I am seriously excited about this new release. Perhaps the most valuable educational resource for preschool / early primary kids I have come across so far, is now accessible through an app! I had previously wrestled with the question of whether or not to review Reading Eggs on this blog, and had vowed not to do it because strictly, it wasn’t an app. So you can imagine how pleased I was to discover this week, the release of a Reading Eggs iPad app.
Reading Eggs, the web-based educational program (accessed via a web browser) has been around for a while. My kids have been using it for close to 3 years and our local school started using it this year. Most times my kids ask to use the iPad, the session begins with 15 – 20 minutes of Reading Eggs or Mathseeds (see below for more information). Success has been amazing, and such a fun journey. This will be our most used educational app.
Reading Eggs can be described as an online ‘world’ for kids aged 4 -7. Divided into 12 maps, each containing 10 lessons of around 10 individual activities, this is not something your child will outgrow quickly. One thing I like is the early progression to reading full words and sentences. Letters aren’t introduced alphabetically; sounds, letters and words are introduced in order of frequency of use. This means, as early as lesson 9, your child can read their very first storybook, even though they haven’t yet covered the whole alphabet.
Examples of activities include catching fish, tracing letters, loading trains, jumping astronauts, stamping letters, shooting hoops, crunching words, lighting candles, flying owls, spinning wheels and shooting rockets – it is enormous, you get the idea! At the end of each lesson there is an ebook to read (or listen to, there is a choice) and a new character is “hatched”. At the end of each map there is a short quiz to ensure the child is ready to move on.
Kids are so tech savvy these days, they expect constant entertainment. Even at ages 3 and 4, if it doesn’t sing, dance, stand on it’s head and play a musical instrument all at once, it isn’t worth playing. At the same time however, young kids love repetition and are encouraged by mastering new skills. Reading Eggs manages to successfully walk the fine line between entertainment value and just enough repetition.
I have thoroughly enjoyed witnessing my kids’ discovery of the literary world and Reading Eggs has been a big part of this. A couple of words of caution before leaping into the investment however – It does require regular use (at least 15 – 20min 2-3 times a week) to get the best value and whilst entertaining, it is still an educational game. Kids who have been exposed to sophisticated games and apps with pure entertainment in mind might be less charmed by this one and unwilling to stick it out.
The extension program, Reading Eggspress for 7-13 year olds and the Maths version known as Mathseeds are not yet available through an app but Mathseeds and the Reading Eggspress books are compatible with the iPad via a web browser. I am hoping there will be a Mathseeds app announcement soon so I can follow up with another exciting review!
The app is free to download from the Appstore however content can only be accessed if you have a valid account. The cost is $79.95 AUD for a one year subscription, but you can access a free trial first.