Review Crew: EGM Educational Systems – READS

Reading is our absolute favorite past time.  My kids love read aloud time and whenever Curly has a spare second, you’ll find her nose in a book.  I love that she loves to read (and that she can read so well!)

But since she reads independently now, I’m never quite sure how much she’s comprehending.  I’ve wanted to do some literature guides with her but she’s not quite ready for that amount of depth.  However, I’ve found something to fill the gap and help me know just how much she’s understanding.

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EGM Educational Systems LLC was created by Elaine Meyers who is a certified reading specialist with over 25 years of experience working with young readers.  Meyers wanted to create a program for parents to help them assess their child’s understanding of reading material.  EGM Educational Systems was created to promote literacy and to encourage conversations between parent and child, making the parent an active participant in the reading process while motivating children to continue to read.

What did we receive?
We had the opportunity to review the Reads Parent/Child Reading Comprehension System from EGM Educational Systems.

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READS stands for Really Easy and Dynamic Strategies.  This program includes several components to aid in reading comprehension and literacy.

  • READS Parent Manual – This manual explains the program and provides tips for using the products.  Reward ideas are listed as well as helpful insight to each of the questions asked in the cards.  The manual gives ideas for prompting children when they aren’t able to answer a question or need help to give a more in-depth answer.
  • Question Cards and Ring – There are 30 question cards and a metal ring included.  Each card has a literature-related question that is a general question which can be applied to nearly every book.
    • Rewards Chart and Stickers – The program is set up to use a sticker chart for rewarding the child for reading.  A page of stickers is included for the child to begin tracking progress.
    • Magic Finger and Reading Guide Strip – There is a pointer finger for younger children to use to help track their reading across the page.  A guide strip for older children is also included.
    • Speedy Speller – This is a small booklet of some of the most commonly used words for the young elementary age group.  It’s a quick guide for spelling help.  This book also includes punctuation and grammar rules with over 1,400 words and space to write your own words.
    READS is geared for children in grades 1-4 and retails for $19.95.

    How did we use this product?
    When we got our product, I opened our pouch and showed Curly her Speedy Speller right away.  She kept it in her room for when she would write.  It became a very handy reference tool for her.  I didn’t see it again, she keeps it with her pencils and paper.

    We decided not to use the sticker chart because we already use a sticker reward chart with our kids.  Successful school work completion, great attitudes, and obedience are all part of that chart so we made our reading and discussion time another part of that chart.  It became another sticker-earning opportunity for Curly.

    Curly started using the reading guide strip with her books and now uses it as her bookmark.  She has said that it is helpful to keep her from losing her place while she reads.

    I kept the cards on our school table.  When we first started using the program, I would ask Curly the reading question before I sent her off to read.  That way, she knew what she needed to be looking for in her book during reading time.  This was less overwhelming for her so she could feel more prepared for our discussion time.   Each day after she had some reading time, we would have a brief chat about her book.

    After about a week of using the program this way, I started asking her the questions after she read her chapter.  By this time she was feeling more confident and was able to answer the questions.  She so enjoyed our discussions that she would often ask to answer more cards during each discussion time.  I think during one discussion we went through 10 cards!  We just let it start our discussion and then allowed our discussion to wander into other topics about the book.  It was a great starting point for us!

    What didn’t we like?
    Well, with a list of generalized questions there were always a few that didn’t quite fit the book that we were reading.  When this happened I just changed up the question or we discussed why this particular question didn’t apply to this book.

    Since I wasn’t reading the book alongside Curly, I would have to take her word for it on her answers.  I didn’t have a “cheat sheet” in front of me with plot outlines or possible answers.

    The “magic finger” didn’t work at our house because the kids were just too distracted by it.  They would play with it and concoct stories about who the finger came from or why the person was missing a finger.  Their imaginations are just wild sometimes.  So, we stuck to the reading strip instead of the finger.  That worked out so much better for my easily distracted crew!

    What did we like?
    I loved having literature discussions with Curly and she enjoyed sharing the book plots and characters with me.  The questions were really helpful in guiding our discussion time.  No longer do I just ask, “How was your book?  What did you like?”  Now, I have a list of creative questions that I can pull out so we can go deeper.

    Having our book discussions helped to hold Curly accountable for reading carefully.  She is a speed demon with her books and I had a feeling that she was skipping some important plot points or details with her fast pace.  Now, she’s slowing down to prepare herself for our discussions.

    The Speedy Speller was a favorite with Curly.  She loved having a simple and easy to use spelling reference that was much less intimidating than our large children’s dictionary.

    What did we think overall?
    I found this to be a great tool for having short literature discussions with Curly.  Some of the questions were very creative and sparked great conversations.  I was really able to get a feel for how much Curly is understanding during her reading time.  I also think that the thought of our literature discussions encouraged her to slow down and pay more attention to her stories.

    Curly also really enjoyed her Speedy Speller.  She loves to write stories and write letters but is always coming to find me for spelling help.  This tool enabled her to be more independent in her writing and she was so proud of her work.

    We really enjoyed using this product as a jumping-off point for literature discussions.  We plan to continue using the cards until Curly is ready for more indepth studies.
    I think this product is great for early elementary kids who are just starting to read independently.  The sticker reward chart is a fun tool to add in as well and is great for motivating kids in this age group.

    See what the rest of the Crew had to say about EGM Reads here on the blog!


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