Essential Skills Advantage

Essential Skills Advantage Review
What I reviewed: Essential Skills Advantage – Premium Plan
What is it? Complete online reading skills program
Who is it for? K-6+
How much is it? $9.99/month
Where can I find it?

Tell me more: This Canadian company is focused on developing language skills in kids from Kindergarten to Grade 6 through a series of online activities and challenges. It’s not presented as a game, but simply activities.

For each grade, a variety of skills are worked on (depending on the level), such as:

  • esagrade2activitiesreading readiness
  • phonics
  • sight words
  • spelling
  • reading
  • grammar
  • comprehension
  • vocabulary building

Each section is then broken down into more detailed units and topics, as you can see here under the Grade 2 list.

As students work through their activities, they receive stars to show that they have completed that task and to know what to move onto next. The star chart shows them the marks of how they did, giving them a goal to get 80% or higher on each task. This motivation seems to work, as each kid was eager to get their star as high as they could.

The work for each grade is very thorough, allowing for a lot of options to include this into your school year. For example, the “Complete Reading for Kindergarten” is very detailed.


At this level, many of the early activities include a lot of audio instructions and pictures, which I think is great. It makes the child able to participate in the program independently – a very handy feature especially if you work with multiple children.

For parents/teachers, you can access several features which are helpful. The complete reading programs include activity guides. These guides explain the unit, the activity, the instructions for each, and what skills are being learned.


In addition to that, the parent portal offers you a place to change your student’s information and passwords, but more importantly, where you can get a report on their “marks” – how well they did as they completed each activity. Here you can see how many times they attempted each and how well they succeeded in that task. When they complete a unit, you can download a personalized, full-colour printable certificate.

How We Used It: 

esaprogramsI signed up each of my children for this program and was excited to get started. They each picked a level that was quite a bit below their level in order to review and affirm their skills. That was fine with me. Watching them successfully complete the tasks with ease helped build their confidence and encouraged them to keep moving forward. Since it was summer during our review, we used this as our primary language learning tool in the midst of our daily activities.

Now that we are heading back into our regular school routine, I have planned to highly feature this program for our language arts study. As language is one of the areas that my younger two school aged kids are behind on, I anticipate this program will seriously help them catch up and get ahead.

What We Liked/What We Didn’t

There were a few things that we found frustrating – the main is navigation for the kids on the site. Far too often, the X button would be clicked in an effort to return back to the main navigation areas and the kids would find themselves losing their screen and having to relog in again. We did eventually find the back button (at the very bottom left side of the screen), but it wasn’t easily noticeable. I’m not sure if our screen settings were too big or something, but that arrow was actually only accessible by scrolling down the screen, whereas the X is right on the top in plain sight. I think it would be beneficial to put the back arrow maybe on the left hand top of the screen to make it easier to navigate.

I was also annoyed that I had to log into my parent account, then pick what program the child was going to use and then log in my child. It wasn’t until later, I discovered that there was actually a child direct log in page. (I probably should have read to the bottom of my registration email….) I thought I would mention this in case anyone else has a similar frustration.

Other than that, we were pleasantly satisfied. In fact, one of the really terrific things I can comment on was that my son found a glitch in one of the activities and we hit the little “report a bug” button on the screen, sent in the information of what we’d found, and right away we got a personalized email letting us know that they appreciated our find and had gotten it fixed right away!

I know this program is going to seriously impact our school year this year, and I’m eager to get started!

Membership Registration Information

If you are interested in the Essential Skills program there are two options for you.

1. Sign up for the NEW free edition of the site. You can find it on 

2. If you already know that this is the program for you, and sign up today.

This program was also reviewed by several of my TOS Review Crew crewmates. Check out what they thought.

Click to read Crew Reviews
Crew Disclaimer

3 Comment(s)

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  • by helen Posted October 12, 2014 5:33 pm

    Hi, There:
    Do you have another discount code for essential skills advantage membership? My son and his classmates have tried it, we all want to be the member now. Thanks,

    • by LisaMarie Posted October 14, 2014 6:39 pm

      Hi Helen,

      I don’t have another discount code, but you can actually access the website now for free: 😀

      I hope that helps! 🙂

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