Monday, October 11, 2010

Review: Talking Fingers


I recently had the privilege of reviewing a typing program for kids called Talking Fingers, Read, Write and Type. I received a trial online subscription to be used with one student, and tried it out with Little Bean. I'll start this review just by saying that we absolutely loved this program, and plan to purchase it in the future for our typing program! How's that for an endorsement?!

According to their website, Read, Write and Type is a learning software that "includes phonics, spelling, keyboarding and word processing." Geared toward the K through 3 set, this program features a pesky little green alien who tries to prevent the player from writing his stories. As the child progresses through the game, new stations open up for play--the email station, the movie theater, the video store, Vexor's spaceship, and the water fountain. Children not only practice learning to type, they also practice recognizing letter sounds at the beginning, middle and end of words, as well as spelling and punctuation. There are seven levels to pass through, taking the child from learning the sounds of the letters all the way through writing their own stories.

You can purchase a five-year license to the online version for only $35 dollars. Once one child has passed through all the levels and learned to type, you can archive that child and use it on another as long as it's within that 5 year span. Or, you can purchase the CD-ROM package for $79 dollars and receive some bonus materials to use with your student--a laminated keyboard, stickers, 18 leveled readers and an activity book. The advantage to the CD-ROM version is that you can use it with multiple children simultaneously, and your license does not expire.

Things we liked about the program:

--It is offered either as an online program, or as a CD-ROM.

--The price

--The graphics are really well done, the characters friendly and engaging, and the games were a lot of fun!

--There is a parent section where you can login and track your child's progress as well as set the difficulty level of the games.

--There is enough variation in the games that it keeps things interesting, but not so much variation that the child feels they are always learning a new game. This is a pro for my son because he is easily anxious and when we first started playing, just learning the games made him feel very nervous. Once he was familiar with the games, he really started doing well with the typing aspect.

--It uses several learning styles to help students who learn in different ways. When a new sound is introduced, the animated hands both say the sound, show the letter(s) that represent the sound, and show the child how to find the letter on the keyboard. Each letter has an associated character to aid in memorizing the letter sound and placement on the keyboard. It got to where I could just tell my son how to spell something by using the the characters names--'sit' would be Sass, Issa, Tut; this really helped him remember where the different letters were on the keyboard.

Things that we didn't like so much:

--For my sensory sensitive son, some of the graphics were a little too bright for him and he complained that it hurt his eyes.

--In my opinion, this is not really a complete phonics/reading program. My son already knows how to read, so this wasn't an issue for him, but I would caution people not to think that their child will learn to read or spell from this program. Yes, it can reinforce reading and spelling already learned, but the program does not offer much in the way of actually teaching phonics or spelling rules.

Overall, we really loved this program, and I certainly think the price is right for our budget. I plan to purchase this to teach both Little Bean and Miss O to type in the future. If you are interested in this product, do take the time to visit their website, learn more and check out some of their other products.

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions in this review are mine.


Becca said...

We've been looking for something like this; can you tell me how old again the child is you used it with? And would you say that it does teach introductory typing skills? And, sorry, one more question, how long do you guess it would take a child to go through all of the levels? Thanks for the great review!!

Jennifer said...

Hi Becca, I tried to email you, but your profile is not public. I hope you return to read this! If you are interested, you can read more reviews here:

I used this with my 5.5 year old son. He is working on a 1st grade level though, and more like 3rd in reading. We were using it mainly for the typing aspect. YES! It teaches introductory typing skills. That was the main reason I liked it. How long depends on the individual child. My son would only do one letter a day, and that would take him about 20 to 30 minutes, so it would take quite a while for him to finish. In the other reviews I noticed that some children had actually gone through all the levels very quickly. Remember though, you can archive your child and have them repeat the program if they need more practice!

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