I remember looking at online computer games a few years ago and finding it difficult to find high-quality options for preschoolers and early elementary children. Now, there's so many good options that it's hard to choose between them.
Recently Lauren has been playing on Reading Eggs, a learn to read program for 3-7 year olds. It is now one of the reading programs that I recommend most to someone with a child that's ready to learn to read.
What I liked:
* Letters are introduced systematically so that the child forms easy words fairly soon in the program.
* The reading instruction is heavily phonics based, but they teach common sight words, too.
* There is a wide variety of reading skills taught in this program, not just simple phonics sounds and decoding. There are rhyming activities, activities to count how many sounds in a word, and more.
* The game controls are easy to use. I didn't notice much clicking and dragging, which was difficult for my children to get the hang of when they were new to computer games.
* As the child moves from lesson to lesson the activities stay the same. Lauren doesn't mind the repetition, and I like that she was focusing more on learning new letter sounds than figuring out what to do with different games.
* I was impressed with the way comprehension activities are build in right away. The other day, Lauren needed to read a simple sentence and then match it to the correct picture.
What Lauren liked:
* Colorful, fun graphics
* Entertaining games
* Short activities -- she's more willing to do 12 or more very short activities than 3 longer ones
* All of the screens loaded very quickly for her
When it comes to computerized learning programs there are a lot of things I look for. Unfortunately, no matter how great I think a program is, my opinion doesn't automatically mean that my children will share my enthusiasm. Reading Eggs is a rare jewel that pleases the educator in me and thrills the part of my student that just likes playing on the computer. Lauren loves Reading Eggs and asks to play often.
Reading Eggs costs $75 for a one-year-subscription, $49.95 for six months, or $9.95 per month that automatically renews. They offer sample lessons to try and a 14 day free trial subscription. They also have an option for students that already know how to read -- Reading Eggspress that is designed to help 7-13 year old develop better reading skills.
If you'd like to hear how much the other members of the review crew thought about using Reading Eggs with their children, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here.