Oct 11, 2010

TOS Review: Talking Fingers

2207-read-write-type-learning-system1.jpg picture by 4littlepenguins

Out of all of our TOS Review items, this one has been the universal favorite. My kids enjoy playing on the computer. I limit them to educational games only and they don't even mind that they have to learn something in order to play. (Now if I could just figure out how to mix green beans and chocolate cake...)
Anyway, we were given a chance to try out Talking Fingers' Read, Write, and Type program and have spent the past few weeks learning to, well... read and type. This is a phonics program that includes spelling, keyboarding, and word processing. It incorporates seeing, hearing and, in a way, touching, so that the children learn through more than one sense. This method always works best for my kids.
The program follows the storyline of a virus that has stolen all the letters and the kids must help get them back so they (the letters) can tell their stories. It's a little bit cheesy, but even my practical, eye-rolling kid has not been bothered by this and the two younger ones love it. The kids are introduced to the letters one by one and have a phonics exercise and a typing exercise for each letter. Once they rescue it, the letter goes to the story tree and  the kids help them type their "story".
Talking Fingers was incredibly generous and allowed us four online user accounts so each of the kids got to use this program. Here is how it worked for us:
Daniel and Abbie both know most of their letters and sounds already, so this was a great way to reinforce their knowledge and move them on to the next level. I think, however, if they were just beginning to learn their sounds, this program would have moved too fast for them. The second letter introduced "middle sounds" (finding the "a" sound in words like "cat" and "bag"). And learning finger position, letters, and letter sounds all at the same time could be a little daunting for the beginner.
They are both small for their age and keeping their hands in the correct typing position was difficult for them. Daniel was very good about trying to use the correct finger for each key, even though he couldn't keep his hand positioned on the keyboard. Abbie was a little more sloppy. They were both able to follow the instructions on their own and I never had to explain what they were supposed to do. They both loved the premise of the story and talked back to the hands. It was very cute. :)
Kaytie and Nate both know how to read, but I was excited about using this for them as a typing program. Teaching one letter at a time, and giving them plenty of practice all the while gently reminding them of correct hand placement on the keyboard, Read, Write & Type is a great way to teach typing at this age. One of the things I really liked was that the action on the screen drew their attention so that the temptation of looking at their fingers was almost non-existent.
I asked the kids to share their opinions with you, and this is what they said...
Kaytie: I like it, it's really good. Especially when the Toucan turns into an eagle, that's my favorite. I would recommend it to moms for a typing program, it's really good. I learned that to type "t" you just need to put your pointer finger just a little slant and then back. I like it because it is teaching me to spell more words and helping me to review words that I already know.
Nate: It's cool and I really like it because it is educational. I learned how to type. I love when the boy turns into a strong man. I would recommend it.
Daniel: It's good, it teaches about reading and I love it because it helped me read about things. It's fun. Yeah, I would recommend it.
Abbie: I liked it. I like the talking hands. I learned how to read!
So, to sum up, we all thoroughly loved this program and after using it, I would gladly invest the money to buy it if I needed to do so. Although, since I have four kids, I would get the CD instead of the online program.

For the opinions and experiences of others on the Crew, click here.

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This product was given to me free for the purpose of this review. All opinions are honest and are mine and my children's.

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