It’s no secret that my youngest son struggles with reading.
Profoundly dyslexic, his learning differences affect every aspect of learning to read proficiently.
In order to best help him, we work consistently and in a systematic way. He practices every single day, in one way or another. I am constantly trying to find ways to make the learning hands-on, but still age appropriate. (Because a 12-year-old boy doesn’t want little lambs on his reading assignment – ask me how I know.)
Last year, almost all of his phonics and fluency practice was completed with me. It was a good year and one that saw him make a ton of progress. He went from reading at a beginning first grade level to a mid-second grade level.
This is the most progress he’s made in a single year so far. The problem?
He had no idea that he had made that much progress. Even more so, he was becoming stuck in the negativity of “Nothing works. I am a failure. I am never going to learn to read.”
I have been wracking my brain for a way to tangibly show him the progress. I see it all the time. Now, he can read a street sign or the words on the Netflix home-screen, but it he has not been able to really acknowledge the progress at all.
I tried to think back to a time that I noticed him more active and excited around his advancement. It came back to me in a flood of recognition.
He used to love gathering all those golden eggs in our online program.
Please know, although I have been compensated for my time in writing this post, I only share products that have been helpful for my family, in the hopes they may work for yours as well!
We used Reading Eggs for years.
He loved it. I loved it. It was an easy way to supplement his learning, and allow him to have a little fun in the process.
Why did we stop? I honestly have no idea.
I think I started putting more emphasis on our one on one learning, worried that he was getting older and not making enough headway. No matter what the reason, I realized that online learning allowed him a visual representation of his progress.
We went back to Reading Eggs the very next day.
Reading Eggs For Struggling Readers
Reading Eggs is an online program designed to make learning to read fun and effective. The learner works through carefully designed online reading games and activities that are easy to follow, self-paced, and highly engaging.
Reading Eggs programs include:
Each level begins with a placement test that is interactive and designed to effectively select the appropriate learning level for your reader. Because this “test” is done through an online game, I find that the results are actually much more accurate than any written, standardized test for my son. When my son completed the assessment, it was clear that he was better able to show what he knows, because he was relaxed and engaged.
Why An Online Reading Program Is A Must For My Struggling Reader
The first time my son completed the program assessment several years ago, he barely answered three questions correctly and was placed at the very first level. This time around, I had him start at the Reading Eggs level again, because I wanted to see the progress he’s made and even more importantly, I wanted him to see it!
It was so good for him. He was finally able to answer questions correctly, move on and feel a sense of confidence.
The program placed him in the very last part of the Reading Eggs program. Over the course of the last few, he has completed the final part of the learning in preparation for heading into Reading Eggspress (the program for older kids ages 7-13). Not only has it seamlessly fit into our instruction, but I have been reminded of all the reasons why this online reading program works so well for my son.
Why Reading Eggs?
There is something about online learning that works very, very well for my son’s learning differences. He simply does not learn well with a traditional, textbook approach. Because the screen provides visual input, the mouse provides tactile input and the sounds provide auditory input, my son is able to more effectively and completely engage in the learning. This higher level of engagement corresponds to a higher level of retention and progress.
Because it feels like playing a game, it’s fun. Because it’s fun, my son is less likely to resist practice. It also helps eliminate much of the anxiety and stress he feels around reading in general. Both allow for greater learning and retention (and they make life a little bit easier for both of us!).
Designed With Learning Differences In Mind
Reading Eggs addresses five key literacy areas that are essential for children to learn to read. Any one of them can cause difficulties for the struggling reader. They include phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Every Reading Eggs lesson uses all five or a combination of these key areas. When a child struggles in one area, the program responds so that the child may receive help in that particular area.
Obvious Visual Progress
I had no idea how important this benefit really is for a struggling learner. Seeing the golden egg count rise, progressing through the learning map, and yes, even taking the placement test again, all provide the positive reinforcement my son has been craving. Although I frequently recognize and point out my son’s progress, there is something about an independent and neutral source giving him the same feedback.
As a result, as he moves into his learning this year, he is much more confident in his own abilities.
I am so glad we decided to add Reading Eggs back into our learning. If you would like to see what it is all about and give it a try with your learner, I have great news.
Just in time for Back to School, Reading Eggs is offering a 4 week free trial with access to all of their programs – Reading Eggs Junior, Reading Eggs, Reading Eggspsress and Mathseeds.
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.