Using an Online Reading Program to Help Older Reluctant Readers

In an ideal world all of my children would have been avid readers. I am. I’m so addicted to reading that I must keep a good book going all the time. If I come to the end of one with nothing else to read, I begin to get a little “antsy.” Before the days of Kindle and constant access to reading material, I’ve been known to go out after 10:00 at night to get a book so I can read before bed.

But all of my children aren’t avid readers. I have two who enjoy reading- though not to the extent that I do. And I have two who really just don’t choose to read at all. They struggle with vocabulary and comprehension. They struggle with fluency. They don’t read well, so they don’t enjoy reading.

So what’s a homeschool mom to do? I’ve lately seen the benefits of using online programs to help my reluctant readers, and I was very excited to have the opportunity to try out an online program that I had heard of and seen recommended very often.

Reading Eggs

Disclosure: I received free access to this program and compensation for my post. All opinions are always my own.

We received a three month subscription to Reading Eggs. Now, if you’ve been around the blog for awhile, you may know that my youngest girls are 12 and 14. And you may wonder if Reading Eggs can really be used with kids that old. The answer? Yes! Reading Eggs has a suite of programs that are each geared toward an age group. Reading Eggs Junior is for kids ages 2-4. Reading Eggs is for kids ages 3-7, and Reading Eggspress is for kids ages 7-13. There is also a cool math program- Mathseeds- for ages 3-9. I spent some time poking around each of these because I was really excited about the program. But my girls used Reading Eggspress.

Benefits of Using an Online Reading Program

Using an online reading program gives kids who enjoy computer games an incentive to practice.

A reluctant reader is usually not very motivated to read. If pronouncing words is a struggle and they aren’t even understanding what they read, kids are likely not going to practice reading every day unless they are required to and you constantly follow up on whether or not it’s happening. And they are going to face reading time as a very unwanted chore.

However, because many kids enjoy computer games and video games, the format of an online reading program will likely appeal to them. They can “play” in the program just as they do in their other online games. They can progress through levels and earn prizes. This setup is what kids already enjoy doing, so it is likely to appeal to them.

Reading Eggspress is set up like other computer games that my girls enjoy. It is bright and colorful. They can create an avatar and play through levels and earn eggs that will allow them to “buy” things for their avatar and apartment. All of this is similar to many other games the girls play, so it is automatically appealing to them, and the user experience is familiar.

Reading Eggs Review

An online reading program can help you as a parent to keep up with kids’ progress.

It is sometimes difficult to measure success and progress in reading. If the kids are reading independently, how do I know how much they can comprehend from what they’re reading? Are they pronouncing words correctly? Do they understand the vocabulary? Can they recall information that they’ve read? It can be very difficult to evaluate the progress of a reluctant reader.

Online programs typically keep track of progress, so you can see at a glance how well the kids are performing. Many programs won’t allow the kids to advance to a new level until there is mastery of the current level. When you use those programs, you can be sure that the program is effective and that kids are learning if they are progressing in levels and earning rewards in the program.

Reading Eggspress has a variety of ways that kids can measure their own progress and that you can easily see their progress. From the family dashboard, you can get an overall glimpse of what kids have been working on and achieving. From inside each child’s account, they- and you- can click on a “My Progress” section to see an overview of progress, a “Targets” section to see progress toward goals, and a “Trophy Room” section to see the trophy earned for the current week- based on time spent and achievements.

Online reading programs encourage kids to practice regularly. 

No matter your good intentions, it’s sometimes difficult to get kids to read regularly. If they are struggling to stay caught up on other schoolwork, their independent reading time can easily fall by the wayside. And if they aren’t motivated to read on their own- as most reluctant readers are not- reading practice likely won’t be happening consistently.

An online reading program helps with this because it provides more accountability for regular practice. Most of these programs keep up with time spent on the program, and you as a parent can see if the child worked on the days he or she was supposed to be practicing. This makes it a little harder for reading practice to be overlooked.

Reading Eggspress encourages the kids to practice each day because they are going to earn eggs as they practice. These eggs are the currency of the game and are going to be used to upgrade the avatar and apartment space as well as to earn trophies. Regular daily practice will ensure that the kids are earning these eggs, so practice is more likely to happen every day.

Practicing Reading With Reading Eggspress

When kids login to their account in Reading Eggs from the family dashboard, they’ll have access to all three levels of the program (Reading Eggs Junior, Reading Eggs, and Reading Eggspress) as well as to the Mathseeds math program and a library of books that can be sorted and searched by age level. When they enter their chosen program- Reading Eggspress for my girls- they will see a map with some different options.

The Reading Eggspress Map

~ My Lessons is the area where kids will go through a series of lessons with the program tracking progress and moving them up as they master the material. The first time kids use this area, they can take a progress test to see which lesson they should begin with or you can just choose to have them start with the first lesson.

~ In the English Skills area, kids can practice skills like spelling and grammar.

~ Kids can enter the Stadium to practice spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and usage and compete against other players.

~ The Library link takes kids to the library where they can choose books by age level. They can read the books and take quizzes on them to measure comprehension.

~ In the Targets area, kids can track their progress by completing a variety of goals.

~ Kids can go to the Mall to “buy” items for their apartment or avatar.

~ The Apartment is the child’s personal area that they can customize with their bought items, change their avatar, see their trophies.

~ Trophies can also be seen by entering the Trophy Room.

~ In the Arcade kids can use their eggs to play a variety of learning games.

Why You Need to Give Reading Eggs a Try

~ All of the lessons and games are brightly colored and visually appealing. Younger kids would especially like the graphics and animation. 

~ The instructions for each activity are clear, and kids will be able to catch on easily. 

~ It’s easy to track each child’s progress and see whether they’ve mastered a lesson or skill.

~ The difficulty of the material for each level seems to be on an average or below level for that age group. If you have reluctant or struggling readers, this material isn’t going to be so difficult that they are frustrated.

I was impressed with Reading Eggs. I think it’s especially appealing to young readers, but I also like that there are lessons of increasing difficulty. This could be great for younger readers who are progressing rapidly as well as older readers who are struggling.

Reading eggs review

4 Week Free Trial of Reading Eggs

You can try Reading Eggs- all levels- for free for four weeks. Go here to get access to all three levels of Reading Eggs- Reading Eggs Junior, Reading Eggs, and Reading Eggspress- as well as the Mathseeds program.

If you have preschoolers and want to begin basic instruction that will lead to reading, if you have young kids who are beginning readers, or if you have older kids who are reluctant or struggling readers, Reading Eggs is an excellent resource for your homeschool. (It’s also great reading practice for kids who aren’t homeschooled!)

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