Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Reading Eggs Review

We have just finished a 65 day trial of the Reading Eggs program and so I thought I'd write up a little review for you.

We extended the 14 day trial using two codes (UKB24MBT and AU567) I found on the brillkids forum. It is only possible to add two codes to any one account, so this is about the maximum free time you can get, but I thought it worked out as a perfect trial run for us.

To start with, Nikki loved reading eggs. There is a placement test at the beginning so you don't have to repeat stuff you already know, but because Nikki didn't know the sight words we started right at the beginning. This wasn't too bad, he got a lot of phonics review and the letter sounds games were easy for him, but the phonics moves slowly so even at lesson 30 there was nothing new being introduced to someone who knows all the basic letter sounds. 

That said, Mr I-won't-read-sight-words needed to start at the beginning for precisely that reason. The sight word games worked wonders and he began to read simple sentences. Not just sound out CVC words, but actually read. I was very impressed.

The games are great fun and brilliant for encouraging reluctant readers, but we did have some problems. At first, maybe 2 or 3 games in any one lesson would require computer skills Nikki just doesn't have - like catching moving objects on the screen with the mouse. As we used the program his skills improved, but the difficulty of the games did as well. This is a program designed for children at least 2 years older than Nikki and he couldn't keep up.

For example, one game has you catching moving fish with a word written on them, reading the word and  putting the fish into the right box. The text is probably a font size 12 or 14 to fit on the little fish. Probably not too hard for a six year old, but Nikki needed me to do most of it for him.

Also, the text in the reading books at the end of each lesson is quite small and you can't adjust the size of the book on the screen to make the text bigger. This really intimidated Nikki, even when the sentences were 3 words long and he had easily read the same sentences in much bigger font in a previous game.

The end-of-level test after every 10 lessons had even tinier fonts (maybe 10 or 12pt)  and Nikki just refused to do them and guessed the answers. I had to really help him through the test when I knew he was able to progress because he couldn't cope with small fonts.

We got up to lesson 32 and Nikki's reading really progressed, but I could already see the sharp increase in difficulty of both reading and computer skills and I could tell that we had maybe a month before it got too hard and he lost interest altogether. He was already dreading the end-of-lesson book.I have decided not to pay for the program at the moment. This is not because it is bad - I actually really liked it and may well invest in a year or so when his computer skills are a bit better, if he still needs the lessons.

For now, I think I have found another program that I like... 

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