For the purposes of review, my family received, free, a subscription to Reading Eggs, an online reading program that teaches children to read. Geared toward emerging readers 4-7 years old, Reading Eggs offers an online placement test designed to correctly assess where your child should begin the program. He then follows a path through the lessons.
There are actually two different parts of Reading Eggs. The first teaches phonics and decoding with an emphasis on teaching children to be able to read sentences. The second is focused on reading comprehension.
The placement test is designed to assess a child's current level of reading and/or comprehension in order to begin his lessons at the correct point. The need for accurate placement is obvious to parents, as children who start a program at a level too advanced for them will lose heart. Those who start at a level too easy for them will get bored.
I have found in the past that I have a lot of trouble with online placement tests, or, more correctly, my children do. Unfortunately, my experience with Reading Eggs was no different. I have twin seven year-olds. My daughter is an accomplished reader and reads advanced chapter books. My son, though, while he can read, is not what I would call proficient. I was, therefore, excited to begin Reading Eggs to try to catch him up to his twin. Whether because he does not do well in a placement test situation, or because his skills are not consistent in any one area, he scored much lower on the test than I would have expected (or, rather, he was started at a level that seemed too low to me given what I know about his reading ability).
I gamely started him where he was supposed to be, but he quickly became bored. He already knew everything that he was being taught.
Thinking that perhaps he just hadn't tested well, I tried him in the reading comprehension section. Because we haven't done anything like this before, he didn't seem to understand what was required of him. When "reading comprehension" takes the form of narration, my son knocks it out of the park. His memory for details is wonderful. In this format, though, he just didn't seem to understand. He kept choosing the wrong answer and then getting more and more upset. We didn't get much use out of our subscription.
I don't want to imply that this program is not a good one. I think for a child just starting to read, still learning basic phonics and sight reading, this program would be excellent. The format is fine, the characters are likeable, and the pace of the program seems good. If your child can read, though, but can not yet "get" reading comprehension, then you may find that there is no good fit for you here.
Reading Eggs is available as a free 14 day trial, or can be purchased as a subscription starting at $9.95/month. Other plans are available.
Reading Eggs didn't end up working for our family, but that doesn't mean that it won't work for yours! You know my experience with the program. Visit the Crew blog to learn others'.