Monday, October 11, 2010

Read Write Type New TOS review

Read Write Type

The Home Edition $79
Includes 2 Cd ROM's: Read Write Type and Spaceship challenge

Online Edition Begins at $35 for one user. Various costs for additional users

Story books and a paper practice keyboard can be downloaded from the site.

Read Write Type is for grades K-3. Also for ESL students. Could be used by older children, but they might find the cartoon like characters too juvenile.

Also available from Talking Fingers: WORDY QWERTY

Also a computer product that continues where RWT leaves off. It helps students to improve their spelling skills, especially with confusing or "don't follow the rules" words. This has an age level of 7-9 years or 2 -4 grades. There are 20 lessons and songs.
CD $35 Online beginning at $25
READ WRITE TYPE and WORDY QWERTY are available in a bundle for $99

Check the Talking Fingers website to make sure the products will work with your Operating System before purchasing.

I remember the first time I ever had the opportunity to use a computer as a child . I was in 5th grade. It sat on a table height rolling cart and rotated among classrooms so each room had it for one week. What a treat to use the computer. I have memories of playing Oregon Trail in the old DOS format.

Fast forward a few years (I am not telling how many :) )

Now, who can think about life without a computer. It is the rare home that doesn't have at least one and they are all over in schools. From what I am told computer class is a weekly fixture on the schedule for children of all grades. Computers have become such a presence in our lives it is important to teach our children how to use them well and appropriately. The educational uses of computers and the internet are virtually (no pun intended) unlimited. With computers being an overwhelming presence in our lives it has become important to teach our children to use them, even at an early age, and help them develop the skills they will need to use them productively. The need to know how to type fluently is certainly important. But how can we ever fit something else into our already full to over flowing schedule?

What if typing could be learned at the same time as other skills or subjects? Can typing instruction and practice be incorporated in Language Arts as it all deals with words?

Let me introduce Read Write and Type - an interactive program from Talking Fingers.

As the Talking Fingers website says the idea behind Read Write and Type is "Text is speech made Visible". We talk with our mouths, use our fingers to represent those words on paper. When children realize that they can write the sounds they are speaking they can use the alphabet to write any word they can say. Now their fingers can talk.

Thus a whole new world of communication is opened up to the student.

Read Write and Type has put phonics, spelling, reading, and typing together in a program called Talking Fingers. Children play an engaging game where they must help Lefty and Rightway, talking cartoon hands, to outwit Vexor, the villain and let the Storytellers tell their stories. Each letter has its own character, with their own special story and many words that begin with that letter. Lefty and Rightway teach the child proper finger placement on the keyboard throughout the program. Each hand is given a color and the keyboard on the screen is divided to show which hand is on each half of the keyboard. As each character, letter on the keyboard is introduced, the hands show the student which finger is supposed to stretch or reach to type that particular letter. Hopefully, this will help children learn proper typing position and save them from a life of hunt and peck. Read Write and Type smoothly blends fun and learning into one irresistible activity.

While they are saving the letters, children learn the sounds the letters make, pick out pictures that have the target sound at the beginning, middle, or end and practice typing the letter. In more advanced levels, children also type simple stories after hearing them, practice spelling words, and even write their own original emails. (Email stays with in the Read Write Type system).

The format of the lessons is very similar from level to level, but complexity of spelling and sentences increases as the student progresses. In more difficult levels the children also learn how the letters form diagraphs. The sentences and paragraphs they are asked to type increase in length.

The Talking Fingers website has a resource section with many downloadable pdfs to make the RWT experience even better. (Just click on the downloads oval). Some of the resources available are a scope and sequence so off line activities can be coordinated with Read Write Type, story books featuring the characters, as well a paper keyboard for practice off the computer. There are many more resources available.

How I Used Talking Fingers

My 6 year old First Grader has learned with Talking Fingers online over the last few weeks. He can't wait until he is allowed to play each day. He has loved every minute of the time he has spent learning with Read Write and Type. He has enjoyed it so much that he is almost finished with the program. We did not use the printable story books as he is quite a strong reader and he was not interested in them. They are very cute, however. I sat with him while he did the first 3 levels, but left him to use the remaining program more independently. I would occasionally look over his shoulder and remind him to keep his fingers in the proper position as needed.

He says "I like everything about it, it is very fun. It is very educational. I can't resist playing it every day". He also loved the certificates at the end of each level.

There is the option to change the passing level from the default of 70%, which I changed shortly after he started playing. He does very well with reading, so I wanted to make it challenging for him with spelling and phonics. However, it appears that 100% (which I had set the pass level to) only needs to be achieved in one of the 3 criteria before moving on to the next level. I am still investigating how this works. I would find this feature more productive if it could be set for each criteria or if the passing level applied to the average of all the criteria at each level.

I really like how Read Write and Type seamlessly merges phonics,spelling, reading and typing in one engaging program that keeps the users interest. After such a positive experience with Read Write and Type I am going to consider Wordy Qwerty to continue keyboarding practice for my children.

Read what other Crew Members have to say here.

Disclaimer: I was given free access to the online version of this program to use and assist me in writing this review. All opinions and thoughts expressed here are solely my own. I have not received any other compensation for this review.

1 comment:

  1. I read so many great reviews about this and bought it today! My son loves it. Thank you for a thorough review. I look forward to following your blog!