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Be prepared for a brutally honest Reading Eggs review in the next few thousand words. I was sorely disappointed with Reading Eggs. We’ve been struggling with teaching our third child to read. Our first and second children were so easy, so we’ve been having a heck of a time.
We’ve tried a lot of different tools, and so far, Hooked on Phonics has been the one that’s gotten him the most excited, if you can call him excited. Insert apathetic shrug here.
My husband and I have been desperate to try just about anything to get him to read, but he’s going at his own pace, no matter what we do.
At any rate, we thought maybe Reading Eggs might be the thing to get him there. It wasn’t, for a variety of reasons.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Learning to Read App
Because every child learns at their own speed, you may be looking for a different set of features than another parent. And reading can be very difficult to teach. It’s best to find a program that makes it easy.
Look for something that gives you the tools you need without making the task even more difficult or overwhelming for you or your child. It should offer up the concepts in a visually pleasing way that’s easy to understand.
With phonics, your child will learn the letter sounds and how they behave within words rather than learning by sight. Armed with this knowledge, they can sound out words they’ve never seen before, meaning they’ll be lifelong readers.
They’ll understand emphasis and pronunciation rather than just memorizing how a word looks. Your child will always be a better and smarter reader.
While there are other methods of teaching reading, phonics is typically what works best. However, you may find that something else will work better for your child, or that a combination of methods is going to be more effective, so do some research before choosing.
Reading Eggs uses phonics as the primary method for teaching reading, through a variety of lessons, including games, puzzles, and activities. While your child may like it, I found that I overwhelmingly did not.
First of all, when I visited the website, it didn’t seem very professional. It was busy and hard to read. I’m a tired and overwhelmed parent of four kids. I don’t have time to sort through websites that try to cram all of that information down my throat.
I need something that is short and to the point. Tell me what you want me to know in a few short sentences with interesting graphics. Reading Eggs doesn’t do that.
It led me to believe they really didn’t know who they were marketing to and didn’t value my time at all. I know this sounds nit picky, but it’s something I think about when I see websites like theirs.
I thought it was worth the free trial anyway. It was easy to sign up for the trial by just entering your information.
You can request a welcome packet in the mail, but this is only available if you live in Australia, so I wasn’t able to do this.
Getting Set Up
The first thing I did was download the app, which was easy to find and set up. I signed in with my email and password and set up accounts for my kids. You can add up to four children, which works out pretty well for me, because that’s how many I have.
Granted, I am only trying to teach one to read right now, but I was just testing the system to see how easy it was to use.
Each child has their own dashboard and you have a parent dashboard to track your child’s progress.
Honestly, the dashboard was also so overwhelming that I wasted about half of my trial just putting it off. I didn’t want to get into it because I didn’t know where to begin and I didn’t have the energy to try to figure it out.
Exploring the System
After you set up your child’s account, you can immediately begin learning with them or you can explore the system as a parent. This is where I ran into trouble. The Start button just didn’t work.
I clicked it several times and the app didn’t respond. It never took me anywhere, and I couldn’t use it. By this time, I only had about a week left in my trial, so I wasn’t able to get much use out of the system at all.
However, on a whim, I opened the app again, and it opened to a completely different dashboard with lessons, puzzles, and games that did work, so my son was able to use it finally.
The problem at this point was that the navigation was so sporadic and confusing that I still don’t have any clue how to use the app. It’s robust and offers a lot of subjects besides reading, so if you have the patience to figure out how to use it, it could be very useful.
Features and Benefits
Reading Eggs is packed full of features and benefits. If you can sort through the confusing navigation and get to the good stuff, you’ll likely benefit from what they’re attempting to offer.
Reading Eggs Junior
This section of the internet-based app allows younger children, ages 2-4, to choose from parts of the alphabet, seasons, and other lessons. They can watch videos, do puzzles, or play games cleverly disguised as learning activities.
As your child advances, the lessons become more interactive. They’ll build skills like counting, following directions, memory, and recognition.
To me, the learning path seems random and the navigation is confusing. Access could be clearer and simpler. In addition, because the app was developed by an Australian team, some of the images used to demonstrate letters may be unfamiliar to children in other countries.
This part of the app is recommended for children ages 3-7, but it seems ideally suited for kids around 4 or 5. It teaches recognition of letters and sight words as well as phonics, reading comprehension, vocabulary, suffixes, prefixes, and plurals.
This part of the app is the most robust, with 120 lessons and over 170 different activities.
Your child can make their own avatar to take ownership of their learning and then take a placement test so they start at the appropriate level. As a parent, you can adjust their level if you want.
Your child will move through the app at their own pace and repeat lessons if they want.
You can access your child’s progress through the parent dashboard. While students have to complete lessons in order, you can change the lesson order through the dashboard.
Reading Eggs uses phonics to introduce letters and their sounds one at a time, which is proven to be the most effective way for a child to learn to read. Your child will learn to identify both upper and lowercase letters.
However, the program doesn’t seem to be consistent with teaching phonetic concepts and then incorporating them into words.
For instance, it teaches the letters “m” and “s” in the first two lessons, but then introduces the words “I” and “am”. Then students are asked to read “I am Sam” and other words like “dam” and “ham.”
Nowhere in the first few lessons does it teach the short “a” sound. Not only was it confusing, but my son got a bit frustrated and discouraged that he wasn’t getting the concepts right away.
Interestingly, my son picked up on blending very early, but Reading Eggs doesn’t introduce the concept before children are expected to recognize several words. For children struggling with the idea, it could be difficult.
You may find that your child learns sight words rather than phonetic concepts.
The hope is the continual exposure to phonetic concepts and repeated activities throughout the program will eventually teach them how to read the right way.
This part of the app also has a built in rewards system that uses golden eggs as they complete lessons. They can use these eggs to purchase additional playing opportunities or visit the virtual store to decorate their house or dress their avatar.
While this is a great independent activity for your child to complete online, I felt like it required a bit of extra help on my part to understand concepts because of all the jumping around.
There are also printable activity sheets under the bonus material in the parent dashboard, but I didn’t do that, because it was already too overwhelming. However, it would have been a good hands on activity for reinforcing the concepts.
It can also teach handwriting, if your child is ready for that. It requires interaction, but if your child has the dexterity and you want to reinforce learning capital and lowercase letters, you can print these out and complete them.
Mathseeds is an additional feature offered by the creators of Reading Eggs that includes homeschool lesson plans for kindergarten through second grade. There are 150 lessons.
Preschoolers may be able to work their way through some of the beginning lessons, but your child can also take a placement test to start at the appropriate lesson.
There are some additional lessons that may be appropriate for part of third grade as well, but Mathseeds indicates that it will soon have lessons for all of third grade.
While the lessons are intended to go in order, you can use them in a different order or as a supplement to a different math program if you want.
There is also a Mathseeds parent dashboard that allows parents to set up lessons so that children can complete them in any order rather than being restricted by the levels indicated in the program.
If you do manipulate the lesson levels, your child will have more freedom to complete the correct lessons when needed, you can still check their progress, but you will lose tracking information.
The teaching formats in Mathseeds are similar to Reading Eggs. Your child will work through each lesson with activities, games, and puzzles. It covers measurements, time telling, word problems, geometry, and money.
These topics are continually mixed, so you’ll have a sequence of lessons that cover fractions with addition or patterns and subtraction together. Be aware that the program has an Australian feel and can be difficult for children from other countries because of the accents and the metric system.
However, lessons on money do use U.S. currency.
Mathseeds also contains bonus material that includes printable activity sheets with four pages per lesson. You don’t have to print these lessons, but they make great supplementing materials for other math programs.
There are also parent pages explaining how to use the components for the lesson. These activity pages are excellent for providing the written practice your student needs.
You may find that sometimes, the repetition of easy topics is excessive, the program is well done overall and is an effective way for your young child to learn math at home. It’s also a great way for your child to learn independently online, but they’ll need your help with the activity sheets.
This section of the app has 220 lessons in reading skills like reading comprehension for grades one through six. Children will practice word recognition in really overly repetitive activities, but the reading material seems useful.
Unlike the Reading Eggs section, the lessons seem to teach a skill and then apply the skill in an order that makes sense. The child will learn a skill, read a book, and then answer questions that apply that skill.
There is more bonus material for parents to print so kids can complete activity sheets for spelling, vocabulary, and word usage.
There are 216 spelling lessons and they also plan to add grammar lessons in the future.
The app offers a digital library, which I think is one of the most valuable things about the program. There are all sorts of different genres like action, biography, sports, fairy tales, classics, and more.
These are real books like The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood or the works of Shakespeare. You’ll find comments that other children have left on books they’ve read, like a review, and your child will earn golden eggs for every book they read.
In addition to reading and math, there are a few other features that enhance the program. You can use them if you wish, but you don’t have to. If you do choose to use them, these features are intended to support the lesson material and add a bit of extra fun.
Spelling lessons are accessible after your child reaches lesson 40. These 96 spelling lessons include mostly one syllable, short vowel words, but toward the end, it does include a few longer words.
After lesson 60, your child will have access to Storylands. These are optional activities that reinforce the reading skills they’ve already learned and help them to develop additional vocabulary words and reading comprehension.
Driving Tests included quizzes on phonics skills, vocabulary, and sight word recognition. These are available after lesson 40, and include rewards like race car games, every time your child passes.
After the tenth lesson, the Story Factory will let your child write their own story. There are so many problems with this, I’m not sure where to start. Kids this age are so limited in spelling and vocabulary that it’s nearly impossible to create a forum in which they can write a good story. Reading Eggs has tried, but it’s pretty limited and frustrating. If your child manages to do it, they can submit it for others to judge.
Alternative Reading Programs
While Reading Eggs probably isn’t the worst option on the market, I really am not a fan. I think there are plenty of other alternatives out there that give you a much better value. Here are just a few you should take a look at.
Hooked on Phonics may be the oldest reading program around. It started back in the 1990s as a CDROM. It’s not a mobile app that comes with a sprinkling of hard materials in the mail when you sign up. It’s one of most well-known programs on the market.
As you can tell by the name, it uses phonics to teach your child to read. It offers games and activities with a $1 trial that’s well worth the cost. The affordable monthly fee also won’t cost you much, because it’ll have your child reading in no time.
You can download the app on up to three devices. It’s an excellent solution for busy parents because you can take the device with you anywhere and it works both on and offline. Your child will have the independence they need to learn on their own.
- Mobile app on up to three device
- Cheap trial
- Welcome packet with books and activities
- Offline syncing available
Check out our comprehensive Hooked on Phonics review.
Children Learning Reading is a bit more hands on than Hooked on Phonics, but not quite as bad as Reading Eggs. I didn’t really like this one much either, but after Reading Eggs, this one seems like a walk in the park.
For homeschooling parents, this is definitely the right choice. It’s a fantastic interactive program that uses phonics. After you purchase the program, you can download all of the e-books that come with every lesson you need to teach your child all of the letters and sounds.
The $9 trial is a bit more expensive, but there’s a one time purchase price rather than a monthly fee.
- More expensive trial
- One time fee for product
- Includes e-book lessons
- Features more parent interaction and involvement
Check our our comprehensive Children Learning Reading review.
If you prefer app-based learning tools, here’s another one, but it teaches more than just reading. It’s a complete online classroom for parents and teachers. It doesn’t come with any hard materials, but you can put the app on as many devices as you need.
There’s a free 30 day trial and the monthly fee is only $10. Subjects include language arts, reading, math, social studies, science, and art. The curriculum is created by professional teachers, so you can feel confident using it to teach your children at home.
It may not focus on reading as intensely as some other programs, but it’s a great solution for parents who need just a bit more for children going through preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten.
- Free trial
- Low monthly fee
- Online classroom with multiple subjects
Check out our comprehensive ABC Mouse review.
Whether you’re looking for a program to teach your child to read or you need an app that offers a solution for vocabulary, math, and other concepts, Reading Eggs may be an option. My experience doesn’t indicate what yours will be, but from what I’ve seen, others have had some similar frustrations.
Luckily, the free trial may reveal a more rewarding start, allowing you to give it a try before you pay for something you don’t like. If it works for you, it has a lot of really great benefits.
If you find that it doesn’t work, there are a lot of awesome alternatives on the market for you to try as well!