At Easter last year I signed both kids up for a free trial of the reading eggs website, initially for my kids (who grew up with iPhones and iPads around the house and owned a mobigo each) the art of using a mouse was a hurdle. We persevered and with me initially helping them to move the mouse (and hubby slowing down the mouse speed on the laptop) Ben started doing lessons, starting at the start with the letter m. Ciaran got to grips with mouse control in the playroom and quickly demanded the right to start lessons, so he played around with the letter m as well.
I was impressed that the pronunciation and spelling of words was the UK English version as my iPad was full of apps that used American-English.
Each lesson is made up of several parts, the first being an introduction to a new letter, sound or word where the child is rewarded by Sam the ant (or later a different friend) singing them a cheery song. They move into writing the letter on screen, finding it in a grid, identifying words that start with that letter etc.. And end with a book, initially just a letter book, later stories and non fiction books.
By the end of the 2 week trial Ben was almost ready to finish the first map (10 lessons) so I bought a six month subscription and chucked in a half price subscription for Ciaran who by either luck or 2 year old intuition had ploughed through a couple of lessons. When Ben came to the revision lesson on the map it all seemed so hard, he’d gone from recognising letters (which he could already do) to recognising simple 3 letter words like cat, the speed seemed so challenging for my little boy but some how he managed to hit the right letters and words in time. He then managed to pass the test and graduate onto the next map.
This allowed him access to his own house which he could decorate using the eggs he’d won or he could dress his avatar up in new clothes. Having an incentive to use the lessons rather than playroom (Ben likes retail therapy!) we carried on.
Ciaran spent most of his reading eggs time in the nursery, enjoying listening to the nursery rhymes and short stories. When he did fancy doing ‘big boy’ reading eggs he often repeated a lesson, reinforcing his knowledge of a letter or short word. By using the odd free code I extended their subscription to the new year and today had to decide whether to extend their subscription. Ben is on lesson 61 and has unlocked a castle where he does reading comprehension lessons, he has been taking driving tests for a while (practicing letters and sight words). Ciaran is insanely jealous of the content Ben has unlocked and is now on lesson 10.
Obviously I’ve re-subscribed both boys, Ciaran is recognising letters and little words like cat and Sam, Ben’s spelling of words and reading abilities have improved and I’m sure that having another way to practice than just reading with Mum has helped him. I used to print off free worksheets for the kids to practice writing the letters or words after a lesson but have decided not only to renew my subscription but to buy book sets for the kids to save me printing out activity sheets.
The only downsides is that reading eggs is a flash site so not iPad friendly, while you can get it in rover (a flash friendly browser) trying to play it in rover is a PITA and it won’t work on the Nabi 2 tablets the kids got for Christmas as they block pop-ups (to avoid children getting dodgy adverts) and the site runs via pop ups. A new maths site is being developed which apparently will run on the iPad or PC so maybe at some point reading eggs will be re-programmed in a similar way (or better still will be made compatible with the Nabi 2 system leaving my iPad in my hands!).