Why Reading Eggs is worth signing up for

Why Reading Eggs is worth signing up for

Looking for an educational app for your child that will help them learn to read? Look no further. Reading Eggs is a scientifically based program, designed by Australian teachers. They have expertly crafted this resource with your child in mind. As an educator and mum, I feel that Reading Eggs is worth signing up for. Here are the reasons why:

1. Develops early literacy

Why Reading Eggs is worth signing up for

Reading Eggs helps to develop early literacy in under fives. It can be a great way to help prepare your child for school. As my eldest was five and a half when he started Foundation, he needed to be stimulated more than I was able to at home. I tried my best but things were full on with my baby and toddler.

He was an early reader so it was so helpful to have Reading Eggs help him consolidate his learning and extend him. Children can keep their same account when they transition to school so don’t lose the level they are on or points they’ve accumulated.

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2. Suitable for all ages

Reading Eggs has literacy and numeracy programs for children ages 2-13. It caters for the youngest learners with Reading Eggs Junior (ages 2-4), then Reading Eggs (3-7), Reading Eggspress (7-13) and Mathseeds (3-9). Their site contains a wealth of resources.

My 5 year old loves Fast Phonics and Reading Eggs, and sometimes tries Reading Eggspress for a challenge. My 3 year old loves Reading Eggs, sometimes opting for Reading Eggs Junior because he likes the games. I love watching them progress to different levels and you can really see how much they are learning. Reading Eggs is compatible both on tablet and desktop devices.

3. Engaging activities

Reading Eggs has a huge range of activities, games, stories and quizzes. It is such a fun program and kids love it. Children work at their own pace and are given lots of encouragement along the way. Children earn coins which can buy things for their virtual shop and golden eggs to play games.

It motivates children to work hard to get to the next level. Reading Eggs has hundreds of online reading lessons and thousands of books to read online. Children can create and change their own avatar to make it more personable.

4. Teaches children how to read

This wonderful site helps to teach children how to read. Nothing will take the place of good old fashioned reading aloud with a physical book, but this in conjunction with reading to your child will go a long way to helping them learn how to read.

The Reading Eggs program is focused around the five essential keys for reading success – phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency. It is developed by experienced teachers and based on scientific research so it’s no accident that it works!

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5. Great for educators

Reading Eggs is a wonderful tool for educators. In my experience it is often used in the classroom during activities first thing in the morning, reading groups (as one of the rotations), computer room or iPad whole class time and afternoon activities.

It is brilliant for time poor teachers who know that this is a tried and tested program, targeted to suit every individual child. Teachers can see how their students are progressing and can access useful reports. Students have a login code to use at home and can continue to play the games and activities whenever they are allowed.

6. Useful for parents

I love that with Reading Eggs, you know how your child is going. Progress reports are emailed and you can also look the reports up anytime. It is helpful to know what level your child is at and what they are working towards. Reading Eggs provided parents with handy hints of targeted activities for their child. These help to build on and extend the learning they have completed. I can’t help but feel proud when my boys pass a level, and love to celebrate with them by printing out the certificates to display.

7. Makes screen time educational

Why Reading Eggs is worth signing up for

My ideal self would not use screen time at all. I love the idea of children being outside and keeping active for most of the day. However, between acute morning sickness, recovering post birth, navigating a newborn with a toddler and preschooler in tow, toddlers stopping naps at the age of 2, and everything in between, I’ve come to realise that screen time helps me cope. I use Reading Eggs as a motivator to get my eldest ready in the morning. This helps him to focus on what he needs to do first before he can go on the iPad and play. I know that he is learning valuable skills and not just watching cartoons.

8. Free 30 day trial

Why Reading Eggs is worth signing up for

I love that Reading Eggs offer a 30 day free trial. This is a good amount of time to see if you see the value, see if it engages your child, see if it helps them learn and see if it fits in well with your family. There is no obligation to subscribe afterwards – simply cancel before the trial ends.

The customer service team are lovely to deal with and happy to answer any questions. It might be that you love the app but don’t want your child to be on a device just yet. Fair enough! Keep it in mind for down the track when they are a bit more ready. It has to fit with your family and what works for you. Click here for the link if you’d like to find out more.

In terms of pricing, if you decide to sign up it costs $13.99 / month or $109.99 / year ($9.17 / month) at the time of writing. It’s pretty great value (or should I say eggcellent) when considering the four programs it covers.

However, with the high cost of living right now, every extra subscription does need to be considered carefully. It can always be a gift idea that a family member or grandparent could put money towards if you are trying to steer away from lots of physical items.

Last thoughts

In closing, Reading Eggs is a program worth signing up to. Educators and parents alike see the many benefits and children love using it. It’s such a well designed program and one that both engages and educates children of all ages. It helps make screen time count. With the thirty free trial, you really have nothing to lose. I encourage you to give it a try and let me know what you think.

* Please note that this is not a sponsored post. I am writing it purely because I see the value in my own children’s learning and students at school.

10 easy ways to develop literacy in under fives

10 easy ways to develop literacy in under fives

As a primary school teacher, I am passionate about seeing children develop in their literacy skills in the early years. It was shocking to me how many children would arrive at school not knowing the right way to hold up a book, or how to turn pages carefully. Some struggled to pick out basic rhymes. Others lacked the ability to sit down and concentrate when being read to.

I knew I was being judgy but I didn’t understand why children were coming into the classroom so ill equipped for learning how to read. I desperately wished that more parents knew both how important early literacy was and also how much easier it would make their schooling life.

Now that I am a parent, I am aware of the reality of exhaustion and lack of time. I get that finding space to read before bed can be tricky. However, it can be done and it’s not as hard as you might think. My eldest was recognising all letters and sounds by two, reading simple books by three and by four could read most texts independently. Here are a few tips to help you develop early literacy with your child:

1. Display books everywhere.

Have some on the change table so bubs can see when he lies down. Begin with simple black and white pattern ones and gradually progress to board books, touch and feel books and then picture books. Have them in their bedroom, play room and lounge. Many stores sell low bookshelves that allow the front cover to be displayed allowing for children to browse them more easily than looking at the spine.

Have some bath books for them to read with you in the water. Look at cookbooks together and find recipes to make, especially from kids cookbooks. Browse the newspaper and look at the comics. Let them circle and cut out items from catalogues, and stick them into a scrapbook. Ask them what they would like to put on their present list. Write letters and postcards to friends and family and read the responses together. Look at real estate guides and compare the different houses that are for sale. Demonstrate that reading is important to our daily life and include them in the many different texts we come across each day to read. Provide as many opportunities as you can.

2. Regularly borrow from the library.

Let them browse the shelves and not be rushed where possible. Borrow a range of books – ones with a special theme, picture books, readers, comics, rhyming books, books with only illustrations, big books, non fiction and search and find. Make it fun by only borrowing books by authors starting with an ‘A’, and next time find the ‘B’ ones, then the ‘C’s etc. Borrow a CD and show them how to read the list of tracks on the back, and the words to the songs inside the cover.

Most libraries offer song or story time for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. This is a valuable time of fun, laughter and learning. Children learn through rhyme and repetition, and can often use puppets. They follow along with actions and clap in time. They memorise nursery rhymes and songs which helps them develop language, much of it will stay with them forever. Children have the chance to socialise with one another and how to get along. They enjoy cuddles with their big people and can sit down on the mat independently when they are ready.

Some libraries allow you to borrow toys. You can help choose some items that challenge your children and develop their literacy. There are often book packs with activities ready to go, as well as many games and resources. This saves you money and reduces what you have to store and organise yourself, while rotating items helps to keep things interesting.

3. Have books in your car for them to read.

These can be in place of electronics while they are waiting for you to finish packing the car, to read while you drive (unless they get carsick!) and to take into appointments. We use the street directory, sticker books, activity books and picture books. I keep some pens and textas handy for them to use too.

Sometimes I’ve had to resort to an iPad or phone if appointments go for too long, or to distract a toddler while I’m feeding, but it’s not my go to. I try to see it as bonus literacy time. We can read together, complete activities and practice writing. With the street directory, my preschooler likes looking for parks, the beach, road names and the compass. He finds the street he lives on and follows a path with his finger to places nearby.

4. Toy alphabet.

Have toy versions of alphabet letters they can build into words. Provide opportunities for playing with letters. These can be foam ones for the bath, magnetic ones for the fridge and even duplo style ones. You can buy cheap phonics cards that spell words or build simple three letter puzzles. Focus on the play and practice rather than correct spelling.

Children can practice forming letters in sand (in a sandpit or sensory box) or with playdough. They can use activity books and practice tracing letters I find textas and pens can be easier to use than pencils for some children. They can paint with watercolours or use crayons. The more young children have chances to play with letters, the more they will begin experimenting with reading, spelling and writing.

5. Be strategic when reading books aloud.

Leave off the last word in a sentence or line for them to fill in. Children love reading the same books over and over again, and like to master the text. Even toddlers remember familiar words and have great satisfaction filling in the blank.

Read at least one rhyming story each day. Emphasise the rhymes. Pause at the end of the line for your child to fill in the gap. Highlight the words that rhyme and point to where they are. Ask them to come up with other words that rhyme with it. Mem Fox has some wonderful suggestions in her book Reading Magic.

6. Be intentional.

Take time to read the book carefully together and notice different things. Use different character voices and point out the speech marks. Show what happens to your voice when there is an exclamation point or question mark at the end of a sentence. Demonstrate the change in volume when all capitals are used.

Point out the author and illustrators name, and ask what each person does. Read the blurb together. Talk about what a dust jacket and a spine is. Ask if it is a fiction or non fiction text. Look at the front cover and make predictions about what the book will be about. As you go along, ask what you think might happen. At the end, think about what the moral of the story might be, or why the author decided to write it.

Ask them to find different items on each page, and then give them a go (Can you point to the letterbox? Where is the yellow duckling?). Question how the character might be feeling. Make connections to everyday life by asking if they ever feel sad too. Put your finger under the words so they can follow along if they want.

7. Storytell.

This isn’t my strong suit but my boys love when I tell them stories. It can be retelling the familiar ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears.’ It could be telling them the story of how mummy and daddy met or about when they were little. It could be a made up one. It doesn’t need to be perfect! Your child will simply love snuggling up next to you, listening to your voice and imagining the story in their minds.

8. Make screen time count.

I don’t advocate much screen time but it can be a valuable teaching tool. Reading Eggs is a fabulous program to help young children learn to read. You can sign up for a 30 day free trial here and is suitable for ages 2-13.

Often teachers in the early years of school use short videos to help children remember important things. Our eldest at two learnt his letters and sounds simply by watching 2 videos every day (under 10 minutes) for a month we were on holidays. If you search for ‘phonics song’ and ‘jolly phonics’, it will come up with a few versions.

They are simple and repetitive, and very helpful for young children. These videos can also be listened to on a speaker or in the car so they aren’t watching another show. I also recommend the alphabet song, days of the week, months of the year, seasons song. Nursery rhymes are always a wonderful choice for young children too.

9. Talk with your children.

This develops their oral language skills. It’s so easy to be distracted with our phones or other technology, but our children really do need our full attention. Take an interest in what they do. Talk to them as you walk and point out things that you can see. Chat in the car and explain what the different signs are, the road rules and emergency vehicles driving past. When someone irritates me with their driving, I talk through how I’m feeling about it.

When you’re eating dinner, try to sit at the table together. This is a wonderful time to talk about what happened in the day, who they played with, ask what their favourite part was, something that was hard, and what they’re looking forward to. Cook together and chat as you work through the recipe. There are lots of small opportunities throughout the day to talk and observe, and not only will this help their oral language skills and then their written ability, it will build your relationship.

10. Model reading yourself.

Children watch what we do more than they listen to us. Keep a book or magazine on the coffee or dining table. Depending on your stage of life, read the newspaper over breakfast, or a chapter of your book with your lunch. Try to model using a paper version of a book rather than electronic so it is obvious what you are doing, even if it is purely for daylight hours.

Borrow books and magazines for yourself when you visit the library. Take them on holiday. Make a cubby and each bring some books to read as you snuggle up with blankets. Request books for your gift ideas. Browse for new ones together at op shops. Having a passion for reading yourself is one of the easiest ways to encourage your child to love reading too.

Last thoughts

In closing, there are many simple things we can do to develop literacy in young children. Try to make the most of the time that you spend with them, even if seems like monotonous driving or doing chores. Children will enjoy playing and learning with you. The more their literacy skills develop, so will their confidence. Have fun experimenting with some of these different ways and let me know how you go!