Wednesday, April 13, 2016

REVIEW: Read, Write & Type by Talking Fingers Inc.

After first trying out the demo, Holden was really excited to get to review Read, Write & Type by Talking Fingers Inc.!

WHAT IS IT?:

Read, Write & Type offers a unique online game format that teaches kids phonics, spelling, keyboarding, and word processing.  It’s also great for children with learning disabilities and ESL learners.  It’s designed especially for kids ages 6-9.

Teachers can try out a sample lesson, or students can try out the first 8 lessons for FREE!

This program is designed to boost reading levels in just 15 minutes a day by combining all the senses together to solidify the learning.  It was designed by the developer of the popular Reader Rabbit adventures!

A 5-year online subscription for a single user to Read, Write & Type is available for just $35Additional pricing options are available for multiple user subscriptions.

 

OUR EXPERIENCE:

The basic premise of Read, Write & Type is that a group of storyteller characters are attempting to write down their stories, but a computer virus named Vexor keeps trying to stop them by stealing the letters.  The student’s job is to rescue the letters one at a time.  Each time a student has rescued a group of 4 letters, they earn a merit certificate!  This little printable reward turned out to be very motivating for Holden.  He often liked to play until he had earned a new certificate in one sitting!  There are 40 levels in all.

In the process, the student is learning about letter sounds and sounding out words.  There are two “Helping Hands” named Lefty and Rightway pictured on the screen who show the student how to position their hands on the keyboard and how to type out the letters and words on the screen.  Holden has had 4 years of formal phonics instruction previously, and he already reads well.  But he really enjoyed this game and loved learning how to type with the help of Lefty and Rightway!  The way the little characters speak to you from the windows in their little “keyboard” houses is really cute, too.  It’s such a colorful, engaging game that it really keeps Holden’s attention!  I really liked how it gave him just enough practice at a slow enough pace so he could keep up with it but not too much repetition so that it became boring or monotonous to him.  The clever little characters keep it fun, especially the villainous virus, Vexor!

Holden still struggles with writing by hand, and he often becomes frustrated in the process.  This program has allowed him to practice reading and spelling words without having to write them, but helps solidify them in his brain through typing, and that’s been a big plus for him.  Being able to type instead of write makes him more motivated to play the game and view it as fun instead of learning in a way he finds cumbersome.  And once he’s learned keyboarding skills effectively, his creative writing skills can continue to develop because he will no longer be held back by his frustrations in the physical act of writing, and that’s very important to me.

I also love that I can set Holden loose with this program, and he can work on it without my assistance.  He usually sits down to play it after our school time is over.  He gets immediate feedback throughout the program, so he doesn’t need me to sit with him and provide instruction or help.  And at any time, I can check on his progress.  The Bonus Blimp keeps track of his performance and will redirect him to any activities where he needs more help until he has learned them sufficiently before moving on.  I can see his Hall of Fame Certificates so I know what levels he’s completed (plus he loves printing them out for me!), and the Power Fountain shows me his keyboarding speed and accuracy.

Overall, this is a fun learning program that really covers a lot of skills.  And although Holden actually just needed to learn the keyboarding aspect of it, I think he benefited from the extra reading and spelling practice, and I can really see how the all-encompassing approach to teaching phonics and reading skills could help kids who are struggling to learn to read to finally get it to click and make sense in their minds.  If I had a younger student who was just learning to read, I think this program would be a great investment for practice and building proficiency.  Holden liked it so much that he asked several times if I could incorporate it into our school day!  So have your student give the demo a try and see what your students think of it!

Check out what other Crew members have to say about Read, Write & Type by clicking the banner below.