Reading eggs kids page

Boost kids’ Reading Confidence with Reading Eggs

Reading Eggs is not new to us; We’ve subscribed on and off for the past 5 years for Angelina and Hugo and just recently Max too.   Hugo, my 8 year old, has struggled to gain confidence in reading. We’ve had a lot of changes recently- moving to Sweden a year ago, him starting to […]

tips for engaging reluctant readers

How can I help my 8 year old Struggling, Reluctant Reader?

For years I’ve had pangs of guilt for failing my child, failing to rescue him from his struggle to read…you know the ravaging mum guilt that grips you when you know something isn’t as it should be and you look to yourself for fault first: Meet Hugo, my clever, determined tri-lingual,  soon to be quad-lingual […]

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Boost kids’ Reading Confidence with Reading Eggs

Reading Eggs is not new to us; We’ve subscribed on and off for the past 5 years for Angelina and Hugo and just recently Max too.

 

Hugo, my 8 year old, has struggled to gain confidence in reading. We’ve had a lot of changes recently- moving to Sweden a year ago, him starting to learn Swedish in August, me travelling more for my work with Inspireroo.  Yet, now he is in a position where he needs a step change in reading otherwise he will fall behind at school.

Racking our brains how to help Hugo, we were reminded by a friend and then the kids themselves about our lapsed Reading Eggs subscription.  We restarted the subscription and let Hugo loose on it.  (As a lapsed subscribers the kids don’t lose their progress, so it was easy to start where they left off.)

In the past month, with Christmas interrupting some of the progress, he’s spent 30-40 minutes “playing” on Reading Eggs every day after school.  First he used my laptop, but then we realised Reading Eggs works perfectly on the iPad.  Now he grabs my iPad mini.

Playing is not actually playing at the moment.  Whereas previously Hugo just wanted to go to the Playroom in Reading Eggs (he had to complete 3 lessons before being allowed to go to the Playroom), nowadays he sees progressing on the map as the challenge and he is aiming to ace tests.  He rarely goes to the Playroom section.

Reading eggs kids page

He’s doing well on the map; currently at c.70 out of the 190 lessons.

Reading eggs map

I personally have tried to zone out of listening to Reading Eggs as the Catchy tunes are real earwigs that stay with you the whole day.

Now if I see an ant I automatically think of Sam the Ant and when we eat marshmallows we joke about Marshmallow Mouse… an insider joke that gets blank looks from others who’ve not experienced Reading Eggs.  It is through this playful, repetitive, slightly annoying (for adults) tone that Reading Eggs captures the kids attention and imagination and they learn to read.

Back to the Map and the lessons:  At each station there is a focus of the lesson, first it’s letters with some sight words mixed in, then it moves to more sight words and sentence formation. Each lesson has a couple of different sections, each tackling letter and word recognition in a different way,  addressing the different learning styles of kids. There are games of birds flying from branch to branch or frogs jumping from leaf to leaf.  When the kids do something right there is a big cheer, wrong and they are buzzed or told “No”.

Reading eggs exercises

At the end of each lesson there is a special egg that hatches and out comes a quirky animal like Pram Lamb, Sunny Snail, etc,  Overall it’s fun and engaging!

 

However, I wouldn’t want Hugo to do more than 4 lessons in one go, because Reading Eggs is quite stimulating and high energy.

 

The way Reading Eggs motivates the students is through lots of cheering and praise, and by rewarding them  with golden eggs, which is currency to buy avatar enhancement, and spend in the Playroom.  Hugo currently has a mummified hawk as his avatar.

Reading Eggs cheering on reluctant reader

To my delight Hugo has discovered a new section: the Driving Test

Here he practices in getting sight words right and he gets to race a beatle on a track collecting more golden eggs.  I love that he is interested in this for I’ve been trying for the last 3 years to play with sight word cards with him, get him reading and writing these words correctly.  It’s been a big uphill battle with a lot of pushback from him.

Even on Reading eggs he didn’t want to do the sight word tests after an initial try. Then I tried and realised you get to go racing for 60 seconds if you get all 20 words right and showed him.  Now he’s enthusiastically practicing on the digital flashcards. HURRAY!

Reading Eggs Driving test

and the racing his beatle. 🙂

The Playhouse is full of simple games.  They are great games for the littlest ones for learn mouse coordination or working with a touchscreen.  Hugo still wonders there, but less so now at 8.

Reading Eggs

The other sections, which we will use more are Storylands and Spelling at the Skills Bank.  Hugo has started on Storylands, but is reluctant to try spelling …yet.  I’m not pushing!  It will come as his confidence grows and I can steer him in that direction.

Over the last month that Hugo has put in some concerted effort with Reading eggs and reads to us as well, he has definitely improved. (I’ve shared about the background and our efforts on improving Hugo’s reading HERE)  I hope we can keep the routine going even as I or Dadonthebrink travels with work and the other solo parents.

For any fellow parent with a struggling, reluctant reader I would definitely recommend trying the Reading Eggs program: it’s fun, varied and caters for various different learning styles.

As a parent I get emails of progress and through the parent dashboard I can see where the kids are, what they’ve learnt and how well they’ve done. This enables us to take the learning offline and support by weaving it into our day-to-day activities.

Reading Eggs Parent dashboard

New subscribers often have a couple of weeks’ free trial to test if it is for their little one. Currently they are running a 4 week free trial offer to all new subscribers.   You have nothing to loose, but lots to gain, try it!

What have you found helpful to assist your struggling little reader?

 

How can I help my 8 year old Struggling, Reluctant Reader?

For years I’ve had pangs of guilt for failing my child, failing to rescue him from his struggle to read…you know the ravaging mum guilt that grips you when you know something isn’t as it should be and you look to yourself for fault first:

Meet Hugo, my clever, determined tri-lingual,  soon to be quad-lingual 8 year old.  He was lucky that he started school when he was almost 5 years old; he needed the extra time to mature and be ready for school, sitting still, writing, reading.  In fact, reading is something we have been battling with since.

Hugo, in his elements outdoors, being active

At the age of 8 he is at a reading age of a 5- 6 year old;  Hugo is a reluctant reader. He still mixes b, d, p and q, he muddles up m, n and w sometimes too. (He used to write his numbers back to front, upside down too)

Is my child dyslexic?

Despite reading difficulty, he is rather quick with maths, mental arithmetic and has excellent pattern recognition.  He is not a dumb child, in fact he has been described as bright, intelligent and quick thinking by his teachers.

Recognising that he is such a slow reader. Almost all his teachers have recommended more practice reading. However, evening reading has often been a battle, one that, more often than not, I have not embarked on, letting him choose to read with me or not.  I did not relish him going to bed on an argument and resenting reading even more and resenting me for forcing him to read.

Hugo being a logic and reason-driven child, we have often explained that reading is necessary for all jobs and it is a skill that is ESSENTIAL to master to progress in school and later in life. He gets it.  He understands why it is important and he’s constantly coming up with imaginative theoretical inventions for tech to help him read.  The latest being a special Skylander that scans and reads out loud any text.

We’ve got to the point where he is starting to lag behind in school work because he is very slow and not confident in reading.

 

Should we have NOT brought him up multilingual?

Looking back, I have often thought that maybe it was his multilingual upbringing that is to blame.

There is certainly evidence that supports that children, especially boys, with a multilingual background are slower at starting to talk, read and write. On the other hand, the gift he has by being able to understand and speak 3 different languages that he didn’t have to consciously learn is invaluable, in my opinion.

Hugo was slightly delayed in starting to talk.  His vocabulary isn’t huge, but his comprehension across a wide vocabulary in all three languages is excellent.

 

Did we start reading too late? Should I have steered his interest toward letters and number earlier?

No! He’s loved books from a very early age, but didn’t show any interest to decipher them himself before he went to school.

I know he wasn’t ready to start reading before he did.  When he did start at school, aged 5, he was a child who has struggled with English being taught in a phonetic way, instead of through syllables.  It defies his way of thinking, his logic.

Circumstances have meant I haven’t had the chance to consistently support him with an alternative method .

Now, I feel, he has matured a lot and is ready to buckle down and crack this vital skill.

 

Why is now the right time?

 

He is 8 years old.  School is just going to get more and more demanding and he will slip behind if we delay it.

However, the most important factor, for us, is that Hugo has, in the past year, matured to a point where he is truly motivated by rewards.  Whereas before, he was happy to get gold stars, but the promise of reward didn’t give motivation to power on through difficulty.  We have 2 forms of reward- pocket money and a reading reward chart.

Now he saves money fastidiously, working towards saving for his next treat. (It’s the next Skylanders game at the moment.)  He values the reward points he gets from us that are giving him pre-agreed treats at each milestone.

 

Action plan

 

We started on this path just over a month ago.  In order to get him reading better and faster we are doing 3 things:

  1. Assessing whether his difficulty with reading may stem from dyslexia (which sadly is only looked at in most school systems at a later age, by which the child is discouraged, labelled as lazy, mediocre and so on.)

 

  1. We are building in reading practice into his daily routine through the means he loves – games and going digital- and he is reading with either me or Dadonthebrink at least 3 nights a week.

 

  1. Besides the reward of progressing and his confidence growing in reading which we can see even in the last weeks, Hugo has a specific reading reward chart which gives him perks like playing on the Xbox, choosing our family film to watch on film night, choosing what we have for dinner and where we go for an outing.

 

Daily routine of reading practice

 

In the past this has been the main stumbling block: Hugo would resist sitting down with me to read his homework books brought home which would escalate into an argument whether I used a carrot or a stick.

I can understand why I’m not the best teacher- I’m a Capricorn, straight talking, fact-based and strict.  Weaving in fun and games into learning doesn’t come naturally for me.

 

We racked our brains and together with Hugo came up with a plan to give him a chance to practice reading every day.

 

Firstly, we agreed that he can still stay in after school club, where he gets to play with his friends, but needs to come home earlier, so he’s not too tired to get on with homework and reading.  Playing and running around is important for Hugo. He needs that to allow him to concentrate afterwards.

 

Secondly, we discussed how he likes to read and he said he’d like to do more on the computer. Years ago, we discovered Reading Eggs and both Angelina and Hugo have used it sporadically. They’ve really liked the program, but didn’t get on with using the mouse or my touchpad.  We let the effort lapse.

 

Now, I’ve built Reading Eggs into our daily routine, especially as I discovered it works really well on my iPad mini.

 

Hugo dons headphones and sits next to me at the kitchen table or on the sofa- me working on my laptop, him on the iPad. I glimpse over to him once in a while and can jump in if I sense he is frustrated by something.

 

After 30 minutes or so of practice, he can go to play either with his toys or spend another 20 minutes in the “playroom” in Reading Eggs.

 

Then we head off to sports clubs.

 

On the evenings that we don’t have clubs, Dadonthebrink and I make an effort to sneak away from the bedtime chaos with Hugo for him to read us his school reading book.

 

So far this routine is helping Hugo grow in reading confidence, even if he is frustrated by getting letters and sounds mixed up.

 

I’ll keep you updated on our progress.

 

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your experiences of how to motivate and work with your little reluctant reader.

 

READ MORE:

How Reading Eggs is helping my Struggling Reader Child

Reading eggs kids page

For slightly older kids, Jen has written about “Tips for engaging reluctant readers

tips for engaging reluctant readers