Monday, October 11, 2010
Talking Fingers - Learning to Read, Write and Type
I taught myself how to type on dad's old Royal portable typewriter using an ancient college typing text. I was about fifteen years old and I remember how much it hurt my fingers to strike those keys. Now I tend to type too fast for the computer to keep up. (Ya, that's it, not my accuracy problem, the computer's.) My son has been using the computer, under supervision, of course, for at least two years already. So that makes him ten years ahead of me there. Still, he is benefiting by leaps and bounds with Talking Fingers.
Talking Fingers “Read, Write, Type” is an online program that teaches proper qwerty hand position and typing technique through interactive games and stories. At the same time, children learn letter sounds, spelling and reading, as well as composition. My son is reading well above his grade level, but does not get bored. He looks forward to his daily session on Talking Fingers and proudly prints out every certificate he earns.
There are 40 levels for students to work through, learning finger placement, building sentences and stories, with certificates awarded for every 4 letters mastered. The program keeps track of each student’s progress and starts them where they left off at the end of their last session. Parents can sign in and print out progress reports and see where their child is in the program. Students and parents sign in with separate usernames and passwords (student’s account is set up by the parent), so multiple children can each have their own record. Younger children may need help signing in, but should be able to work independently from there, as the animated characters guide them through everything.
Two options are available to take advantage of Talking Fingers. Online license for 1 student and parent is $39 and includes unlimited usage and printable reports. The Home Edition is $79 and is good for all children in the family, and has the same great games and interactive instruction as the online version PLUS progress reports, printable stories, clip art for stories, activity book, laminated practice keyboard and 2 sets of stickers. We test drove the online version and were very pleased, although being able to print out my son’s stories, which is a feature of the Home Edition, would be nice. For more keyboard-shy children the Home Edition would definitely be an advantage, though, as it includes a practice keyboard and other offline activities. Also, the Home Edition would be better for anyone with more than one child using the program, or families that would want to use it for several years, thereby saving the yearly license fee.
Once a child has mastered all the levels in Read, Write, Type, he is ready to move on to Word Qwerty, another program available from Talking Fingers. If you wish to purchase both programs, a K-4 Reading Bundle is available. Jingle Spells, songs to spell by, sounds like a great CD to have in the car for road trips.
One final feature of all these programs is the ESL option. Students learning English as a Second Language can click on a yellow balloon on screen for clarification of any portion of the program in Spanish, Arabic or Bahasa Melayu.
I am proud of my self-taught typing skills and look fondly at old portable typewriters in second hand stores, but I am ever so grateful for the light touch required of my computer keyboard. Talking Fingers has come along at just the right time for my son and I am glad that he is enthusiastic about Reading, Writing and Typing!
We received one free one year online license for the above product, for the purpose of using and commenting on it. No other compensation was received.
To see what other Homeschool Crew members are saying about Talking Fingers click: http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783204/