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Friday, February 7, 2014

Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress Review



So when Home & School Mosaics was offered the chance to review it, I gladly said yes, even though I already have my own paid subscription (yes, that's how much we love it around here, but to be totally honest, I got 3 extra months added to my subscription in exchange for this review).  But I promise, this won't be just a glowing, dripping with praise review, because if you know me at all, you know that's not my style, so please, keep reading!

First, I've had the chance to review Reading Eggs before, and in fact that is how I came to be impressed enough with their program that I continued it even when it meant paying for it out of my own pocket-high praise indeed given our limited resources and the large quantity of materials we receive for review.  Since that time, my daughter has completed the Reading Eggs part of the program, which is geared for students aged 3-7 years old and designed to help them learn to read through a series of activities that feel like games but are quite successful at teaching phonics and reading skills.  There are 120 learn-to-read lessons and 96 spelling lessons in Reading Eggs.  Students progress at their own level and are rewarded with eggs at the end of each lesson that hatch into critters, as well as with golden eggs that they earn.  One of my daughter's favorite activities was listening to the song videos they have for traditional kids' songs.  She also loved this little "game" where you plug in the picture to the word.

So now, my daughter has graduated to Reading Eggpress, their educational site for students ages 7-13.  It focuses on developing students reading and comprehension skills.  In Reading Eggspress, students go from activity to activity on a rotating island divided into different sections. 

According to their website,  "The Comprehension Gym offers interactive lessons that model and teach children a variety of strategies to interpret texts. The comprehensive online library provides children with a wealth of fiction and nonfiction titles to read and explore. The Stadium allows children to compete in real time against other players and tests skills in one of four areas — spelling, vocabulary, usage and grammar."
Students have an avatar that they use to travel around the island with.  As they complete activities, they earn golden eggs, and they can use those eggs to buy clothes or accessories for their avatar, or decorations for their apartment, or pets, etc.  There are also targets that they are awarded for completing target activities initially and then harder ones as you play further into the game. 

The pros:  I adore Reading Eggs.  I'm sure that much is clear.  It's effective and engaging, and my daughter begged to do it daily.  I liked it well enough to actually buy a subscription, and that's a big complement around here.  They normally offer a free trial.  For One Blessed Mamma readers, if you click on this link you'll get a free 5 week trial.  What's not to love about free?  And honestly, the best way to know if anything will work for you is to give it a try.  This link best sums up the program features and what your child will actually encounter as they interact with the program.

The cons:  As much as I adore Reading Eggs, I have reservations about Reading Eggspress.  My daughter loves it, but she doesn't actually get much out of it.  There's too much of a gap between graduating out of Reading Eggs and entering Reading Eggspress.  And the folks at Reading Eggs seem to have figured that out, because they are expanding the offerings for older kids using Reading Eggs, which THRILLS me to no end.  Some of my issues with Reading Eggspress are a) almost all the instructions for every activity must be read, and my daughter, who is not a strong reader,  simply chose the easy way out and skipped reading she just randomly clicked on answers thus rendering her results invalid, b) most of the activities are just beyond her reading level- even the lowest level of the Comprehension Gym and everything in the Stadium, because of the timed element, was too hard for her to be successful at, so she just chose to never visit them, c) my daughter loves the library, but once she got there, she couldn't figure out how to leave the library- other than the back arrow on the browser, there did not seem to be a way out, d) I think Reading Eggs/Reading Eggspress must be a European company, and they use the word "earnt" in place of "earned"- while technically correct, it's a very archaic usage, and seems oddly out of place in a program designed to teach children to read, as I would think that they would chose the more common word, 

e) there was a small typo- an omission of the word "the" from the sentence in the picture below ("If you can guess the right book first time..."), but again, it's a child's reading program, so my standards are pretty high, 

and lastly
 f) I don't love some of the ways you can customize your avatar, like this cross-dressing Frankenstein like guy who was on the screen the whole time my daughter was shopping.  I'm sure an argument can be made for it all being fun, but I just don't love it.  You should be aware that there are fantasy creatures available as well, in case that's a problem for you.  

SO, the bottom line?  I love Reading Eggs.  LOVE it.  And my daughter likes Reading Eggspress, even though I feel it's beyond her right now.  So I plan to encourage her to use the new parts of Reading Eggs that are geared toward older readers.  She'll still visit Reading Eggspress, I'm sure, and as her reading skills grow stronger, she'll be able to get more out of it.  She loves the library on Eggspress (over 1500 books, including classics), and she likes the quests you can go on, so I know she'll still be playing on Reading Eggpress, as she has been, but I think the new activities on Reading Eggs will be better geared toward her.  But again, the best way to know if Reading Eggs or Reading Eggspress is right for you is to give the free trial a try.

One more thing:

The Reading Eggs Read-To-Cure ChallengeFrom February 3 to March 7 your child can join thousands of children across the United States taking part in the Reading Eggs Read-To-Cure Challenge – an effort to inspire children to read while raising funds for The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS). Our goal is to raise $25,000, plus Reading Eggs will match every donation made up to this amount! About the cause The Reading Eggs Read-To-Cure Challenge aims to help the NCCS realize their mission to improve the quality of life for children with cancer. All money raised will help provide financial, emotional and educational support for children and families battling childhood cancer. Learn more about the NCCS at 
 How does the Read-To-Cure Challenge work?  
Children sign up for a FREE 5 week trial of Reading Eggs, the popular online reading program for 3–13 year olds. From February 3 to March 7 they are encouraged to complete as many books and Reading Eggs lessons as they can. Friends and family can sponsor their reading efforts, with all money raised going to the NCCS.  What’s more, there are great prizes up for grabs for the top 3 children who read the most books and the top 3 children who raise the most funds!

 To learn more about Reading Eggs, or to sign up, you can go to the Reading Eggs website or
visit them on Facebook or Twitter.  To see what other members writers for Home&School Mosaics thought, you can visit the main blog post at Home&School Mosaics.  Reading Eggs/Reading Eggspress costs $49.95 for 6 months or $69 for one year.  Your subscription includes access to BOTH programs, and there is a 50% discount for additional children.

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Kelley Watson said...

Hi. I used your link to sign up for the free trial and it only gave me 2 weeks, not 5. Can you help me?

oneblessedmamma said...

Hi Kelley- I don't know why it didn't work for 5 weeks, and I don't remember them saying anything about that being a limited time thing. I'm not affiliated with them, so I'd say contact their customer support and ask. I'll check on my end and find out why it's only 2 weeks now, but they will need your account information to change your account so you'd do better to ask them directly.