*Spoiler alert* I'm going to tell you up front that I love this computer product! But please,don't let that stop you from reading on, because there is more information ahead :)
Learning how to type has come a long way since I was a schoolgirl. It was actually an uncle who taught me how to properly position my hands over the keys, and while, yes, it got the job done, so to speak, it was rather, ho hum on the fun scale. Fast forward to the present, to the Read, Write, and Type Learning Systems by Talking Fingers, Inc..I first approached this as another typing product. But what makes this one unique is that it doesn't begin and end with typing. It also tackles reading, phonics, spelling, and word processing!
First of all, I was soo delighted that the volume level on this product is loud enough that the user is not required to find the darkest, quietest, most isolated part of the house in order to hear the directions - which has been an issue on occasion with other programs. I could even run the dishwasher and still hear everything- oh glory!
Being that this particular system is geared towards the younger set, it has some really cute, engaging characters. The whole program is set up for the user in a way that reminds me of a superhero theme. We first meet the typing facilitators, which are the right hand and left hand. They introduce us to the characters on the keyboard, and where they are located. Each character has its own story. My favorite,(and my daughter's favorite too) is the evil computer virus. He steals all of the characters. So begins the task of freeing the letters from the virus, and putting them back where they belong on the keyboard.
How do they do that? Well, with a little help from the animated hands, they read, sound out words, identify their sounds, read, and then type those words in a series of increasingly challenging activities
My girls loved watching the virus get more and more mad, until he would finally melt, or blow away, or meet some other silly fate.
Whenever a mistake is made, as will happen, the computer comes in with a prompt of what needs to be typed. In the beginning, the directions are repeated often, and as the child progresses, the directions are not automatically repeated anymore, it is assumed that with the previous experience, the child knows what to do. We adjusted to that easily - or my daughters did - and the instructions may still be heard by clicking the question mark on the screen if they forget where they are in the lesson.
After completing four "letter" lessons, a certificate is earned, and may be printed out. My girls were very proud of each of these little milestones. There are also progress reports for the parent to view, with a chart tracking each students progress in each category - reading, spelling, etc., and where that student is in the program - the current level, how many are completed, how many left to complete.
Interestingly enough, after working through all of these lessons, I would not consider my daughters fluent typists. Not even close, actually. It may be that the small motor skills that typing requires as you keep your fingers over the same basic keys, while reaching out to the other ones, still needs fine tuning. However, as I mentioned above, we're not talking about Talking Fingers only as a typing tutor, but as a reading, phonics, and spelling guide as well. So, looking at it from that perspective, I like the foundation that my daughters are getting in their keyboarding skills. They are learning the positioning of each hand and finger on the keyboard, so I know they are on their way to grasping the typing skills, and that they are having those other areas reinforced as well. And, quite honestly, they love it. I have never had to coerce them to do their lessons. I have even found myself "helping" them on occasion, just so I could play too!
The prices vary, depending on how many students will be signed up. When you purchase this system, you're purchasing a license for a set amount of time, which you may choose. You should check their website for that information. Each license allows one user.
I really think you'll find this a welcome addition to your homeschooling curriculum. Really, even if you don't homeschool, it provides a great education in several subjects at once. A wonderful selection for us multitasking moms. Now go, and check it out for yourself!
* In return for this resource, I agreed to write up a review for Talking Fingers,Inc. with no additional compensation.
Talking Fingers, Inc. -Read, Write, and Type
830 Rincon Way
San Rafael, California
Toll Free: 1-800-674-9126
Age: 6-9 years old
Price: Varies according to amount of users and license duration. Check website for details.