May 20, 2011

TOS Review: Wordy Qwerty

Last fall, we reviewed a fun computer game called Talking Fingers, which we greatly enjoyed. So we were happy to hear that we would also be reviewing the "next step" program called Wordy Qwerty, a reading and spelling software program for 2nd and 3rd grade.

Kaytie and Nate both LOVED Wordy Qwerty. They begged daily to play it and I would have to literally order them away from the computer when it was time for them to stop. I liked this program because it teaches spelling/phonics rules. I love spelling rules. I am a visual speller. I can look at a word and tell if it is spelled correctly or not. But I don't know how to teach that to my kids. I like that rules give them tools and they don't have to memorize lists of words.
Wordy Qwerty has 20 levels, with five different games and a song about the rule for each level. (The games are the same, but each level teaches a different rule.)  Completing a level gives them a piece of a music machine, every four levels gives them a complete machine, which they can then listen to. The goal is to build the music machine completely. There are two "helpers" who explain the games to the kids. One is a computer, the other is a keyboard. The games in each level have to be played in order, but once a game or level has been played, it can be replayed whenever the student (or teacher) chooses.


As a teacher, I can check on their progress at any time, seeing what levels they have completed, what date they completed it, and what their score on each level was. And this report can be printed off. Also, I have the option to set the "pass level" from 0% to 100% and can change it at any time. I set their username and password, and can pick which days and what times they are allowed to login, if I want/need to limit them.

As I said, the kids absolutely adored playing Wordy Qwerty. They were able to manage it on their own, and while I was in the same room, I mostly just left them to enjoying and learning. Nate finished the entire program a few days ago, and I went to look over his progress report. I was shocked to see that even though his pass level was set at the default of 70% his scores were one 30%, one 50% and eighteen 0%!!! I then looked at Kaytie's, and she also was allowed to move on in the game even though many times she failed to achieve the 70%.
Another crew member, also noticed this problem with her son, and she contacted Wordy Qwerty, who replied that to keep kids from being discouraged a failing grade only actually fails them once. Then they are allowed to move forward. So, basically, the teacher needs to pay more attention than I did, and have the kids replay the levels they don't pass. My kids will definitely be going back through a lot of levels!
This issue was the only con I have for Wordy Qwerty. We loved it and I wholeheartedly recommend it! But don't just take my word for it, you can try an online demo for free (that page also tells you a little bit about each game). Click here to see the 20 spelling rules taught, as well as a video clip of the program. Also, you can read other Crew Member's reviews here.

Kaytie's opinion was: I liked it, it was really fun, and I liked the song part best. One thing I didn't like was when Nate was mostly all zero's. They should have the guys there say, "No, that is not right. Please try again until you get a better score!" I liked that we build the music machine with the spheres that we earned and once you get enough then it puts all that you worked on together and it makes the whole song! One thing is that I think that you shouldn't be allowed to go through the last game without typing anything, you just have to keep hitting "enter" and it lets you through.  (another thing I was unaware of until she said it, I will be paying a little more attention as they work their way through this game again!)

Nate's opinion was: I LOVED IT! My favorite part about it was the music machines, especially the last part because of all the music machines playing together. There was nothing I didn't like except for the writing game.

You can buy Wordy Qwerty online or on CD. We used the online version.

We were given a free temporary subscription to this program in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are our own.

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