I’m going to be completely honest with you here, because I always am. I did not want to review this product. You know I’m old school. You know I’m not a fan of screens. You know I sniff books and licked paper once–maybe you didn’t know that. Pretend I didn’t say that last part.
But my kids…they’re young. They’re hip. They needed to learn how to type. So I hemmed and hawed and said okay fine we’ll review it. And my kids cheered and I was popular for, like, three minutes until I took advantage of my newfound popularity and said, “Hey, washing dishes is fun! Let’s do it!”
I went into this with a bad attitude–like stinky cheese. After several weeks of watching my seven-year-old type properly and enthusiastically, however, I am sold on the idea that perhaps this method of learning to type is ultimately better than the antique typewriter I wanted them to learn on. Click clack click clack ding…wheeee!
I keep talking about typing, and that is how we are using Read, Write & Type, but this is not merely a typing program. It is a multi-sensory approach to learning to read and write. My seven- and ten-year-olds are quite advanced in those areas, so they didn’t need the help (so far anyway), and our four-year-old isn’t quite ready for this. The idea is, however, to work on those three skills together.
Who would benefit?
This is an ideal program for ESL (English as a Second Language) students to learn English literacy (as opposed to conversational English). The available voice-over assistance includes Arabic, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish and Tagalog.
It would also be great for struggling older learners. In my opinion, if somebody is strong in one of those areas, but not the other two, or struggles in all three areas, they would receive the most bang for your buck.
I don’t like to use screens to teach phonics to little ones, but in the past I’ve had a stalled early reader who took off as soon as I switched to a screen. In that case, perhaps this would be good for a child just learning to read, although then you can’t sniff the book and lick the paper. I didn’t test it with my four-year-old, because her hands are tiny, and…well…I’m old school. She, however, is begging for a turn.
What does it entail?
The program teaches sounds and basic writing as the student learns the location on the keyboard with the assistance of talking hands…or talking fingers. Get it? Because the program is Talking Fingers Inc. You’re a smart one!
I think Elijah’s favorite part is the emailing. He informed me that he writes an email letter and it is sent to another child in the program. I didn’t get to witness this and am not sure if he understood it properly; I think at the time I was being attacked by the sweet little bipolar cat we so lovingly adopted…or maybe I was feeding people, because they keep eating! Anyway, don’t quote me on this aspect, because, while I do have eyes in the back of my head, they were napping.
(UPDATE: the email thing is true! He sends a letter and receives a pre-screened (and sometimes edited) letter from another child in the program. Are you aware how fun it is for a boy to type emails about pizza and ice cream and send them to other kids? Very motivating!
Kids can earn certificates of merit as they move along. This is pretty motivating for some kids, especially since you can print them out. We live in a travel trailer, though, where extra paper lying around is the enemy, so no printing for us! Still, my littles enjoy the blue ribbons.
A talking virus…talking hands…certificates of merit…voice overs…whatever. The kids enjoy it while they are learning to type. That’s what matters to me–that and the lack of anything questionable. I don’t think a talking booger-ish virus is questionable, is it? Nah!
Look! She’s typing! She’s seven!
Despite my initial trepidation, this is one of the curricula items we’ve reviewed lately that we will continue using. My children are definitely improving their typing skills and enjoying it in the process. Thanks Typing Fingers!
Additional information for my fellow roadschoolers:
This program is all online. It is not a terrible data hog, but it does have some moving images and such. Basically, you won’t be streaming video, so it’ll definitely use less data than the big game. If your children need help with phonics and typing, this is a good multi-purpose tool that won’t get scratched up or eat all your data.
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