I first had an opportunity to review Read, Write & Type from Talking Fingers Inc. back in 2010 with Nick and Alex who were then 8 and 6. (you can find that review here. My boys look so little!) I was delighted to have a chance to review this program again with my 6 year old daughter, Lily.
Read, Write & Type is an online reading program that includes phonics, spelling, reading, punctuation, and typing through a series of engaging activities. There are 40 lessons in the Read, Write & Type program which is geared for children around ages 6-8 who are just learning to read, ESL students, or students of any age who are struggling in reading or writing. The child is guided through the program by Lefty and Rightway while trying to stop Vexor the Villain from stealing the letters.
Each lesson has a similar format. The letter that the child is working on is shown along with which finger to type it with/ Lefty or Rightway models typing the letter then the child types the letter while listening to the sound. In the next game they are shown different pictures. If the picture starts with the sound of the letter they type the letter, if not they type the space bar. Then they play another game finding the letter sound at the end of the word. If the child gets the answer wrong, the game tells then the correct answer. They are given another opportunity to get the answer correct.
They then move on to typing practice with the letter and short words. First they are shown the letters and words and have to type them. After that a picture is shown and they type the word. Then they type out a short story. The pictures are animated and the game reads the story to the child. They then earn the letter. It takes around 15-20 minutes to complete all of the activities for each letter.
After every 4 letters, the child earns a certificate that can be printed out. They also do a spaceship challenge review that has them doing different typing and comprehension activities. The game also has an email tower that allows the children to type short stories and letters and "email" them to different places and receive something back.
Parents can see a report that shows how their child is doing by logging into the parent account. Grades are given for each level (1-10) in phonics, spelling, reading, and average.
When we logged in for the first lesson, the theme song started playing and Nick and Alex both came into the room and said, "Hey I remember that game!" The game has not changed at all since we reviewed it last. Lily is enjoying it just as much as they did when they used it. She is a very strong reader but she still enjoys the games, and the typing practice is great. In addition to learning to type the letters, they also learn how to use capitals in a sentence and type punctuation. She thinks the characters and the stories are cute. I had her do one lesson at a time (about 15-20 minutes a day) but the pace is completely up to you. I usually do not like to do online programs because I think the children get enough screen time as it is, but Read, Write & Type is a really good program and worth the time Lily spends on it each day. She loves earning her certificates and has them hanging on her wall.
Some of the images are a little dated. Lily was shown a picture today of an old computer disk and she had no idea what it was. She did figure out how to type it correctly after they said the word. If you have a child who is a struggling reader, you may have to sit with them and assist as needed, if they are fairly confident, they will be able to work on the program on their own.
To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!