Read, Write, & Type {a TOS review}


I remember back to when I was learning how to type and how good it felt to do so with speed and accuracy.  It made life so much easier to be able to efficiently type.  As my kids learn to navigate the computer it pains me to see them struggle to articulate their thoughts with a keyboard using the "chicken peck" method.  So then, you can imagine my excitement when my daughter (5) was given an opportunity to learn to type properly with Read, Write & Type by Talking Fingers Inc., before she's trained herself to "hunt and peck"
 
Who is Talking Fingers Inc.?
 
Talking Fingers Inc. Review
 
Talking Fingers Inc. is a company that creates original online software for a hands-on approach to learning phonics, spelling, and reading.  They have 3 programs for elementary students, ranging in grade from Pre-K to grade 4.
  1. Talking Shapes
  2. Read, Write & Type
  3. Word Qwerty
The software we have been using is Read, Write & Type.

What is Read, Write & Type?


 
Read, Write & Type is more than just typing instruction.  This online reading software teaches phonics, vocabulary, capitalization, punctuation, typing, and more!

This program is especially good with helping ESL students and those with difficulty in reading.  My daughter speaks English as a first language so we used the program with no additional assistance, but there would be a spoken assistance in a native language should it be needed.  Voice- over assistance is offered in nine languages:  Spanish, Arabic, Malay, Japanese, Mandarin, Farsi, Portuguese, Tagalog, and Korean.

Children learn to type by hearing the sounds of letters, such as the short a sound, versus the letter name.  The keyboard is shown on screen in a fun apartment, or home, type setting with characters in each window.  "Leftie" and "Rightway" help the child know which hand and which finger to use on the keyboard by Leftie or Right Way modeling a few times.  Another quirky character is "Vexor", a virus who steals the letter being learned.  The student then has to save the letter by completing several exercises of reading, writing, & typing. 

Phonics practice is given right away as the letters are never called by name, but by sound.  For example the first letter taught is "f", called by it's sound not letter name. 

In the first lesson "Leftie" model's to the student how to type "ff" and introduces who lives there, Fedasa.  Once the letter is introduced Vexor steals it and a new scene is loaded.    In the new scene the child is shown a picture and is asked to press the corresponding key if the picture begins with the letter currently being practiced.  If it doesn't the space bar is to be pressed.

In another scene the child is asked to press the key if the picture shown contains the letter sound in the middle.

Next the child practices typing the letter (or later, digraph) and uses the space bar over and over (f f f f f f ) to win the letter back.  If a mistake is made, Vexor blows the character back and the child tries again.

Finally the "sound tree" is loaded and a short and silly story is told and shown line by line, as the student types it out.  It is very gentle and encouraging, even in later lessons, as any word can be said again by pressing a help icon with the mouse.  (In this scene the help icon is a pair of lips).  As the child learns to type more letters this story scene gets harder as they sound out and type whole sentences, even using capitalization and punctuation!


As the child progresses more and more of the town is unlocked for extra practice and fun.  For example, there's an email tower where your child writes pretended emails that are "sent" all over the world and then they receive an email back.  Other places are opened to play again, for practice of letters learned.

Once two letters are learned individually, such as "c" and "h", digraphs are introduced with Vexor stealing two letters instead of one.   My daughter has completed 5 levels so far and has been introduced to several digraphs already, such as "sh", "ch" and "ck".

There are 10 levels to complete, and after each one a certificate is awarded which you are able to print off.



Once you exit this screen, by clicking the computer in the upper right, a review is loaded.  Here the student plays a game of typing beginning, middle, or ending sounds in a picture shown.  So for example, he/she would type "sh" for the example below.



Comprehension is then tested as a picture is shown and the student is asked to match the picture to a word or sentence. 

Last a word is spoken by a handy helper and the student types what s/he hears.  If the student passes this review with the accuracy you decide in the teacher log-in, a storybook is unlocked and then the child moves forward to the next level!

How we used this and what we thought



Read, Write & Type was used in our home by our 5 year old.  The program is designed for ages 6-9, but Emma can already read fluently so I felt she'd be a good candidate for this as she struggles to confidently spell on her own and didn't know how to type at all.

Being this program is multi-sensory, asking the child to type a sound heard and seen, Emma was soon able to sound out words all on her own to complete an entire typed sentence!


She has learned to properly capitalize a typed word at the beginning of a sentence, and to end her sentence with a period.

Currently Emma has completed 5 levels and has enjoyed learning to type and write.  All lessons were gentle and offered assistance if she needed, whether help was offered from Leftie or Righway if she typed an incorrect letter, or if she needed help by clicking a picture she didn't understand.

She absolutely loved the emails and the silly stories from the sound tree.


Our conversation about Read, Write & Type:

Emma, what did you think?  "very good"  What did you like?  "The part where they get across from Vexor." (usually at this scene she'd squeal with delight, "I'm winning!") Anything else? "I also like the stories."  (she means the typing stories as opposed to the story books at the end of the review, although she liked those too, she adored the stories typed for each letter or digraph.)

I appreciated that with my own teacher log-in I could choose a time frame/limit if I wanted and that I could adjust the percentage I wanted her to pass with, and the level of ease I wished for her speed and accuracy tests.  I didn't set a time limit for Emma, as I was usually nearby to hear how long she was on or if she sounded like she needed a break.


To read other reviews of Read, Write & Type, click the banner below: 
 
Talking Fingers Inc. Review
 

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