Friday, May 20, 2011

Talking Fingers - A TOS Review

Talking Fingers, Inc.
Wordy Qwerty

830 Rincon Way
San Rafael, California 94903
Phone: (415) 472-3103
Toll Free: 1-800-674-9126

We've been checking out an interesting spelling program from Talking Fingers, Inc. called Wordy Qwerty.  Read on to find out more.
This program is a sequel to the Read, Write & Type Learning System from Talking Fingers.  Some of the TOS Review Crew used the first program and reviewed it earlier.  We did not use the first program, but we found that it was not necessarily needed for our child.  The spelling program can be used as a stand alone product.  This program is aimed at 7-10 year olds (2nd or 3rd grade) who know basic phonics and word identification are working on more complex reading and writing skills.

The 20 Lessons in Wordy Qwerty (Spelling Rules) include:
  1. Silent E
  2. Sounds of C
  3. Sounds of G
  4. J or DGE
  5. W or WH
  6. C or K
  7. CK or K
  8. CKS or X
  9. CH or TCH
  10. LL, SS, FF, ZZ
  11. OI or OY
  12. VE Words
  13. Open Syllables
  14. Double Consonants
  15. Doubling rule
  16. ER, IR, OR, UR, EAR
  17. I Before E
  18. Plurals: Add ES
  19. Plurals: Y to IES
  20. Plurals: F to VES
Midi the musician and Qwerty the word coach, have children help them accumulate the "spheres" needed to play Midi's music machine. Children do this by passing each of six activities in each of twenty lessons.
There 20 consecutive lessons contain a variety of fun games and songs which help your children learn spelling rules and get a good start in spelling.

As seen on the Talking Fingers website the six fluency activities/games in each lesson include:

1.    Patterns - Here children make two lists of words by typing the names of pictures and sorting them. Your child is directed to "notice the patterns," or spelling rules, by comparing the two lists.  When words  can't be sounded out or spelled correctly the Helping Hands will assist them. Qwerty and Midi talk about the differences between the two lists and weave the 20 spelling rules into the lyrics of catchy songs.

 2.     Karaoke  Catchy songs about each of the 20 spelling rules are shown to your child.  Children read the lyrics on the screen and can sing along. These lyrics have examples of words that use the spelling rule.
3.     Recycler  In this game, children learn different vowel combinations which make long vowel sounds. Children watch the RECYCLER as it changes the first letter(s) of two rhyming words. They try to quickly distinguish real words from non-words, and non-words are vacuumed away. Players scoring less than 90% on the first try are asked to study the list of real words.  They can click on the word and hear it used in a sentence then play the game again.

 4.     Pop-a-Word  This game develops quick recognition of words.  This is an arcade-type game in which your child finds words that are part of a 4 word phrase as they appears briefly, along with other words, in a cluster of colorful balloons. When children click on the right balloons, they "pop", and the faster they recognize those words, the more points they make.

  5.     Write Stories  Here your child hears and sees the first line of illustrated 8-line rhymes.  The child then has to type out the second line after it is dictated. They can see and hear it as often as they need, but more points are given if they remember the sentence and try to spell the words. The stories contain words that require using the spelling rule just presented.

  6.     Read Stories  Here your child reads some short stories that develop comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency.  Every so often, there is a word missing.  Your child has to choose among three possible words, the word that best fits the meaning of the sentence. These stories also include words that utilize the spelling rule, or the "outlaw" words (words that don't follow the rules) learned in that lesson.

Talking Fingers has also created the Wordy Qwerty Assessment module you'll see on the Wordy Qwerty CD.  With the Wordy Qwerty Assessment module you can check how well your child has learned the spelling.  You can have children take a pre-test, a post-test or a lesson test.  Student Data Reports can also be saved which include all of a child's data gathered to date.

The Home Edition of Wordy Qwerty is $35 and the Single School Edition (with two sets of CDs) is $55.
For options and further pricing visit the Talking Fingers website here

To use the Home Edition you'll need to have the following 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

What We Thought:
Although my daughter is older than the suggested age for this software she did have fun with these games.  Since spelling isn't really her strength, she got a good reminder of the spelling rules while playing around.  The suggested age range is appropriate for the skills learned, but older children could use this for review.  Being a little older, my daughter found the songs a little corny but helpful for memorizing the rules.  This would probably be fun for a child who needs reinforcement of the spelling rules.  The program is easy for children to use independently.  The price is reasonable if your child is at this stage of development. 
As her teacher I liked the way the software teaches and develops self-confidence with reading and spelling.  this one is fun.

This was an easy download, but we did find that whether on dial-up internet or high-speed internet the games load fairly slowly.  That was the only thing we weren't happy with.  I would guess that a child with a short attention span might have a hard time waiting for the games to move along.  Having tried the games from several places and computers, this can take a long time to start up.  While loading it seemed to "lock up" for a significant amount of time and then be accessible.  Not being a techie, I'm not sure why exactly this happened, and this may not be a problem for all users. 

Talking Fingers also offers other products including: Read, Write & Type Learning System, K-4 Reading Bundle and JingleSpells.  You can find Talking Fingers/Word Qwerty on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.  

Click here to view an online demo

Or you can ask for a demo CD by e-mailing .

Click here to let your child try Lesson One (Silent E) in Wordy Qwerty

Click here to order Wordy Qwerty

To see more TOS Crew reviews click here 

As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received a free trial download of Wordy Qwerty to use to provide a review and my opinions on this blog.  I received no further compensation.  Observations and comments are my own.  I am not obligated to provide a positive review. 

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