for their avatar or for their house) as well as their choice out of four mystery gifts. These spelling tests have worked really well for Garrett as he prefers to type rather than write his answers out.

The lessons themselves consist of 12 activities. Activities are initially locked - students unlock the next activity upon completing the current activity.  Lessons must also be done in order in order to unlock the next lesson.

Each activity takes only a few minutes and varies each lesson.  This was great for Garrett who has a very short attention span and loses interest in doing the same thing over and over.

The Test Drive portion tests for recognition of common sight words.  Each selection of the correct word sends the little car around a portion of the track as they are tested on 20 sight words.

In addition to the website, teachers are able to print out worksheets for extra practice away from the computer and can be found under the "Bonus Materials" section of the main screen.

Each lesson has roughly six worksheets that are matched with the lesson.  Worksheets are available for Reading Eggs, Reading Eggspress, and Mathseeds. While the worksheets are geared for students a bit younger than Garrett, I found the worksheets helpful to reinforce spelling and writing the words for Garrett.

Each activity that the student completes earns them golden eggs.  These eggs can be used at the shopping mall where they can buy items for their avatar or they can buy items for their house.  Garrett has a weird sense of decorating, but here's his house that he has decorated so far.   (I'm not sure what he saw in that large foot.. lol)

A brand new addition to Reading Eggs is program guides specifically designed to support homeschooling.  These guides are designed for grades Kindergarten through 2nd Grade. These guides help to provide 36 weeks of language arts, mathematics, science and social study using lessons, quizzes, and books from the Reading Eggspress library to create a full online learning curriculum for these lower grades.

Here's a video of Garrett actually using Reading Eggs.

Ashleigh has been using the Reading Eggspress section of the Reading Eggs website.  This portion of the website is geared for students 7 to 13 years of age.  The general idea of this section follows the same layout as the Reading Eggs portion, but the material and animations are less cartoony and more appropriate for older elementary students.

These lessons are focus less on phonics and more on reading comprehension and providing tools to help students read proficiently, such as identifying the main topic of a paragraph.

Originally, when we took the placement test for Ashleigh, she was placed pretty high on the lesson chart (I think she was placed at Lesson 64).  After a few lessons, I made the decision to reset this and start Ashleigh on the first lesson of the 3rd Grade. This wasn't because I thought the material was too tough for her but because I really liked the material being covered and decided she might benefit from the lower level lessons.  I'm glad I did this because the first few lessons have taught her how to make notations while reading to indicate that she understands what is being read and to make words that she is unsure of. It has also taught her how to use context around the unknown words to make an educated guess as to the meaning of the unknown word.

The main screen of Reading Eggspress is set up very similar to that of Reading Eggs, minus thing such as the Racing game for Sight Words.  Students can work on lessons, read books in their library, compete with other children (with the safety of anonymously) on things such as spelling, or they can work on English Skills individually.  Students can shop at the mall to buy clothing for their avatar or furniture for their apartment using golden eggs they have earned.  The apartment is much less "kiddified" then the house in Reading Eggs.  As you can see, Ashleigh has purchased a pet mouse and a pretty background for her balcony with her golden eggs.

The English Skills portion has students work on proper spelling as well as proofreading and correcting mistakes in sentences.  For proficient readers, the questions can be read for the student.  If they are unsure of a word or are maybe less proficient in their reading skills, they can hit the speaker button to have the question read to them.

At the end of these lessons, the student is given a spelling test with ten words that they must spell correctly.  We did find the spelling words to be a bit too easy but I have a feeling that will change as we progress further into this section.

Ashleigh has only completed a few lessons out of this section but I am finding it to be a section that we will probably devote much time too.

Ashleigh has also been using the MathSeeds portion of the website.  This section is for ages 3-9. Ashleigh is on the higher end of this targeted age at 9, but she does struggle with math so we thought it would be good to review some of the skills she's not so comfortable with. MathSeeds offers 175 lessons over 35 Maps that students can explore.  After taking the placement test, Ashleigh was started on lesson 91 which has been giving her a really good review of addition problems. Printable worksheets are also available to accompany each lesson.

This section is right up Ashleigh's alley as it uses lots of cartoon animals, which she absolutely loves.  The animations are really cute but not too "babified".

While I won't be using this strictly for our math curriculum (since we are doing multiplication and division right now), the review has been great for Ashleigh.  This material does fall under common core teaching, which can be a bit confusing for those teaching students tradition math, but for Ashleigh, the presenting of the material in this manner seems to be helping her.

The main screen for Mathseeds is set up much the same as Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress, with a driving test (think animated flash cards) and an award section, a shop and a tree house to decorate.  The Arcade tests math skills in fun games that increase in difficulty as the child progresses and awards acorns (Mathseeds version of the golden eggs) for their performance.  The play section offers counting games in a fun carnival-like theme, but Ashleigh found these a bit too young for her.  (As she says: " knows how to count - duh!!") but I could see younger students being able to enjoy this section a lot.

Reading Eggs has definitely added quite a bit of material to their site since I last looked at it and while I won't use it as a curriculum since my kids are a bit on the older side for it, it has been a very fun tool to use for reviewing skills with Ashleigh. For Garrett, it has really changed his approach to reading as it engages him and keeps him involved with the quick but varying activities that he enjoys.

#hsreviews #readingeggs #learntoread

For more information about Reading Eggs, visit their website and take advantage of their free 4 week trial. You can also find Reading Eggs on the following social media sites:

•   Instagram (handle): readingeggs 

•   Twitter: @readingeggs

Reading Eggs


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