Headsprout educational reading website for kidsEven though I homeschool, I’m more than okay with farming out some subjects. Especially if my kids will do them happily on their own, instead of fighting with me for an hour. So, when Headsprout asked if my five year-old beginner reader would like to test out their phonics-based Early Reading Series, I jumped at the chance. 

I know my son isn’t rushing over to the computer because of his innate love of phonics. Rather, it is the fact that the program makes it fun for him to practice things like his “ish” words. And this isn’t just a bunch of computer games either; he’s actually getting the gratification that comes from reading real books, printable stories, and a dozen full-color readers. With 80 lessons, doing just a couple of lessons a week (each of which adapt to focus on his problem areas) will easily take us through the school year, and I like that the program is internet-based so we can sign in from different

Since Headsprout’s Early Reading Series is directed at little kids, and not their “hurry up already” parents, I did find the narrator’s very slow-and-deliberate-way-of-speaking a bit maddening. And the animators aren’t going to be entertaining any job offers from Pixar any time soon. My son couldn’t care less about those things, but my nine year-old daughter tried out the Reading Comprehension program, and did have a problem with the slow pace and the younger-kid graphics. That said, parents who really need their kids to work on these skills may appreciate the flexibility they get using Headsprout over one of those chain learning centers.
As for cost, the price per lesson averages out to be about the same as a Tall Starbucks coffee. Not bad when you figure the lessons will last a whole lot longer than a caffeine buzz. –Christina

Both Headsprout’s Early Reading Series and their new Reading Comprehension program can be found at Headsprout.com where you can try out the first couple of episodes for free.