Are you looking for an interactive way to help your child learn to read? Then it is pretty likely that you have heard of Reading Eggs! In this blog post, we will take a closer look at its features, cons and benefits.
After reading this article, you’ll know whether this learn-to-read app is a good fit for your child or not, and what you can expect.
Will Reading Eggs really help your child develop his/her reading skills, as it promises?
Let’s find out!
What is Reading eggs?
Reading eggs is one of the many literacy apps out there that claims to be based on phonics and claims to teach your child to read.
It just happens to be -probably- the most popular one. It is even a popular app in schools. That means that children use it when they are at school in their English lessons, and maybe you even get a free subscription for your kid directly from the school.
Reading Eggs uses a variety of interactive games, songs and activities, and the program is designed for children from 2 – 13 years old, and is suitable for kids with different reading abilities.
So, taking all of this into account, the most logic assumption is to think that it must be an amazing app, right?
But… Is that true? Is Reading Eggs worth the hype?
Does it live up the expectations?
Is Reading Eggs a good app?
In certain ways, it is a great app, but -in my opinion-, there’s also a big problem with it that you need to be aware of… And careful about!
That problem is actually the reason why this app was not included in our ranking of the best literacy apps.
But before I reveal what the big problem is and also what you can do about it. (Because, as I said, it might be that your child is using this app at school and maybe you get a subscription for free, and in that case it would be a pity not to use it), I’m also going to share with you what’s good about this app.
The reasons why-I think- Reading Eggs has become so popular.
Benefits of Reading Eggs
#1: The app teaches the right letter sounds.
Reading eggs doesn’t add that unnecessary /uh/ sound at the end of consonants that we’ve already talked about so many times in this website.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, there are other posts you can read in this website about the importance of learning the right letter sounds, and how this has a direct impact on your child future’s blending capabilities. For instance, this one or this one.
#2: Children seem to have fun using it.
In that regard it’s been very well-designed. It includes exercises, activities, games and songs that are catchy and children really seem enjoy.
For instance, my younger child -who is the one mainly using this right now- loves to listen to some of the songs in the app over and over…
The songs have rhymes, teach children the letters, the sounds, etc.
In other words, they have an educational purpose.
#3: The rewards system is well-designed.
In my experience, some children can get kind of obsessed by how many eggs they have collected and what it is that they can get in exchange for the eggs.
In fact, children seem to really love the “din-din-din” sound that they hear when they collect more eggs for doing things right and completing tasks.
Using my older daughter’s words, this sound is “very satisfying.”
#4: This app does a good job at putting your child in the right level.
The way it works is that children are asked a series of literacy questions, like:
“Which of these words makes this sound?”, or
“Which of these words says ‘cat’?”, or
“Pair lowercase and uppercase,” etc.
And, according to their answers, they are placed in the right level.
#5: The app has some blending activities that teach how to blend sounds in the right way.
This goes in line with what I have mentioned before. When you learn letter sounds in the right way right from the beginning, blending becomes way less problematic.
#6: Parents have access to reports, which allows them to easily keep track of their child’s progress.
Children also get certificates for their achievements, which is something you can celebrate with them. You know how this type of rewards motivates children!
#7: They have a library of books covering lots of different categories: nature, family, friends, history.
The books are classified by Lexile level. At the end of each book, children have some quizzes they must complete. If they get quiz right, they get some magic eggs.
#8: They include some print-outs with activities and worksheets to follow along the online lessons.
In that regard, Reading Eggs presents itself as a full reading curriculum (app + print-out materials).
#9: They offer a 30-day free trial.
The 30-day free trial is something that I always really appreciate with apps because you really don’t know if your child is going to like it or not until he/she tries it.
The most important question of all…
Do children learn with the Reading Eggs app?
In my experience, children learn something using Reading Eggs, but it doesn’t, of course, magically teach children to read…
You can’t outsource this big task to this app, or to any literacy app!
Literacy apps have their place as a supportive tools to your own lessons or the lessons your child has at school, but you can’t expect miracles either.
To give you an example, with my youngest daughter, who is the one using the app right now consistently, I feel that the app is helping her develop that automatic reflex you need to have of letters and letter sounds for becoming a fluent reader.
In fairness, she had already developed it for some letters (but not for all of them), and she’s making great progress with the rest of them. Besides, at the same time, she’s reinforcing what she already knew. And I think the app has definitely something to do with this.
Ok, everything looks awesome, great…
What’s the big problem with Reading Eggs, then? Cons of Reading Eggs
In my opinion, the main con with Reading Eggs is that it encourages guessing and memorization… And right from the very start of the journey!
And encouraging memorization and guessing is not coincidence.
On the contrary, these strategies are built in on the app by-design.
Well, even if I do not like it, encouraging children to guess and to memorize words when they are learning to read is still commonplace.
I won’t go into detail in this article as to why I do not like it, why it is negative in the long run and how this strategy doesn’t give them the right foundational skills… It’s a long story and we have other articles and videos on the Learning Reading Hub YouTube channel where you can learn all about this, like this one or this one.
The best thing, in my opinion, for you to understand what I mean is to see an example together. Hopefully this fragment from a YouTube video in our channel will help you to do just that.
So, after all of this you might be wondering…
Do I allow my children to use the Reading Eggs app?
And… Why do I allow my child to use Reading Eggs if I do not like the guessing/memorization/”word solving” strategies it uses?
Well, first of all it was a test, so I could talk share my first-hand experience.
Besides, we had been using another app, Learn with Homer, which -don’t take my wrong- is a good app and doesn’t encourage guessing and memorization.
But, after using in for a long time, you know how children are like… They get bored and they want something new and fresh. By the way, if interested, we also have also published a review of this other app (Homer) in our website.
Finally, as I said, there are certain things that I also like about the app. I’ve also shared them with you today in this review.
However, encouraging guessing and memorization is a dangerous path, so, this is what I do…
Basically, I do not allow her use the app if I am not around. If I detect that she’s on an activity that is all about guessing, I say: don’t worry about this one, mummy will do it with you, and I sort of do it for her. I don’t want her getting into the habit of guessing words based on clues!
How much does Reading Eggs cost? Is it worth the money?
At the time of writing this review, Reading Eggs offer a 30-day-free trial. After that, it costs $9.99/month.
This app allows for up to 4 different profiles, and also includes mathseeds (for numeracy skills).
The price is pretty similar to other literacy apps out there. For instance, Learn with Homer also offers a 30-day-free trial. After that, the cost is $12.99/month, or you can get an annual subscription for less that $5/ month ($59.99).
Hooked on Phonics offers a 7-day free trial.
After that, it is $8.99 a month or you can get a lifetime subscription for $49.99.
To learn more about Homer and Hooked on Phonics, check this other blog post.
Reading Eggs Conclusion
To sum things up:
There’s a good side to Reading Eggs and a bad side to Reading Eggs.
It is, in my opinion, a balanced approach learn-to-read app. The balanced approach means: let’s take a bit of phonics and mix it up with a bit of whole word approach. Sorry, maybe I’m getting too technical here. If you want to learn more about the balanced approach, the whole word approach etc., you can read this article.
Anyway, long story short, the balanced approach loves asking children to guess and to read things that they are maybe not ready to read just yet (with the phonics knowledge that they have at that point), so they have to rely on clues, guess, memorize.
The phonics component of this app is nicely designed, and I like it, but if you are going to use it you need to be aware of the guessing component as well.
You may choose to use it anyway, but in my opinion, if you don’t want to confuse your child and you want teach him/her with synthetic phonics (not with the balanced approach) you are going to have keep an eye and police the exercises a bit, as I do.
Apart from the lessons, you also have games, songs and fun stuff like that. And they also have a maths curriculum (mathseeds), but we are not focusing on this one today.
Besides, this article has been focused mainly on how to use this app for young children that are still on the first stages of learning to read.
If after reading this article, you are still in doubt and still want to learn what other options there are, read this other post next.