Reading Eggs seems, on the surface, to be another entry in the field of "edutainment." The notion that this program fits the "educational elements added to make a game seem more valuable to parents" bill, however, is silly. The format is simple: a lesson is presented, then games are played to reinforce that lesson. We have been using it not as a supplement, precisely, but as our primary means of reading instruction.
The system is phonics based, which I love, but it has a component of whole word instruction, which Monkey loves. Monkey has an incredible sense of recall, which means his preference is for whole language instruction. My preference is for phonics, and I have little idea of how to teach whole language, so we have a bit of an impasse. Reading Eggs bridges this gap exceedingly well, which is why it is our primary format.
More about the program:
This is an Australian-based program, so most of the voice overs are accented to our Mooselandic ears. This also means that some slang is different - chips are fries, a clothespin is a clothes peg, a cabinet is a cupboard, and other British-seeming changes. As we have several British friends, and are a mixed-nationality family ourselves, we already see American, Canadian, and British English on a daily basis. This makes the differences no big deal to us, and I often don't notice them - and neither does Monkey.
There are a large number of positives to this program, most of which will be covered below. However, I'll start here; at the Parent Dashboard.
Lesson Part 1:
Word Families is the second piece of this lesson. The child is given the final letters of the word, and has to choose which initial sound belongs with the picture. Now, in this go around, the letter 'd' is unused. The only issue I have with this game is that it doesn't ask for any accuracy. This hasn't been a problem for us, but it might be for others - the child can guess each box in turn and the only consequence is that it takes more time.
Snowman, while also not requiring accuracy, does require some measure of it in order to progress. The point is to choose the appropriate word from the falling snowflakes and drag it to the snowman. If you choose a wrong word, nothing happens, but you cannot continue until you've chosen the right word enough times. In this case, the object is to choose pour, then icing, then cake. Once that's done, the child can move on to the next game.
Look, Listen, and Spell:
Pack the Shelves:
At the end of a group of ten lessons, the child takes a 15 question quiz on the previous ten lessons. If they get 12 or more right, they move on. If not, they are asked to replay the lessons and try again. The number of errors in the final quiz determines the "ribbon" the child gets for their quiz, and once the quiz is completed, not only does the child advance to the next map, but Reading Eggs sends an email to the parent letting them know what was covered, what the child's score was, and that they're ready to move on or need more practice.
All in all, while I can see why this wouldn't be a format a lot of people would use as their primary instruction, Monkey's recall and his solid base in phonics means that this is an ideal solution for him. He is able to sound out words, and he is able to use his whole word approach whenever he can, which makes reading not a chore for him - and since both The Ordinary Parent's Guide To Teaching Reading and BOB Books were a chore, and Hooked on Phonics offered little to no interaction... This turned out to be a wonderful solution. We paid approximately $85 for the full year of the program, which was well worth it. If we had more than one child, however, using this might be outside of our budget. End result, however, is that Monkey loves Reading Eggs, I appreciate that he's learning, and I don't have to hound him about it, and he really does learn. I would, and have, recommended it often.