Thursday, April 14, 2016

A TOS Review: Read, Write & Type

Have I told you how blessed I am? I LOVE this job. I am generally an easy person to please. Have you noticed that? I can find the silver lining in most storm clouds, the lemonade in the lemons….you get the picture. When it comes to reviewing homeschooling curriculum and products, I can usually find something positive/encouraging/"this might work for you" with every product.

And then there are those that really (and I mean really) change the atmosphere in our little 700 Square ft. Apartment on the Second Floor. There is no wailing and gnashing of teeth. There is no “can I take a break” repeated every. five. minutes.  This, my friends, is one such product. We recently had the chance to review Read, Write & Type by Talking Fingers Inc. Wowsers.

This program is intended for ages 6-9, BUT if you have a child with a learning disability or needs ESL instruction... this is for you. Read, Write & Type is so much more than a typing course. For the purpose of this review I received a one-year subscription for one user.

If you are a regular follower of my blog, you know that my beautiful 14-year-old son is dyslexic and has dysgraphia. We really have seen improvement over the past few years. I have found that those programs that incorporate a multi-sensory approach  have benefited Josiah the most.  He is one of those kinds of kids who needs to get his hands on the thing. You have any like that?

The developer of the program, neuropsychologist Jeannine Herron, had a vision to change the way kids learn. She emphasized that parents and teachers needed to understand that reading and writing “go hand in hand.” Unfortunately, there are many (especially in our case) where writing becomes a chore. How can a student who struggles with one discipline (or both) truly excel with the other (those are my thoughts…not hers).

I know that when I was a college student going through my paces the wisdom of the day was the "whole language" movement. After I got a few years of teaching under my belt and the added experience of homeschooling, I realized that the "whole language" method wasn't cutting it. Phonics is where it's at. Read, Write & Type takes that phonics instructions and adds the tactile (and let's face it...practical) benefit of keyboard instruction. The student hears, reads, touches...and all kinds of possibilities open up to him or her. 

How We Used It

This was something that we tried to incorporate every day. The lessons only take 15 minutes. There are plenty of other activities a student can go and visit (more on that in a minute).

It was easy to set up Josiah’s account and he didn’t have to go through any major hoops to access the program.  

Read, Write & Type is set in a little town. This little town has a manner of learning sites. Included in those sites are...

Power Foundation (practice speed and accuracy)
E-mail Tower (Write and receive virtual email)
The Park (Blend sounds together)
Story Tree (Type a story) 

And many more! 

Each day Josiah went right to work.  The green little blog is called Vector. He is bad news. The student's job is to get all the little letter friends in their rightful places and defeat Vector! 

They do so by completing a variety of activities and challenges. For example, in this screen shot, the student is required to type Otto to move the Octopus across the screen. 

I know what some of you might be thinking. Josiah is a 14-year-old boy. There is no way he could think this is "cool." Frankly, the measure of coolness in our home is not determined by graphics, sound effects or catchy little ditties. 

Cool is when you get your schoolwork done. Cool is when you can effectively master a concept. Cool is when you take out the trash without being asked. 

Josiah isn't offended. He is thrilled to be doing something that even resembles a video game during school hours. And I don't think he feels overwhelmed and helpless because he can't understand what is being required of him. 

Another great feature to Read, Write & Type is that the instructions are clear. They are spoken. Josiah doesn't have to find his way around a confusing screen by reading the clues. Personally, as a parent who has a child with this kinds of learning challenges I feel that we need to make it less about a grade level and more about the need. 

I know you're with me. 

Here is one of the best parts. You can try out Read, Write & Type for FREE. There is a demo available for those of you who need to "try before you buy." I also encourage you to take some time to read the research done with kiddos of many different walks of life and abilities. It really is encouraging. 

To use this program you will need a few things. Mainly a working computer, a set of speakers and a keyboard and mouse. Josiah did  use my laptop, but I do need to see that he is fairly familiar with a keyboard. The system requirements for both a Mac and Windows user is on the website. I have Windows 10 and use Google Chrome and didn't have any issues.

Just a final thought. Read, Write & Type is not just for homeschooled kiddos. Any student will benefit from this program. 

Run! Walk! Slither your way! Head on over to Talking Fingers, Inc. and try this AWESOME program out. 

You can connect with Talking Fingers Inc. via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner to read more reviews. 

Talking Fingers Inc. Review

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