Friday, May 20, 2011

TOS Crew Word Qwerty Review

Wordy Qwerty
Talking Fingers Wordy Qwerty

5 year Online Subscription: $25 and up
Home edition on CD: $35
2nd - 4th grades

Earlier this school year my second grader reviewed Read Write and Type from Talking Fingers with great success.  In fact, the whole family enjoyed this program!   We were very excited to have the opportunity to review Word Qwerty from the same company.

From their website:
Wordy Qwerty – Foundations for Reading and Writing Fluency, takes 7-9 year olds through the next steps of reading and writing fluency, and picks up where our award-winning software, the Read, Write & Type Learning System leaves off.

After successfully completing Read, Write & Type!, most 6-7 year olds are able to write any word they can say. But they may not spell them all correctly, because they need to know a bit more about spelling conventions and about how words are constructed in English. This is where Wordy Qwerty comes in. In 20 consecutive lessons, woven together with fun-to-play games and delightful songs that will stay in their heads (and an audio CD they can play in the car or on their audio CD player).

The overall purpose of Wordy Qwerty: Foundations for Reading and Writing Fluency, is to improve phonological and morphological sensitivity, to develop a deeper understanding of how words are constructed in English, and to provide reading and writing activities with helpful feedback, in order to increase fluency and comprehension in reading and writing. Wordy Qwerty has 20 lessons, with six activities per lesson, that present the following foundations for fluency:
  1. Some sounds can be represented in several different ways.
  2. Most words follow about 20 easy spelling rules.
  3. There are many word families, (words that sound the same, or rhyme). By changing the first letter(s), you can make hundreds of words.
  4. Some words are "outlaws". They don't follow the rules. They must be recognized quickly and automatically.
  5. Writing to dictation develops vocabulary, comprehension and fluency as well as spelling skills.
  6. Reading (and filling in missing words) develops vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency skills.

20 LESSONS IN WORDY QWERTY (SPELLING RULES)

  1. Silent E
  2. Sounds of C
  3. Sounds of G
  4. J or DGE
  5. W or WH
  6. C or K
  7. CK or K
  8. CKS or X
  9. CH or TCH
  10. LL, SS, FF, ZZ
  11. OI or OY
  12. VE Words
  1. Open Syllables
  2. Double Consonants
  3. Doubling rule
  4. ER, IR, OR, UR, EAR
  5. I Before E
  6. Plurals: Add ES
  7. Plurals: Y to IES
  8. Plurals: F to VES
















Midi and Qwerty are two characters that will guide your child through 7 sections of each lesson.  The object is to score points in order to obtain 'spheres' for Midi's music machine.

Patterns - Word Qwerty
Patterns

Section #1 Patterns: Children generate two lists of words by typing the names of pictures and sorting the words by a given characteristic. They are directed to notice the patterns," or spelling rules, by comparing the two lists. If they can't sound out the words or spell them correctly, the Helping Hands will assist them. Qwerty and Midi talk about the differences between the two lists and derive the 20 spelling rules which then are woven into the lyrics of delightful songs.

Word Qwerty - Karoke
Karoke
Section #2 Karaoke: Rhymes and songs are memorable and fun. There is a catchy song about each of the 20 spelling rules. Children read the lyrics on the screen and can sing along if they want. Often the lyrics contain examples of the words that reflect the spelling rule. Children are motivated to read the words while the song is playing, or while they are singing it themselves.

Word Qwerty - Recycler
Recycler

Section #3 Recycler: Lots of words that rhyme can be made just by changing the first letter or letters of the word. Some words sound the same, or rhyme, but use a different combination of letters to represent the same sound. In this game, children learn different vowel combinations that can make the long vowel sound. They watch the RECYCLER drum whirl as it changes the first letter(s) of two rhyming words. They learn to quickly distinguish real words from non-words. The non-words are vacuumed away. Players that score less than 90% on the first try are asked to study the list of real words. If any are not familiar, they can click on the word and hear it used in a sentence. Then they are asked to play the game again.

Words Qwerty - Pop-a-Wordzz
Pop-a-Wordzz
Section #4 Pop-a-Wordzz; "Outlaw" words are best memorized by learning to recognize them quickly. In this arcade-type game, children find words in a 4 word phrase as each word appears briefly, along with non-target words, in a cluster of colorful balloons. As children click on the correct balloons, they "pop". The faster they recognize the correct words, the more points they make.

Word Qwerty - write a story
Write Stories
Section #5 Write Stories: In these cleverly illustrated 8-line rhymes, children hear and see the first line, and have to type out the second line after it is dictated. They can see and hear the dictated line as often as they need, but get more points if they remember the sentence and try to spell the words correctly. These little stories are full of words that require using the spelling rule just presented.

Word Qwerty - read stories
Read Stories



Section #6 Read Stories: Here are some short, engaging stories that develop comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency. Every so often, there is a word missing, and children have to choose among three possible words, the word that best fits the meaning of the sentence. These stories also include words that utilize the spelling rule, or the "outlaw" words learned in that lesson.

Section #7 Spelling Test
After the spelling test, your child is rewarded by seeing what Midi is building OR watching a segment from Animuisc performed each time he completes 5 lessons.

Our experience:

Sitting with my 2nd and 4th grader we proceeded through this program.  The 'Patterns" section defined the spelling rule clearly with the 'Karaoke' song backing it up leaving my kids signing the song even after they were down with their lesson.  The 'recycler' was quite a guessing game for my emergent reader - based more on luck.  'Pop-a-Wordzz' was very helpful for my 4th grader stressing words like their, there and they're.  You, your, and you're.  One and won.  The 'Writing Stories' section was extremely long and stressful for both my 2nd grader and challenging for my older student even though both have successfully completed Read, Write and Type. The 'Read Stories' section had words in it that are beyond a 2nd grade level - but just right for my 4th grader.

What's nice about this program is that you can choose the passing level per each student.  This was helpful for my younger student who needed to repeat some of the lessons multiple times.

I wish Word Qwerty had adjustable levels as Read Write and Type does because it's a big spread between what a 2nd grader and 4th grader can spell! (One of the spelling words was 'general'. I've never seen that on a 2nd graders list!)

As with any spelling program, the ultimate test is retention.  After my kids completed a lesson, I would test them with the same set of words the next day.  Sadly, retention was low for both children.

For us, this program was loads of fun, but did not stick.

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I received a subscription free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

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