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Reading Eggs

  1. Published by 3P Learning

  2. KS 1

  3. Literacy

KS 1 Classroom Evaluation by Marc Bowen

General overview of the title
Reading Eggs is a highly structured and engaging resource focused on the development of phonic awareness and reading skills from Reception to Year 2. This is an online resource which requires users to log in with a given username and password, enabling children and adults to make use of the resource in school and at home. The online lessons are broken down into a direct teaching session, led by one of the four key characters that the children become increasingly familiar which as they progress through the various levels of development. This is then supplemented by games and songs which are intended to reinforce this understanding and finally the phonic focus is then contextualised within an online book. Upon completion of a unit, the child is rewarded with a special Golden Egg from which a collectable ‘pet’ then hatches.

How did you use the title with your class?
Whilst Reading Eggs is intended for use with children of Reception and Key Stage 1 age, I actually made use of the resource with some very low ability Year 5 children, who are working at KS1 levels. In the case of these individuals, reading has long been a real challenge and this has gradually started to impact upon their motivation to read or indeed to engage with any reading support programmes. The resource was used with individual children, supported by an experienced teaching assistant whose role it was to ensure that the children were able to independently access the resource and to monitor progress.

Reading Eggs was used over a three week period with children completing the direct teaching activities with teaching assistant supervision, followed by the children making independent use of the follow-up activities and games at other times during the week. The supervised use of Reading Eggs was conducted outside the classroom in a quiet space, necessary for the children to get the most out of the high quality audio recordings of letter sounds and blends. It would have also been possible to complete this in the classroom with headphones connected to the computer.

The follow-up activities were then completed by the children within the classroom using headphones connected to a laptop. These sessions were timetabled to coincide with ‘early morning activities’ where all the children, regardless of ability, complete activities focused on the development of spelling and reading skills. It was also possible for the children to choose to work with others who were also using Reading Eggs at the same time so that they could offer peer support and evaluation. Some of the children were also accessing the resource from home.

Special Needs: How the pupils used the title
The children selected to use Reading Eggs are all working at Level 2 in Literacy, with significant special needs in language development. This included the development of their independent reading and spelling skills. The children had not been identified as having any specific language difficultly, but all had experienced some turbulence in their schooling and exhibited some behaviour difficulties which had impacted on their learning in the past.

The children had previously experienced a number of different intervention programmes but they were now losing motivation and reading was becoming a negative experience for all the individuals involved. Initially, each child was introduced to Reading Eggs by a teaching assistant who was able to ensure that the children understood the user interface and could navigate the website. The teaching assistant then oversaw the diagnostic placement test that the resource uses to ensure that children are working at an appropriate level for their current abilities. From this point onwards the children were allowed to make independent use of the resource with simple procedural oversight from a teaching assistant, as the children were working outside the classroom.

The children quickly understood the way in which each session was structured, thanks to the intuitive user interface. They responded well to the character driven structure of the session and were motivated by the fact that they weren’t ‘scored-down’ for making mistakes and were given lots of chances to prove that they understood the use of language being explored.

The most motivational aspect of Reading Eggs for the children were the ‘golden eggs’ themselves. As a group, the children are already keen collectors of the latest toys and games, so the element of collecting a new pet creature after each successfully completed lesson was very appealing. It was their curiosity and desire to collect these pets that motivated then to return to the resource independently.

The teacher’s view of the title
In the case of my classroom use of Reading Eggs, the resource offered a uniquely motivational pull for the children who used it, which hadn’t been available through other published reading programmes. The ‘pet-collecting’ element of the resource combined with the keen sense of humour displayed by the familiar on-screen characters really helped to engage my Year 5 special needs children in a way that other resources had failed to do so; which was often due to the fact that other materials were too obviously targeted at Key Stage 1 and this impacted negatively upon the self esteem of older children who still needed to make use of such materials.

The largely independent use of the resource by the children meant that it was easy to integrate it into the school day, as the children were able to make use of Reading Eggs during transitional points in the school day such as during registration and complete activities in a relatively short time. The rapidity of learning activities within the resource also worked well with the children I selected as they tend to experience difficulties with concentration and resilience when learning.

The potential for differentiation is considerable as the diagnostic placement assessment means that the children start at exactly the right point and can progress forwards from this point at a speed which is appropriate for their learning.

I could certainly see this becoming a core tool for the teaching of reading and spelling skills in Key Stage 1, with use being extended across the school to meet the needs of older children with specific special needs in their language and literacy development.

Does the title offer value for money?
When reflecting on the versatility of the resource and the high quality content that comprises Reading Eggs overall, I feel that it would offer considerable value for money in a school setting which would balance out the potential investment that the school would be making in purchasing the resource. It is clearly important to consider the sustainability of the subscription to the service, as this excellent resource could quickly becoming a core tool for the teaching or reading and spelling skills within the school and would be missed if financial support was lost. The resource could be easily used by staff and children across the school and would require only a very minimal investment of time and/or money to ensure that all staff are sufficiently trained in the use of Reading Eggs. It would even be possible for children to train other children in the use of the resource once their placement assessments had been completed.

What do your pupils say about the title?
‘I thought the ant was really fun and it made me laugh’
‘It was really easy to do the challenges on each level, so I got my pets quickly, which was good’
‘I don’t normally like doing spelling, but this is great!’
‘Can I stay in at break time to go on Reading Eggs, I’ve nearly got my next egg!’
‘The singing was a bit annoying but the games were really enjoyable.’
‘Reading Eggs is awesome!’
‘Can I go on the Reading Eggs game, it looks really fun’ (Year 6 child not requiring spelling or reading support)
‘I think the way the characters tell you what to do is cool. I want to go on it more!’
7. Specific comment from the evaluator
I was particularly impressed by the potential held within Reading Eggs. The most palpable measure of effectiveness of this resource from my experience was the way in which it took some very reluctant and demotivated readers/spellers and gave them back their spark for learning. The very fact that the children who used Reading Eggs were now sufficiently engaged to independently use the resource and to seek out opportunities to access the resource in their own time was significant.

I was overwhelmed by the change in the children using the resource and they appeared motivated by the fact that they were able to use the resource, due to their special needs, whereas other children did not have access to it. This was a clear shift from their previous dislike of any intervention or programme that marked them out as needing further support.

I will certainly be promoting the use of Reading Eggs in our Reception and Key Stage 1 classes, whilst also suggesting that this resource is made available to all children across the school including those who have specific special needs in literacy. I think this could become a very powerful additional tool for supporting the development of SEN children, whilst also ensuring that they have fun whilst learning!

Reading Eggs is a powerful and motivation web-based tool to support the development of phonic awareness, reading and spelling skills through the use of games, songs, animations and a truly multisensory approach to learning. Whilst targeted at Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children, there is potential for this resource to have a positive impact on SEN children across the school due to its friendly and motivational styling. The children’s determination to earn their next ‘golden egg’ drives them on to progress with their learning and this structure has proven to be highly engaging for all children. Reading Eggs could make a significant contribution to the teaching of reading and spelling in any primary school.