Monday, October 11, 2010

How Can Phonics be Tied to Typing? - TOS Review

I was selected a while ago to review a program called Read, Write, and Type.  They have an online typing program that helps with typing, as well as phonics and reading.  That is one of the unique features of this product.

The Product:
The product is set up more like a video game then your every day typing program.  The storyline, games and activities are able to draw children in quickly and keep them from getting bored.

You are first greeted by the two helpers: Lefty and Rightway.  You are also introduced to Vexor the Virus (the green blob) who has stolen all the keys on the keyboard.  Your child's "job" will be to capture all the letters back from Vexor and return them to their homes.

In order to rescue the keys your child will have to type the letter based on the sound that letter makes.  For example, the letter 'f' makes /f/. (For those of you who may not know the slashes = 'the sound of'.) So every time they tell your child to type 'f' they say /f/.  This is helping your child recognize the phonetic sound each letter makes.

There are many different 'scenes' your child will be engaged in each one emphasizing the sound of the letter and connecting it with the letter (or letters) they are typing.

They also have an online demo version that allows you to try before you buy. (My eldest daughter used this for a while before I chose who was going to be the 'main' user of this review product.) At the bottom of the demo page you can learn how to get a 20% off discount too!  You can also try out their other programs Word Qwerty and Jingle Spells too.

The pricing for Read, Write, and Type begins at $35 for one user for five years! (That is Stupendous!!!)  If you need more licenses the price goes up, but has a bigger discount (like 2 users for $55).  You can go here to see their pricing chart. You can also purchase Read, Write, and Type Learning System as a boxed set which might be more economical for larger families.

Downloads and loads of other resources and information are also available, including an activity book, a scope and sequence, as well as a paper keyboard for student practice away from the computer.

This program is designed for K-3, yet I think you might be able to use it for an older child some too.  They would just move through the program a little quicker.  And if at any time you child needs more help or practice they can always go back and redo a lesson.

Our Experience:
At first, I thought that because Audrie is still learning how to read and her sounds, that this game program would be too difficult for her.  But I was wrong.  She asks to go type almost every day.  I make her go slowly and only one letter at a time and then I help reinforce the lesson throughout the day when I can.

Arianna has already learned about 12 letters and when I peek in on her (she likes to do this "on her own" she is using her fingers correctly.  Audrie has a bit more trouble with remembering to use the correct finger with the corresponding letter, but she tries. 

Our Thoughts:
This I think has been one of the girls favorite reviews so far.  I think almost every day I hear one, if not both, ask "Can I go type?"  That is a wonderful thing to hear ... your child requesting to do school work.  That is a parent's dream.

I plan on continuing with this program and I might be updating you in my weekly reviews (if I ever get to doing them on a regular basis) on our progress.

One thing I have noticed while sitting with Audrie as she works on this is that sometimes the computer confuses her a little.  When they go to the park they have to type the letter and then space to get across the monkey bars. Well say the letter is 'f'.  She types 'f' and then the computer says  /f/.  She is supposed to type a space after each letter like so:
f f f f f f f f f
However, when Audrie hears the computer say /f/ after she's already typed 'f', sometimes she types it a second time and forgets to type the space. 
f f f ff 
 The program then makes a sound and then tells them "type space" so they know they have made a mistake.

I don't think Arianna has as much trouble with this, and it could just be Audrie's age (only 5), but I figure it is worth mentioning.

I love this program and really have enjoyed using it.  I know my girls have enjoyed it too.  I hope that you also will go and try out the demo (even for yourself - I did).  Then go checkout what other moms and dads have said about the product too.

*** I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of money for any of  my reviews.  My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences with the products and services that I receive.***


jugglingpaynes said...

It's always nice when you find a program your kids enjoy that teaches them!

So happy you enjoyed the Fibonacci homeschooling! I was a little worried no one would understand it when I posted it!

Peace and Laughter,

Heather said...

I enjoyed reading all of the reviews on this product. Overall, it sounds like folks really liked it. I am considering using it with my Ladybug, who is almost 7, but that would leave out Cowboy, who is 5. I am sure he is ready for the reading part (he reads as well as his sister; they both have different strengths), but $80 for the cd rom seems like a lot. What was your perspective on that? How long do you think this program remains useful? I do have Firefly age 3 and Boo age 1 coming later, so I guess over time it would work best to go for the cd...I just wish it was cheaper. We used to buy the entire Reader Rabbit Reading series including twenty readers for fifteen dollars at K-Bee toys. It's hard to get over that!!

By the way, I like the suggestion for the name Tips. I thought he was going to go with Hardy, but I think he is choosing to call him Copper. He uses copper in his metalwork sometimes and thinks that will be neat.



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