Friday, May 20, 2011

Wordy QWERTY by Talking Fingers

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Wordy QWERTY-Foundations for Reading and Writing Fluency is a program designed for children ages 7-9 (2nd-4th grade) but could be used and enjoyed by older children needing some extra practice with reading and writing.

There are a total of 20 lessons covering the following topics:
  • Silent E
  • Sounds of C
  • Sounds of G
  • J or DGE
  • W or WH
  • C or K
  • CK or K
  • CKS or X
  • CH or TCH
  • LL, SS, FF, ZZ
  • OI or OY
  • VE words
  • Open Syllables
  • 2 Consonants
  • Doubling Rule
  • ER, IR, OR, UR, EAR
  • I Before E
  • Plurals: Add ES
  • Plurals: Y to IES
  • Plurals: F to VES
For each lesson, the spelling rule or pattern is reinforced through various activities. Dr. Jeannine Herron explains more about the program in this video:



Patterns/Spelling Rule
The first activity of the lesson is a word spelling activity. The word is given orally and the student spells it using their keyboard. Once it is spelled, the student decides where to place the word. For example, place all short vowel sounds in one box and then place all the long vowel sounds in the other box. Below is an example of words that start with C or K:

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Spelling Song
The next activity involves a song that explains the spelling rule. Students can follow along with the words written on the screen. Users can replay the song if they'd like to hear it again. Here's part of the song about when to use the letter "k":

Recycler (Rhyming words)
The user starts with an activity called "Recycler" in which he is shown two words and he must select the one that is spelled correctly (or as my son explained it, find the "real words"). In some cases both words are correct (in which case student selects the "both" button). As he works, he's earning points that are displayed at the top of the page. When he has completed the list of words, he is shown which words he correctly identified (marked by a yellow star):

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Pop-a-Word
The next activity is an activity involving balloon popping. The student is given a sentence orally and the student selects the correct word in order. Other similar words, however, are shown as well so the user has to use visual discrimination to select the correct word among several choices. And the words come and go so if a student takes too long, he'll have to wait for the word to reappear. Here's what that activity looks like:

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Write Stories
For the next activity, two lines are spoken for the student. The first line remains on the screen and the student must remember and type the second line. There is a "lips" icon that a student can click to hear the sentence again. Once they correctly type the second half of the sentence, a picture is shown (like the one below):

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Notice in the above screen shot, that "D" and "K" are colored. Students receive reminders to place their "tall fingers" on those letters as they type.

Read Stories
Another activity involves reading a story. Certain words are left out. When the student arrives at a blank, he can click on the green circle and is provided three choices of words to put in the blank. If correct, the next blank space will have a green circle by it and the student continues on through the story filling in the blanks. Here is one example:

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Scope and Sequence
The complete Scope and Sequence for Wordy QWERTY is available here. The following is a glimpse at the Scope and Sequence for Lessons 1-5:

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Our Experience
When we were first given the opportunity to sample Word QWERTY, I had my 8 year old give it a test drive. Although he was close to tears after the first attempt, he soon became accustomed to the activities and thoroughly loved doing the lessons. The songs were especially popular in our household. My son would holler to his sisters (6 and 4) that the songs were coming and they'd high-tail it to the computer to listen and dance. I have to admit that the songs are pretty fun and catchy. I found myself singing them throughout the day.

My son had the most difficulty with the typing portion. There were reminders given for where to place his fingers but having had no keyboard training, the finger positions felt awkward to him. I just kept encouraging him to do what he could. This got easier for him as he progressed through the program.

After every four lessons, students can watch an Animusic segment (the "music machine") complete with balls that go cascading and making music on the machine. A very fun concept that our whole family enjoyed. This was one of my son's favorite parts of the program.
Teachers can set up the allowable times for a student to use the program, specifying days of the week as well as specific hours. Passing levels can also be adjusted. The default passing level is 70% but it can be set anywhere from 0% (always pass) up to 100%. Parents can also view a bar graph showing their student's percentage correct for each lesson they complete. It was helpful to see at a glance how my son was performing.

Overall, we really enjoyed this program and recommend it enthusiastically to others!

Read More Reviews
A number of other families had the opportunity to use Wordy QWERTY; find out what they thought at the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog. For more information on Read, Write & Type (the program that precedes Wordy QWERTY), you can read reviews of that program as well.

Purchase Information
Wordy QWERTY offers an online edition that is valid for 5 years and the price is based on the number of users:
  • Online Edition--1 user $25
  • Online Edition--2 users $40
  • Online Edition--3 users $52.50
  • Online Edition--4 users $60
  • Online Edition--5 users $71.25
You can also purchase the program on CD for $35 (not compatible with Windows 7 or Mac 10.6). View complete pricing information here.

Take advantage of this demonstration of the program and receive 20% off your order!

Contact Information
Website: www.talkingfingers.com
E-mail: contact@talkingfingers.com
Phone: 800-674-9126
Address: Talking Fingers, Inc., 830 Rincon Way, San Rafael, CA 94903

Disclaimer: We received a trial subscription to Word QWERTY for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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