Most of my children use the hunt-and-peck method of typing. Only my 15 year old daughter has taken the time to learn to type properly. My 12 and 14 year old daughters are rather set in their hunt-and-peck ways, and are pretty fast at it. I wish I'd taken the time to teach them how to type properly when they first started spending time on the computer.
Talking Fingers wants to prevent children from developing the habit of using the hunt-and-peck method while doing their computer-based lessons. It teaches typing skills (more properly known as keyboarding skills today) to elementary-age children AS they learn other language skills. We were able to review their Wordy Qwerty online program, which includes spelling lessons with keyboarding skills. Wordy Qwerty is designed for grades 2-4, and it follows after their Read, Write, and Type program. However, students do NOT have to use Read, Write and Type first -- my son did not.
There are 20 lessons in Wordy Qwerty, and each lesson has six activities. We did NOT get through all 20 lessons yet, but my 4th grade son is enjoying Wordy Qwerty and my 1st grade son is looking forward to using it.
The Wordy Qwerty program is interactive and fun. It teaches children not where to put their index finger (as I was taught) but where to place their middle fingers ... on D and K. As children progress through the program, they learn proper typing techniques as they review these 20 spelling lessons:
- 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
- Double Consonants
- Doubling rule
- ER, IR, OR, UR, EAR
- I Before E
- Plurals: Add ES
- Plurals: Y to IES
- Plurals: F to VES
I have to admit that I haven't learned these spelling rules as they are taught in Wordy Qwerty. I learned how to spell, but not the rules behind the correct spelling. I like that Wordy Qwerty teaches rules for the more difficult spelling issues in the English language.
Wordy Qwerty's activities are fun and challenging. Midi the musician and Qwerty the word coach use musical ditties to teach spelling rules to the children. You can even buy a Jingle Spells CD of the songs to review the spelling rules when you're away from the computer.
The parent account allows you to reassign the online licenses to younger children as an older child outgrows the program. It also allows you to see which lessons your child has passed and what their score is on the lesson they're currently covering. They must achieve 80% to pass to a new lesson, and you can see if they're only at 70%.
Pros and Cons
- interactive lessons
- engages multiple learning paths (auditory, visual, kinesthetic)
- affordable for families
- long membership of 5 years as opposed to annual memberships
- memorable ditties help children remember the spelling rules
- ability to track student's progress
- student can not pass on to a new level without learning their current lesson
- variety of colorful and fun activities within each lesson, rather than only one way to learn
- teaches proper keyboarding hand placement
- allows you to archive students and reassign their license to a younger sibling
- reinforces spelling rules being covered in other curriculum
- offers both an online version and a CD-rom home version for those with slow internet or download limits
- some parents prefer to limit computer-based learning
- requires regular practice to really benefit the student
The Nitty Gritties -- System Requirements and Prices
You can view a product tour of Wordy Qwerty at the Talking Fingers website, as well as a video clip. There is even a free demo sample that you can download to try out the program before buying it. Wordy Qwerty works with both Mac and PC computers, but there are a few system requirements:
Macintosh Hardware Requirements:
- Mac: OS9 with CarbonLib or OSX
Windows Hardware Requirements:
- Windows: 98, SE, 2000, XP
Also requires QuickTime 6 (included) or greater
Wordy Qwerty Home Edition is available on a CD-rom for $35, or online with a 5 year membership. The online memberships range in price from $25 for one user, to $71.25 for 5 users.
I initially had my 6th grade daughter log into this because she does need to learn proper typing techniques. However, this was definitely beneath her spelling abilities. We'll have to find another method to teach keyboarding to her. I then had my 4th grade son use the system. We didn't get as far with him as I'd have liked in this review period. There were several factors in this: our perpetual need to limit our internet use (download limits), the fact that all our children have to share one laptop, this is a more difficult subject for him and he NEEDS these spelling lessons. We WILL continue to use Wordy Qwerty.
My son likes the games, and he asks me if he can do Wordy Qwerty. He doesn't ask because he's trying to substitute a workbook lesson for game time, either. He asks to do it in ADDITION to his other schoolwork. Now his younger brother is eager to get started with it, too.
I really like the Wordy Qwerty program. I wouldn't use it in place of a regular spelling curriculum, but it is a fun supplement to other spelling curricula. The online version may not work well for those on dial-up internet, or those who have download limits on their internet use, but there is also a CD-rom version available. I really can't think of many cons for this program, as my list showed.
My readers know I am not usually a fan of online memberships, because they usually have high annual fees and can not be reused with future children. However, Wordy Qwerty online prices are for a 5 year membership (longer than most) and you can archive older students, add students, and then move your licenses to a younger student as needed. The prices are very affordable, especially for larger families that will use the program with multiple children.
Wordy Qwerty gets the ElCloud Homeschool thumbs-up!
We were provided two free 1-year licenses in exchange for our review as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. We received no other compensation, and this review is our honest opinion. Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew blog to read more reviews on this product by other Homeschool Crew members.
Trusting In Him,