This September, my biggest baby boy will be starting school.
The thought of that fills me with many emotions, most of them conflicting, and no doubt i'll post many a dramatic post all about them before September rolls around but today I wanted to talk about the more practical side of preparing your child for school.
The level of education a child is expected to have when starting school will always vary depending on where you live and who you ask, and although I tend not to worry myself too much with "norms" and where they "should be" when it comes to education and learning as I feel that all children learn at different paces and will get there in their own time, I also want to be sure that I'm doing everything I can to help get Tyne off to the best possible start.
So although I certainly don't want to have him spending his last few months of school-free life doing home work with me and swotting up on his math skills, I do want to encourage him to become familiar with letters and numbers.
I have friends with children of the same age who can write their own names, and I have to admit that Tyne certainly can not do that - as I said, this doesn't concern me as having worked in primary school settings myself I know that this will all be covered and I have every confidence in his ability to learn how to do this when he is ready - but it does make me aware that perhaps some time spent helping him to recognise the letters in his name would be beneficial.
But the question of how to do this without making it seem like a chore was a bit of a mystery to me. I'd already tried some work books I'd found in local stores but they didn't appeal to Tyne as, quite frankly, they were dull!
So when I was introduced to Reading Eggs I was intrigued to give it a go.
Reading Eggs is a learning resource created by expert educators with over 30 years experience which is aimed at helping children learn to read through a series of games and songs which make learning fun - there are 4 different levels depending on the stage you're child is at, which are suitable for children from age 3 up to age 13.
Now I'm going to be completely honest here, when I first logged on to Reading Eggs and tried out the activity myself - I was not convinced. I thought to myself "There is no way that this is going to hold Tyne's attention for long enough for him to learn anything"...I was absolutely convinced that it would be another one of those things that are a great idea in theory but that fall short when put into practise.
But still, I thought I might as well give it a try anyway and so the next afternoon after lunch I sat Tyne down with my laptop and asked if he wanted to try a new game all about letters and sounds - he was delighted at the idea as he is currently obsessed with the idea of playing "video games" (He has never actually played any but he hears his older cousins talk about them and thinks its very grown up!) and so he excitedly sat down ready to have a try.
Now although is very familiar with using a tablet he had never used a laptop or computer before, so I gave him a quick lesson in how to operate the touch pad and to my surprise he picked it up very quickly - he was soon ploughing through the Reading Eggs lessons, and - to my absolute amazement and delight - not only did he absolutely love it, but it seemed to be working!
Within the first few moments he had begun to recognise the letter M, and was able to get through the whole lesson without any mistakes - he loved the songs and their accompany videos which are used to help illustrate certain points and are quite reminiscent of the various YouTube videos he watches, and at no point did the session feel like a chore to either of us.
What's even better is that since using Reading Eggs, Tyne has begun to recognise letters on signs and store fronts - pointing them out to us when we're out and about. Considering that he had no knowledge or interest in them before using Reading Eggs I consider this to be a huge achievement and a great step in the right direction.
I am thoroughly impressed with how well Reading Eggs has worked for us so far, and we will certainly be continuing to use them to support Tyne as his journey into education begins.
If you are interested in trying Reading Eggs with your little one, you can sign up for a FREE 4 week trial at www.readingeggs.co.uk\sparkle17
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