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Summer learning with a pre-schooler - by Mummytolittlee

Posted by Mummytolittlee on 19 August 2014 at 22:37

Reading Eggs is an interactive programme full of animations, songs, games and rewards, that encourages children to learn essential reading skills.

Like a lot of 3 and a half year old's my eldest child is drawn to anything with a screen - the tv, our phones, the tablet. He knows a screen has the potential to be the source of tv and gaming goodness, and he's obsessed. It doesn't help that he can work pretty much every electronic gadget in our house single-handedly, so he can turn on Pokoyo or Peppa Pig and play Angry Birds or Dipdap, without my input. If I left him to it he'd happily watch tv for hours, and while I'm not immune to the benefits of using Peppa as an occasional babysitter, if E watches TV for any longer than 30 minutes he turns into a gremlin. It's quite an interesting transformation - he starts watching TV with a normal complexion, a smile on his face and life in his eyes, and then 45 minutes later he's a pale, floppy, obstinate shadow of himself. Suffice it to say I've spent a lot of time this summer trying to convince E that we don't need to turn the tv on. It's actually been pretty successful - I find that if I just refuse point blank at the beginning of the day, he soon stops huffing around the house and finds something to play with.
Summer learning with a pre-schooler - by Mummytolittlee - by Mummytolittlee - reading eggs 2.jpg

As well as minimising screen time I've been keen to encourage E's learning this summer. I'm of the opinion that learning through play is best for children his age and as school starts so early in the UK I've had no desire to encourage formal, sit down learning. However, I've noticed a few things that make me think he might be ready for more discrete learning time: he's a lot more keen on structured play than he was last summer, he gets quite frustrated and silly if I leave him undirected for extended periods of time, and he thrives on one on one time when J and I teach him things and talk through experiences. Also he starts school in 2015 *eek* so there is a part of me thinking I should probably start easing him very (very) gently into the culture of school.

So, this summer in a bid to minimise the lure of the tv and to try and nurture a love of learning (because that's what I hope my boys achieve more than anything: a love of learning and a resilient self-belief that they can achieve anything they put their minds to), I've been working on something new with E. It's a computer programme called Reading Eggs. It incorporates E's beloved screen time but in an educational, mummy-son time sort of way.

Summer learning with a pre-schooler - by Mummytolittlee - by Mummytolittlee - reading eggs.jpg

Reading Eggs is an interactive online program for children ages 4-8. Its 120 lessons are designed to teach children how to read or to build on existing reading skills, and it's centred around five pillars of reading instruction - phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The programme is a great starting point for children who have limited to no reading skills, but it can also be a really useful resource to compliment what a child learns at school. With interactive animations, songs, games and rewards, it's an exiting little world for children within which they can learn at their own pace.

We were sent the Reading Eggs Mega Book Pack, and we were so impressed. The name is quite the giveaway - with 80 reading books, 400 stickers, 8 mini posters, 8 activity books and 2 packs of flashcards, it's most definitely "mega". Little E was excited from the word go, not only did he love the idea of being able to work through his own special game on my laptop, but he was thrilled by the prospect of important mummy and E time. He's is super-keen to 'play' Reading Eggs whenever we get a free minute, so I'm excited to see how he gets on with the programme over the next couple of weeks. I'll be watching with interest as he works through the lessons and games, and I'll write back soon with my thoughts. Watch this space...

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