Product: Read, Write, and Type Online
Company: Talking Fingers, Inc
Price: from 35$US for a 5 year subscription for a single user
My children are very, very different from each other. Liam started to read the day he turned four years old and hasn’t looked back. Morgaine, at five, says that she never wants to learn how to read. Liam loves to make up stories but still hates to write. Morgaine doesn’t like to make up stories or read but desperately wants to learn to spell. Because of these differences it is rare that we will find a program that works for both of them equally well. Liam’s work tends to be farther advanced and bore Morgaine or require someone to sit right there to read instructions to her and what limited work I do with Morgaine is of very little interest for Liam. That has changed with Talking Fingers, an online reading, writing and typing program I received to review as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew.
In this combination phonics, writing and typing program your child helps to rescue the letters from Vexor (a slimy green blob that tries to come off as mean but is rather just lonely and wants someone to play with). One letter at a time, your child plays typing/phonics games with Vexor to free the letters and put them back in their rightful place on the computer keyboard. There is constant feedback from the program as your children are learning so they always know where they have gone wrong and what they need to do next. As the game progresses you child writes more complex computer generated stories at the Story Tree. Eventually, your child will be able to send imaginary e-mails of their own stories from the e-mail tower (part of the virtual world that Vexor and the keyboard people live in) and receive stories from other children around the world.
After every 4 letters/letter combinations learned, Vexor sucks your child into his ship to play with him. While your child is playing the next three games with Vexor they are being tested, unknowingly, on phonics, reading and spelling. You can easily view a summary of your child’s progress when you log into your master account. In total there are 10 levels that they will be tested on and you can see the results in each area and level to see how your child is progressing.
We were very happy with this program. Both my children beg for Talking Fingers time. Liam has progressed quite a bit fasted than his sister and at 7, is working mostly on learning the correct way to type. It has been great not to have to force him to write creatively as he has been eager to send out his “e-mail stories”. He has even started typing a book on our word processor because “it is so much quicker now that I know the right fingers to type with.” Morgaine, at 5, was not reading at the beginning of using this program about a month ago. She now really loves to spell 3 letter words and almost always gets them right. While she still struggles with reading (once she sees the first letter she has a tendency to guess the rest of the word), she has made a lot of progress. She has also enjoyed the typing portion of this program and I am impressed that they do indeed always try to use the right fingers with using Talking Fingers.
For 35 dollars for a 5 year subscription (for one student) I believe that this is a worthwhile program for a K-3rd grade student (with the younger child focusing on the phonics and the older on writing). There seems to be some issues with the overall grading of the program when looking at the overview of your child’s progress but when you look at the breakdown of the scoring you get accurate results. There were also some ambiguous pictures (jacket instead of coat, inchworm instead of worm, etc) that the children were asked to spell but if you click on the picture the program will tell you what it is. My children were frustrated by this a few times because they’d write what they thought the picture was and get it wrong. I was also a little but off by the tone of some of the characters that can come off as slightly rude but, all in all, I find that this program is a good value for the price so I would not really hesitate to by it for my family.
Talking Fingers Inc. also sells Read, Write, Type as a software program on CD for 79.oo$ so if you have a number of children that would use this program this may be the best deal for you. If you have older children you may want to check out Wordy Qwerty as well. This program is designed to helping you child in grades 2-4 learn the spelling rules for more complicated words. Be sure to check out their website for testimonials, videos, and free demos and see what Talking Fingers Inc. can offer your family!
**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.