To read and write I must know words every time I need them.
If I can spell them easily, I can also read them.
Play games with WORDY QWERTY (professional word coach) who makes up games in his workshop. Play the games to earn spheres (balls) for WORDY QWERTY’S friend Mitty who will use them in the “marvelous music machine” that he’s building. Mitty needs more spheres to play his “music of the spheres”!
In lesson 1, students learn about patterns and words that have them. WORDY QWERTY and Mitty teach that “A vowel’s long sound is also its name,” then the student plays a game to distinquish between words with short vowel sounds (such as “can” and “hat”) and words with long sounds (such as “cane” and “hate”).The student types a word based on the picture shown, then moves it into the proper box (short sound box or long sound box). If he makes a mistake, the Helping Hands tell him what to do. For example, if he is supposed to type c-a-n-e for cane, but types c-a-n (can), the helping hands move and show him how to type “e” as he is also told to “type e”. If the student takes too long to make the change, QWERTY’s voice reiterates how to play the game correctly. When the game is finished, the student receives game points based on how well he did. (Mistakes lower the point score.) He can then REPEAT the game, or click NEXT to go to the next screen. Once he clicks NEXT, he is rewarded with music from Mitty. Of course, the music is a song that reinforces the rule just learned:
Vowels are strange.
They have two sounds,
Their short sound and their name.
When silent e is at the end
The vowel will say its name!
THAT is only part of the song, but you get the idea! After the song, Mitty tells the student that he can sing it too by clicking on the microphone. Once clicked, the song (with accompanying music in the background) appears in written form so that the student can sing it. (This can be repeated over and over again until the child loses interest, or Mom tells him to stop. LOL!)
After the fun of singing, things get a little tough. The very next activity introduces the “Recycler” where the student is shown a set of homophones “ale” and “ail” and is instructed to determine which new words are real and which are fake. The student clicks the right arrow if only the right word is real, the left arrow if only the left word is real, or the BOTH button if both words are real. After 12 sets are presented, the “trash” words are thrown away and only the real words remain. The student is then instructed to practice reading the words and to click on any word he doesn’t know. When a word is clicked, the student hears it used in a sentence. For example, for the word “pale” the sentence voiced is “Her face looks pale.” But for “pail,” the sentence voiced is “Put the water in the pail.” In this way, the student learns about words that have the same long vowel sound, but different spellings. He also learns how to spell a variety of words and, if he chooses, he can learn how the words are used in a sentence. The exercise is then followed by a challenging game in which the student pops balloons to match the sentence provided. It sounds easy enough, but I played it and it was not easy! The balloons appear and disappear rapidly and the student has to select the proper words for the sentence in order. If he makes a mistake, he just keeps going because the missed word will appear again. Do you think it is easy to tell the difference between “to” and “too” or “you” and “ewe”? Think again! ”You have one brother” can easily become “Ewe had won bother” if you don’t pay attention!
CLEARLY, I could go on about the various activities in WORDY QWERTY and that was just the FIRST lesson! Each lesson has SIX different activities. Here is a rundown of each activity type from the web site:
- Patterns Game: Discovering, recognizing, and using the patterns or “rules” of English spelling helps children develop fluent reading and comprehension.
- Karaoke: Most words follow one of 20 easy spelling rules. Each lesson presents a catchy song to remember the rule.
- Recycler: There are several ways to represent certain sounds in English. Children need to be familiar with these choices and be able to use them appropriately as they read and write. In this game, children see homonyms—the words sound the same, and some pairs are real words (sail and sale) but some are not real words (fail and fale). The game is to recognize the real words and know their meaning. If they click on the word, they can hear a sentence using that word.
- Pop-a-Word: Some words are “outlaws.” They don’t follow the rules. They must be recognized quickly and automatically.
- Write Stories: Writing to dictation develops vocabulary, comprehension and fluency as well as spelling skills.
- Read Stories: Reading (and filling in missing words) develops vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency skills.
Aside from the song, each activity in the lesson is more challenging than the one before it; thus, the student is taken on a journey through the concept from “easiest” to “hardest” activity. At the end of Lesson 1, the student is returned to the main page where he sees his progress and finally gets to see Mitty’s progress in building the music machine, which is built graphically right before his eyes. At that point, Lesson 1 ends and Lesson 2 begins. I will not go into detail about Lesson 2 (or thereafter), but I will tell you that I learned something new in Lesson 2. Despite having a BA in English, I learned a rule that I knew instinctively but could not have articulated before I used WORDY QWERTY! Seriously, folks, if I can learn something from WORDY QWERTY, then surely your early elementary student(s) can too!
And here is where I get into the facts about WORDY QWERTY. It isdesigned to be used with students in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade “who have learned the basics of phonics and reading and now are ready to learn more about how words are built in English.” It teaches reading, spelling, and typing with varied activities that are some times fun and often challenging. It correlates learning to read, spell, and type with music by presenting spelling rules as cool songs. Each lesson presents a new rule and a new song. With 20 lessons, that’s 20 rules learned! All the while, the student learns to spell words, read words, learn nuances of English, type (not just words, but full sentences), improve memory, practice reading comprehension, and much more.
For full disclosure, I must tell you that, even though I wanted to do this review because I have a 2nd grader, I did not ultimately have him use the program. After I tried it out (and loved it so much that I kept doing more and more), I realized he is just not ready for it. I think he’d start to “drown” after the first two activities! But, he i s just now ending his second grade year and he is not (yet) a fluent reader at the 2nd grade level. He is getting better, especially when he is focused, but he still needs more practice. Thus, WORDY QWERTY is not right for him at this time. But, you’d better believe I will buy it for him when the time is right. At an economical $25 for a 5-year license (for one user), it would be silly not to! Meanwhile, I think – no, I KNOW – my older son will benefit from using it while I still have access to the trial. If he doesn’t finish it, I won’t hesitate to pay more for the 2 user license ($40). For the record, licenses can be purchased for up to 5 users with the highest cost being $71.25. That’s less than $15 per person for a fantastic program that teaches spelling, reading, and typing, PLUS exposes the student to music! (No, really, that’s not a typo. It really is that economical!) By the way, I used the online version. It is available in a CD version ($35), but that version doesn’t work with Windows 7, so I would need to continue using the online version. Anyone with a lower version of Windows, however, would be able to use the CD version.
Guess what? While looking at the other products available from Talking Fingers, I was reminded that they have a program for 6 to 9 year olds. It’s called Read, Write and Type. Wow! How did I forget that? It looks like it would be the perfect fit for my 7-year old, who (as I said) still needs some prerequisite work before he moves into WORDY QWERTY. At $35 for a 5-year license for one user, the price is still pretty reasonable. A bundle version is also available for $59, but only in CD form. (I really wish this bundle were available for the online versions, or that the CDs were available for Windows 7. Really, really!)
Read, Write & Type Screen Shot
Still want to know more? (Have I really not already said it all? This is a L-O-N-G review!)
~Click here for a Demo of Lesson 1.
~Click here to listen to 4 of the songs (in MP3 format) from the special song CD titled JingleSpells: 20 Songs to Spell By.
~Click here to visit the Talking Fingers blog, which is full of fantastic articles about reading.
~Click here to follow Talking Fingers (@ReadWriteType) on Twitter.
~Click here to follow Talking Fingers on Facebook. (You’ll get 20% off on select products for becoming a fan.)
~Click here to watch product videos.
~Click here to read the FAQs for Read, Write & Type and WORDY QWERTY.
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 cash for my reviews. My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs, and experiences on the products and services that I receive.
This review, and the reviews of all of the other crew members assigned to this product, will all be available at the official crew blog: The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew (Steering homeschoolers toward great products!)
Rules for Raising Delinquent Children by the Houston Texas Police Dept. , 1958 (as recorded in Way of Salvation, August 1958, Ed. Pervie Nichols)
1) Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this way he will grow up believing the world owes him a living.
2) When he picks up ‘bad’ words or ‘dirty’ words, laugh at him. That will make hi think he’s cute. He will run off and pick up some other words that will blow the top off your head.
3) Never give him any spiritual training until he is 21 and then let him decide for himself. By the same logic, never teach him the English language. Maybe when he is old enough he may want to speak Bantee.
4) Avoid the use of the word ‘wrong.’ It may develop in the child a guilt complex. This will prepare him to believe that when he is punished later on for stealing cars or assaulting women, society is against him and that he is being persecuted.
5) Pick up everything after him him: his shoes, his books, his clothes. Do everything for him so that he will be experienced in throwing burdens on others.
6) Let him read anything he wants. Have no concern whatever for what goes into his mind. Provide him with lily cups for lips, but let his brain drink out of any dirty container for words and ideas.
7) Quarrel frequently in the presence of your children. In this way they will be prepared for broken homes later on.
8) Give him all the spending money he wants: never let him earn his own.
9) Satisfy every craving of the child for food, drink, and everything that has to do with the sense of taste and touch, gratifying every sensual desire.
10) Take his part against policemen, the teachers and neighbors. They are all ‘prejudiced’ against your child.
11) When he gets into real trouble, always defend yourself and say, ‘I never could do anything with him.’
Thanks AGAIN to Mark for this gem!