This app offers so much content it’s difficult to know where to start! Linked to the website Reading Eggs and the phonics programme, the app brings all the content from the website and the computer onto a handheld device. The content is accessed via the website, which allows the user access to the app via their personal account. Specific teacher accounts are not currently supported but I would imagine this is something that will happen over time, allowing teachers the ability to work interactively alongside their students. However, student accounts set up through a teacher account on the website can still be used.
The app itself has been well designed, utilising friendly colours and pictures to keep users engaged and ensure they keep coming back for more. The overall aim is to help young children not only learn how to read and become more proficient in the skills of reading, but also to help them discover a love of reading. This is achieved through an abundant library of portable eBooks available within the app, in addition to all the directed learning games and activities.
The content of the app navigates different ‘maps’. There are twelve maps in total and users advance, almost like an adventure game, taking part in different lessons. The maps and lessons get progressively more difficult as the user works through them and as they learn more about the skills of reading. As an example, the first map introduces users to the common sounds of English language and builds up their knowledge and proficiency in this area before building on this knowledge with harder lessons, including decoding words. This means that users can access the app at many different levels.
The app offers a truly dynamic learning experience for users. Young children that are completely new to reading can access the app and work through all stages of content from the very beginning. Equally, children who may already have some proficiency at reading can enter the content at a slightly more advanced level. With so much content available users can realistically access it in many different ways, and more importantly in the ways that are going to benefit their learning the most.
As already mentioned, the app content is linked to that on the website and the app brings all this onto a handheld device. Due to this there is also a wealth of information and resources available on the actual website itself. Educators can access previews of all the lessons as well as downloadable resources. This allows them to not only plan what content they wish to use, but also to personalise the specific learning to the individual needs of each child. Through the website, educators also have access to live progress reports on the students that are using the app. Again, this works towards personalising the learning of the individual students, but also gives the educator a way to monitor the progress that a child is making as they move through the content of the app.
It’s difficult to think that a user would ever get bored with using this app as there are so many different elements, games and things to explore. Through the main page users can play on puzzle games, meet all the different ‘critters’ they have collected as they have progressed through the maps and lessons, spend the eggs they have earned through the lessons on different items in the ‘shop’, as well as countless other activities.
The developer definitely has a good grasp and understanding of how to engage young children into an app. More importantly, the developer’s knowledge of the skills required in learning to read complement this, meaning that the app not only has that ‘unputdownable’ quality to it but also performs extremely well in helping young children learn how to read.