I was lucky enough recently to sit down at a small brunch with Natalie Bassingthwaighte and discuss all things from ABC Reading Eggs, to motherhood and some of her other business ventures. Natalie was very sweet, down to earth and an all round lovely woman who inspired me in many ways.
As a mum of 2 young kids, what tips could you offer our readers to successfully balance work and motherhood?
I don’t always get it right, but make a conscious effort to have really considered quality time with the kids and considered quality working time so I’m not trying to do everything at once.
I also always prepare for the week ahead. I’m a list writer! Making a list and crossing thing off as you are getting them done. Getting organised the night before the next
day also helps a lot.
Mums often put themselves last, with so much on your plate what do you to keep yourself healthy?
I like to exercise and also ensure I eat well.
What is it about the ABC Reading Eggs that grabbed your attention and motivated you to be their ambassador?
I really love that it is a fun and interactive way to learn to read. I’m always looking for ways to engage my kids in books and Reading Eggs is a winner. It helps that my kids genuinely love the program! We love the rewards element which also keeps them motivated.
Can you talk a little about some of the benefits that you have noticed with your kids and that other kids could expect from using these Reading Eggs?
Hendrix (3.5) is really starting to recognise letters and the sounds they make and is much more interested in books, while Harper’s reading has really improved during the course of using the program. Her reading is more fluent and I have noticed a huge improvement with her sight words.
Apart from being the Ambassador for ABC Reading eggs, what are some of the other projects/ventures you are currently involved in that you could tell us about?
I have online fashion clothing label called Chi Khi. We sell cool urban monochromatic clothes, made primarily from Bamboo. Just started wholesaling which has definitely taken it to another level. It’s been amazing seeing celebrity fashionistas around the world wearing Chi Khi including the children of Fergie, Jessica Alba, The Kardashians amongst others. I am also still doing lots of performing with the Rogue Traders again and acting in the new telemovie Brock that airs on soon on Ten.
Sara Leman is a childrens Literacy expert, and she answered our questions on the educational side of the ABC Reading Eggs product.
What are the age groups that the ABC Reading Eggs are targeted towards?
Reading Eggs targets children aged 3 – 7, after which they can “graduate” to the Reading Express program that takes them through to 13 years old. We do have children younger and older that use Reading Eggs, and get a lot of positive feedback from parents and teachers of children with learning difficulties or English as an additional language. We have found that these children gain huge benefits from using the program.
Why is it so important to introduce these literacy skills and start using the eggs at a young age?
Research into early brain development has revealed that 75% of the brain is developed by the time a child is 5 years old; most of that happening by the age of three years. The years between birth and 8 years are the optimum learning time for children when their brains are still developing and are highly receptive. This is why it is so important to harness the willingness and natural enthusiasm to learn that young children have. It is an ideal time to introduce new vocabulary and early literacy skills.
How does Reading Eggs keep the children engaged whilst they are learning to read?
Learning to read is a series of complex skills that require a lot of practice. Motivation is key, and Reading Eggs has fabulous motivational elements and a reward system in place that actively engages young learners.
Most young children are extrinsically motivated; they love verbal rewards, certificates, and things that they can see that prove they’ve done a great job. Reading Eggs rewards their hard efforts with a cute hatching critter at the end of a lesson. Children earn golden eggs that can be banked and used to buy items for their online house. They have an avatar that they can create, there are reward games to play, fun songs to sing, stories to write and certificates to earn.
How can our Family Living readers get their hands on the ABC Reading Eggs for their children?
It’s simple! Right now, Family Living readers can sign up for a special free 5 week trial at www.readingeggs.com.au/love2read. The free trial will give you full access to the program and is completely obligation free so no credit card is required! During your child’s free trial you will also have access to our award-winning maths program, Mathseeds which will help make Maths fun for your child. If you and your child love the program, you can then purchase a 12 month or 6 month subscription directly from your parent dashboard. The subscription packages are great value and you will receive regular progress emails to see how your child is tracking.