Now I'd never heard of this so had to look them up. It seemed interesting and there was a 14 day free trial available - how nice! I signed S and N up and sat them down at the PC to see what it was all about.
The easiest way to find out if an online learning tool is worth paying for is to use your children. Shocker I know. I got us to the first lesson and handed S the mouse and away she went. She loved it. Not just a little bit, but full on fun and learning with a big smile on her face and a lot of laughing. Wow, this was amazing! She did 2 lessons and remembered the letters for each one.
N wanted a go. I sat her at the PC and that's when I realised the problem - she is left-handed. I had to reconfigure the mouse for her to use it properly as she couldn't work the buttons as they were. Trust me that even moving the mouse from one side of the keyboard to the other is a pain with the limited size of my desk. Off she went (with me on the laptop ordering two wireless mice for them from Amazon at the same time). She loved it. She worked her way through the first lesson in no time.
Then a serious problem arose....
Both S and N wanted to play at the same time and a small fight ensued. I decided to call it a day and said they could both have a go next when the mice arrived and I had an opportunity to set one of them up on the laptop. That would save someone's tears - probably mine!
Two days passed and the mice arrived. N sat at the table using the laptop and S at the PC. They were having huge fun showing each other the things they were learning and that is the point - they were *learning* without even knowing it really.
How does Reading Eggs do this? Well, you work your way through levels. Each level is a letter or, as you move further forward, more than one letter to begin forming words. The whole thing is very interactive with lots of cute characters popping up, great sounds, fun games and adding to your 'golden egg' collection as you get things right. As you move the cursor over letters or words, the sound or word is said so children who cannot read can choose the right word for matching games, etc. Letters are said repeatedly and each games lasts a few minutes in order to reinforce the letter sound. The whole chapter is split into fun sections to build on what they are learning, so very quickly they pick the correct letter or word from a selection presented to them. Even as the lesson is loading, there is a little game to keep children amused.
There are plenty of opportunities to re-do levels or try again if you don't understand something and the system gives you, the parent, a review of what your child has learned.
Within a few days I signed S up for a year for Reading Eggs and guess what, they start your year at the end of your trial so you get the full trial time first. Isn't that great? The company do a variety of offers but even at full price, £39.95 for a year's subscription is good value when your children are having fun learning.
I really can't recommend it enough. As it's aimed at children of all ages and includes Mathseeds (yep, you guessed it - that one teaches maths in a fun way) and Reading Eggspress for older children, you have nothing to lose with a free trial. Go on, give it a go.