Friday, May 20, 2011

Wordy Qwerty~ All kinds of keyboards!


Every now and again I am given a review item that doesn't actually "match" the ages and/or abilities of any of my children. Such is the case with Wordy Qwerty.  However, if I had a child currently in the target age for this program, I would definitely be interested in purchasing it for a supplemental activity, as I feel it is engaging as well as educational. 

Wordy Qwerty is offered by Talking Fingers as a spelling and typing fluency program for 2nd and 3rd graders (Or ages 7-9). Although he didn't exactly "fit" the range, I figured that my 5th grader could use practice typing, even if his spelling is already pretty good. So, on with the "Show". :)

The basic set-up~ 
"Qwerty" (a computer keyboard) and "Midi" (a musical keyboard) are characters who help the student navigate through the lessons on a quest to earn "Spheres" so that Midi can build a musical machine (more on that in a bit).

There are 20 "lessons"  that cover 20 basic spelling rules, with 6 activities in each lesson. Every set of 4 lessons completed allows Midi to complete another section of his machine. 

This is what the "navigation" screen looks like. 
Navigation screenEach activity is represented in the boxes to the left of the center column, the lessons are represented by the numbered spheres (Neat feature~ if you mouse over a completed sphere it shows which spelling rule is represented. For example CKS or X would show if you hovered over the numeral 8). The boxes to the right of the center represent each section of the musical machine that has been completed.

1~ Patterns 
Step 1: PatternsThis screen shows the word "branch" being typed. If the student misspells the word, the program will guide with voice "Type 'c'" as well as the color coded hand showing how to correctly type the letter (I tried to get a screen shot showing the fingers moving, but was a little too slow). Once the word is correctly typed, it is "moved" to the appropriate side with the arrow key. This step shows the common patterns in spelling. 

2~ Karaoke

After the patterns are discussed, Midi comes up with a "Spelling Rule Jingle" to help cement the idea in the brain. These are some of the more, shall we say.... musical tunes I've heard used for this sort of thing. After the song is sung, there is an option to sing it karaoke-style, which also helps to make it more memorable.

3~ The Recycler 
Step 4: sortingThis section focuses on words that rhyme, and the different vowel patterns that can be found. It helps the students learn to recognize correct long-vowel spellings. The words are sorted, and then the "nonsense" words are "recycled" (My 3 yo thought this was a fun part to watch, simply because he's big into recycling right now :) )
Step 4: recycled
4~ Pop-a-Word
4~ Pop-a-wordThis section is an arcade-style game where a sentence is read that includes a "tricky" word (For instance "isn't"). The words then appear somewhat randomly in balloons, which must be popped in the correct order (My Eldest thought this one was kind of fun, and it was good to build quick discrimination between there, they're and their).

5~ Write a story 
Step 5 Write a StoryThis activity works on dictation skills. There is a new 8-line rhyme for each lesson. Two lines are spoken and shown in print. The second line is then taken away, and must be typed correctly. There are cues when incorrect letters/words are typed. If the child can't recall the entire sentence, he can click on the lips, and the set is repeated, both in print and vocally. Very helpful feature~  the printed text is then returned to the point where the child left off, rather than returning them to the starting point. 

6~ Read a Story:
This activity tests reading comprehension by leaving some words blank. When the student gets to a blank, and clicks, a drop-down box appears with word choices.

Step 6: Read a Story

Here are some of our further thoughts on this program:

  • We felt the variety of interesting games and activities helped to keep the interest level fairly high. 
  • Many of the activities contain "Stories", rather than random sentences, which my Middlest appreciated. 
  • The musical machines that are being built are pretty cool~ 
  • There is no way (That we have seen) to replay the musical machine sections of the program~ if you missed it, wanted to show it to Dad when he gets home, or littlest wants it played again, there will be some disappointment. 
  • The CD-rom version is not compatible with the newest MAC OS versions. :( We can use the online version, but sometimes portable is useful. 
  • I haven't found a way to pause the program, which would be a useful tool. 
Here is an introductory video that will allow you to see some of the program in action, as well as hear directly from the creator of Wordy Qwerty, Dr. Jeannine Herron. 

    Now for the nitty-gritty (Which isn't too gritty! :D )

    • 5 year online subscription for 1-5 children ranges from $25- $71.25 
    • CD editions (Not compatible with Windows 7 or MAC OS 10.6 and up) $35
    Clearly, efforts have been made to make this an affordable option for families of all sizes, which is very appreciated! You can get full pricing details on the website, and while you're there, you might be interested in checking out the free online demo of the first lesson on silent "e".  
    If you scroll down the demo page, there is currently an offer for 20% off your order when you sign up for the Talking Fingers, Inc. newsletter. Pretty nice! :) 

    As always, I hope that this has been helpful to you as you choose where to spend your homeschool budget. Please visit the TOS Crew Blog, and see what my fellow crewmates had to say (Many of them actually had children in the target age range, so they may have some different insight for you).

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


    1. Yes, you can actually replay the building of the music machine. When you click on the REPLAY button then click on lesson 20, then click on the music building part you want. You can click on any other lesson but then it will only allow you to choose a building bit that you have on or before that lesson. At first I thought you couldn't do it either but you can.

    2. Oh, thank you for that information! We'll have to check that out now! :)


    Thanks so much for letting me know you were here. I appreciate "thoughtful" comments. :)


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