Extensive travel itineraries based on a year’s worth of research and planning? Fun! Travel booked with credit card rewards? Easy (or at least I’m getting the hang of it). New places and activities to experience with my family? Pretty much my entire parenting belief system. But the year (or at least 5 months so far) I gave it all up (or had it given up for me… thanks ‘Rona) and filled the time by teaching my daughter to read? That’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And I would have failed if not for the Reading Eggs program.
Is a paid-for program with recurring costs really necessary?
It is for us. Em’s Distance Learning Plan (or DLP) started each morning on zoom with kids volunteering to read the “morning message”. This message typically had difficult words and yet her classmates were reading the messages fluidly. I watched as my usually overconfident, overly talkative child started shrinking back in her chair. With a lot of prodding, it came out. The stories and signs I should have paid better attention to before. My daughter was struggling to read. And it was affecting her confidence level and her social interactions with classmates.
Our family had originally been planning to visit San Diego for spring break. We canceled our trip due to the Coronavirus, but I decided to keep my vacation days. It would be the perfect time to teach Em to read. It went horribly. I would lose patience and it would make her reading even worse. The only two signs of any change at the end of my “vacation” was that Em began to hate reading and our mother-daughter relationship was getting very strained. I needed help.
Reading Eggs to the Rescue
Amazing free trial offers
By the time I heard about Reading Eggs I was pretty skeptical. A year before, I had already shelled out money twice for other products. Once for a book that everyone swore by and secondly for a program that advertised reading in 1-month’s time. Neither really got her over the hump from reading sentences like, “It is a cat.” to actual picture books. Meanwhile, I was out the full cost of the book/program.
One of my all-time favorite bloggers/influencers, Carly of Lipgloss and Crayons, mentioned a program she was using for her own daughter, called Reading Eggs. She included video footage of her daughter using the program and it looked cute. But as I mentioned, I’d been down this path before. However, then Carly mentioned there was a free 1-month trial. Better yet, the trial didn’t even require you to enter a credit card. Sign me up (literally)!
How does Reading Eggs work?
Kids start by taking a “placement test” to see what reading level they are at. Based on the results of that test, the child is placed into the program at their specific level. From the parent dashboard, I could see from the results that Em was behind her age level. But all Em could see was that she now had an icon on a map and could play games.
The program advances you through the map as you play and at the end of each map the child can get a certificate. That seemed good enough for me. However, the real draw for Em is collecting golden eggs (similar to coins or points in other video games). She often runs up to me in order to show me what her golden egg count is. While Em can get grumpy about having to do other “mommy school” assignments, she eagerly asks to use Reading Eggs. Since she often wakes up earlier than everyone else on the weekends, she has gotten in the habit of quietly heading upstairs and using Reading Eggs until the rest of the family wakes up.
The results of using Reading Eggs for 4.5 months
According to the Reading Eggs assessment, from the beginning of April until now (mid-August) she went from a “5.0-year-old” reading level to a “6.5-year-old” reading level. Now, who’s to say how accurate the “years/months” assessment is. Even the Reading Eggs website disclaims liability, saying it is just an estimate. The real proof has come in the form of comments from those that know Em best. Everyone from her father to her grandparents, her aunts and uncles, and even her kindergarten teachers were completely shocked by the transformation. My own parents like to tell me that reading-wise, she is about a year ahead of where I was at her age.
Even though I was the one that saw her skill level changing on a daily basis, I was perhaps the most shocked out of everyone on her last day of school. I couldn’t believe it when Em volunteered to read the “morning message”. Her issues with reading, and her own thoughts that other kids were better at it, made her never want to read in front of her class. But on her final day in Kindergarten, Em got through the “morning message” flawlessly to the complete amazement of us all.
What age range is Reading Eggs for?
While the actual “Reading Eggs” program that Em is on is for 3-7-year-olds, there is a Reading Eggs Junior program for 2-4-year-olds and a Reading Eggspress program for 7-13-year-olds. According to their own website, Reading Eggspress builds on reading and comprehension skills while Reading Eggs takes a child from a complete non-reader to a 2nd-grade level. Considering the anxiety the entire family had getting Em up to the same reading level as her classmates, we will absolutely be starting Baby L on Reading Eggs Junior… just as soon as he learns how to talk!
Math Seeds and Fast Phonics
Reading Eggs also has a Math program, called Math Seeds, aimed at 3-9-year-olds. It’s part of the same program you pay for when you get Reading Eggs, so Em tried it out. She loved it. Instead of collecting golden eggs, kids collect golden acorns. Most important (to her), is that once you pass a level, the acorn changes into an animal (see the duck in the bottom left-hand corner). You can click on each animal once you pass the level in order to watch an animation.
Recently the company rolled out a new program, called Fast Phonics. Kids are enticed to complete levels because they are rewarded by being able to build different houses for a Yeti. (Think Sim City, but with a Yeti).
How much does this cost?
The progress your child makes during the free trial will not be lost, even if you don’t pay for the program before your time is up. I know this from experience. I didn’t keep track of how long our free trial lasted until Em came up to me one day and said the program no longer worked. Since you don’t need to provide your credit card information during the free month, Reading Eggs will just lock you out after your trial expires unless you pay to continue.
For access to Reading Eggs, Reading Eggs Junior, Reading Eggspress, Fast Phonics and Mathseeds, it is $9.95 a month or $59 for the year. I paid $59 for the year, which equates to $4.92 a month. A pretty awesome rate if you ask me. Next year, Baby L turns two. Since I want to start him on Reading Eggs Junior, I am going to upgrade to the Family Plan for $89 for the year. This plan gives 2-4 children access to all those programs.
My final love letter to Reading Eggs
In all honesty, teaching my child to read is my proudest accomplishment to date. But I realize that what it came down to was me finding this program. Reading Eggs did all the rest. In case you think I’m being humble, even Em agrees. The other day I bragged that I had taught her to read. Quietly but clearly she responded by saying “you didn’t teach me to read… Reading Eggs did”. Fair enough kid.
If you liked this, maybe you would like:
Raddish Kids Challenge: 60 recipes 1 summer
Outschool: Where you can learn to draw mermaids, sing like Elsa, rap like Hamilton, and study math and chemistry through a Hogwarts-like potions class
Lost cat found after 47 days: our family’s 2020 miracle
My All-Time Favorite Learning Programs
If you’d prefer to stick with traveling, here are some posts from before the world turned crazy:
Malouf’s Mountain: Glamping for Wannabe Campers
Lobster Rolls and Bicycles and Other Fancy Stuff: A Summer Day on Block Island, RI