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What can happen in 10 Days? Annika and the 10-day free trial

by Laura Gordon || 23 August 2018

Perhaps you’ve seen our videos, checked out our website, and read some of our parent reviews, but you’re still on the fence about the 10-day free trial. How much can a child really learn in 10 days, anyways? Can reading practice really be fun and easy, when it’s been a struggle for months or years? Does this program really work?

We know it can be hard to try one more thing, especially after months or years of reading struggles. So what can you really expect in a 10-day free trial? To answer that question, we did a 10-day trial with six-year-old Annika. Below, we offer a day-to-day journal from her lessons.

Meet Annika and Talen: A Story of Reading Frustration

Before starting our free trial, Annika was desperate to learn to read. Her mother, Talen, had spent the summer teaching Annika, but reading practice had become a daily battle, with tears all around. Both Talen and Annika were tired of the frustration, and they were both open to trying something new. When I asked if they would be guinea pigs for the Easyread blog, they were both excited about the opportunity.

Ending the Nightly Battle: Annika and the 10-day Free Trial

Day 1

When I tell Annika that we will be doing 10 days of reading games together, she is very excited. She is especially excited that her reading games will be on the computer.

“I love computer games!” she tells me.

At first, Annika struggles with using the mouse because she has never done it before. She also struggles with blending sounds together to make words. She can sound out the individual sounds in /g/, /a/, and /b/, but she cannot blend them together to get “gab.”  However, Annika loves the trainertext characters, and she is tickled to meet some of the special characters that make Easyread such a unique system. At the end of the lesson, in spite of her challenges with blending, Annika is hooked. For the rest of the day, she asks about her next lesson.

Day 2

When Annika wakes up on day 2, the first thing she does is ask for another lesson. From the very first game, it is clear that her initial struggles with the mouse and blending sounds have both gotten easier. She is able to use the mouse well now, and she makes real progress in blending sounds, even though this is still a challenge. At the end of the lesson, Annika gets her first codeword, and she is very excited to learn that she will get a prize in the mail. She finishes the day by playing with the special card set to help her remember her new characters, and we encourage her to blend some simple sounds using the trainertext card set.

Day 3

The day passes in busy activities and games with friends, and we do not get to the lesson until later that night. However, Annika refuses to go to sleep without finishing her lesson! And her persistence pays off – she shows big strides forward in her blending of simple sounds in the lesson. She easily decodes words like “frog”, “pot”, “hat”, and “lips”, which she has never seen before.

Day 4

Again, Annika insists on doing the lesson first thing in the morning. As usual, she is always eager to do it, which is a real change for both her and her mom. Talen has never seen her so eager to read before!

There are some new, extra-challenging words in the lessons today, and words with silent letters and irregular spellings appear in the system. “Yacht” and “was” prove tricky for Annika, but with the help of the trainertext characters, she is able to work out these words by herself. Her blending problems from Day 1 are all resolved and the trainertext are clearly making sense.

Days 5 – 7

Annika’s prize arrives! She has a brand new pair of spy glasses, which lets her see her baby brother behind her back – even when he tries to sneak up behind her! She is thrilled with herself, and she tells everyone that she is a secret spy.

At this point, Annika is getting much faster at short words, and she rips through words like “up” and “cup”. However, she is now seeing longer words show up in the games. “Rabbit” and “bottles” are tricky for Annika, but her mom helps her work through the longer words by using her hands to cover parts of the words and by encouraging her to break the word into smaller chunks or syllables. Tricky new blends also make an appearance. Annika has to blend the /s/ and the /p/ in words like “wasp” and “spin”.

When the words are tricky, Talen gives her lots of praise and affirmation so that she can gain more confidence. I overhear Annika tell the nanny, in a very serious voice, that she is learning to read. The praise is working! She is obviously feeling proud of herself, and that new confidence helps her take on more challenging words in the lessons. A new codeword on Day 5 means that there are more prizes to come, too, and the promise of more prizes boosts her enthusiasm.

Day 8

Today, she meet lots of new vowel sounds and trainertext characters, including the Ape with the Cape and the Oon on the Moon. These new vowels sounds prove tricky for Annika, and while she likes the Unicorn with the Pink Horn, she cannot remember the sound he makes. We pull out the trainertext card set at the end of the lesson to help Annika work on the new sounds. But even with the new challenges, Annika is still happy at the end of her lesson.

Day 9

After a good night of sleep, Annika is much better with her new vowel sounds. The /i/ sound in ice cream is a bit easier to recognize today. But even more exciting, she shows me her newest prize has arrived – a magnifying glass! She even has special “spy box” now that she keeps her prizes in so that she can find them easily.

Day 10

It is our final day of the free trial, but there are still new challenges. Not only does Annika need to keep working on those tricky new vowel sounds, but she also meets the final characters in the system. These characters are tough because they represent challenging blends like /tr/, /th/, and /st/.  She still struggles a bit with these in the lesson, but impressively, she is quick to decode two new words – “dress” and “thumb” – almost instantly. She has gone from struggling to decode simple 3-letter nonsense words to easily sounding out some challenging, irregular words. When her final codeword comes at the end of the system, Annika is delighted.

After the 10-day Trial: The Verdict is in!

A few days after the 10-day trial, Annika’s mother, Talen, texts me to let me know that Annika has started sounding out words all by herself, even outside the system. And she is doing it without tears and without getting upset! When her new spy pen prize arrives in the mail, she tries to read the package  without help, and she doesn’t get frustrated when the sounds are tricky!

Both Annika’s mother and father tell me separately that they are delighted by the change in Annika. Her father tells me that she she successfully sounded out “restroom” all by herself at his company picnic. A little girl that had struggled to sound out and blend words only 10 days before is now feeling confident and hopeful. The frustration of old reading practice is gone. Both her parents are incredibly proud and grateful to see such improvement, and they look forward to watching her make real gains as she becomes a more confident, fluent decoder.

The verdict? Easyread helped Annika make huge strides, both in her ability as a decoder and in her confidence. She loved every lesson, and she consistently asked to do them. But the real proof is in the pudding – after just ten days, Annika is ready to make the next leap in learning to read!

Will your child see the same progress as Annika?

If your 6 to 10-year-old child is just starting out with reading, or if he or she has been showing signs of real reading trouble, like guessing at easy words, Easyread is the program for you.

Everyday, children all around the world use the Easyread System to learn how to read. These children go from struggling with reading to becoming confident, accurate readers. The secret to our system is our one-of-a-kind trainertext visual phonics. These fun, funny characters make it easy for children to learn the sounds that different letters represent. By pairing trainertext with 15 minutes of fun games, we make learning to read an enjoyable experience for both you and your child. To see how Easyread can help your child, try our free 10-day trial today.

Laura Gordon was a lecturer in English literature at the University of Maryland and editor for Public Health. She is a mother of two children and is now an Easyread System Manager for David Morgan Education, supporting children and their parents on the journey to confident reading and writing.