We have had an awesome time reviewing a complete online program called Essential Skills Advantage. For this review, we were given a full year subscription to this amazing program that uses fun, interactive animations, games and songs to designed to improve your child’s reading and language skills. It is geared towards K-6th grade, but can also be used for remedial work for older students.
Essential Skills Advantage is a subscription based program that contains over 20,000 activities and uses a variety of methods to help your child learn. These methods include:
* Phonemic Awareness
* Super Phonics
* Sight Words
* Reading Comprehension
* Fun with Spelling
Essential Skills Advantage uses a menu system, which is very easy to navigate. Once clicking on one of the activities, pictured above, the student is then asked to log in with their own log in details. They are then taken to another screen that breaks down the subject area into smaller learning activities.
In the Parent Portal, you are able to set/change passwords, access student grades, see the last time the program was accessed and the percentage of the programs that have been completed and print off certificates as the work is completed. You are also able to make customised learning programs for your child, so you can have your child practice the areas in which they need more training in.
How did we go?
After logging in, both of our boys had a look around at the program icons. I got them both to start with the first icon: Complete Reading for Kindergarten just so they could get used to the program. In this topic they had to listen to the names of food and the names and sounds of animals and click on the correct picture.
They both did really well on this one and then they set off to their appropriate levels. R headed for Reading Comprehension 4, where he would read a passage and then answer questions about what he had read. He also learnt about plurals, parts of speech, punctuation and the meanings of words.
B continued with the Complete Reading for Kindergarten for a bit before heading to Complete Reading 2 in which he started learning about short vowels. He had to choose one of three words and type it in to finish a sentence, played concentration, completed word searches and rhyming words for each of the short vowel sounds. I loved how this program also incorporates typing skills!
We found this program to be bright, colourful and cheery. The boys loved the little ‘victory’ sound when they answered a question correctly. There is also a different sound when they answered incorrectly which encouraged them to take their time and think about each question before answering, as they didn’t want to hear this sound. After they answered all the questions, there was a little dancing puppy that showed them their time and score. They loved this puppy!!
There is a constant background noise of birds and crickets. I thought was quite soothing and peaceful, like you were sitting outside. Our boys didn’t say anything about it, so I’m guessing they didn’t find it annoying or distracting.
Our boys found this program to be very entertaining and loved the small challenges that made learning fun. It is awesome how it appeals to all learning styles and how easy it is for children to navigate around, giving them a sense of independence. The inspirational star rewards and messages are great encouragements.
Overall, we will definitely continue to use this program alongside our current language arts curriculum as it is not only fun for they boys, but it is great for reinforcing what they are learning.
While I received access to the premium online program, Essential Skills Advantage have just started to offer a sponsored version of the program that is completely free. While using this ‘free’ version, you will be missing some of the available features and you will also see sponsored advertising. This is still a good deal which you can find at www.ESAlearning.com.
For those who are interested in the full premium program, Essential Learning Skills are offering 50% the monthly membership fee. All you need to do is add the coupon code: TOS50 when you sign up.
Details At a Glance!!
Name: Essential Skills Advantage
Website: Essential Skills Advantage
Product: Essential Skills Advantage
Ages: K-6th Grade, though for reinforcement, all ages would benefit
Price: $9.99 per month/per child