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Friday, May 20, 2011

TOS Review Wordy Qwerty

Reading isn't usually something that we worry about in our house.  It is a naturally occurring thing because we do it as a family with lots of read a louds and books on tape.  But, I am always on the lookout for programs that can help us out and that I can recommend to others.  There are so many families with kids that struggle or plain just don't like to read so I love recommending things to them that will help those families get over the hurdles in their way.

Wordy Qwerty is one of those products.  Here is a little about it from their website:

The long-awaited sequel to the Read, Write & Type Learning System,

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.
Wordy Qwerty

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).

This page is a great overview and explanation of what Wordy Qwerty is.  It can answer a lot of questions you may have.  This page will give you a tour of Wordy Qwerty and is worth your time to look at.   The FAQ page will answer any other questions you have about this product along with system requirements and such. 


This program is a step by step process to help your child read more fluently.  The six steps are:

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.

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.

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, chidren 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.


4. Pop-a-Word
"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.

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.

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.


Each one of these steps is engaging and fun.  My two youngest have been 'testing' this for me and enjoy doing it everyday.  They are learning a lot and having fun doing it.  The 9yo is actually reading above grade level but is learning things that she skipped over by learning to read by sight so quickly.  It is helping her to slow down and really look at what she is reading.  The 6yo is a little young for this program but since she reads at about a first grade level we went ahead and tried it with her.  Some sections are too hard and she struggles with them but she is learning tons and is persevering enough to get through it.  I can tell that her reading has improved and she sounding out more words now than before.

The girls have been singing the songs all day long.  One day, the 6yo was singing something but I couldn't place it.  I listened for a minute and realized she was singing the rule for pronouncing "g" in a word.  I then heard her later using that jingle to help her sound out a word.  I would say that it's working!

We have enjoyed using this program on so many different levels.  I have loved that it is making my 9yo an even stronger reader and it is putting my 6yo on the path to being a fluent reader as well.

If you want to order this program for yourself it sells for $35.  This page tells you all that comes 'in the box' when you purchase Wordy Qwerty.  It also lists the system requirements for running Wordy Qwerty on your computer.  It does run on both Mac and PC but there are system requirements that you will want to check out before buying.

Also, this is the second part to Read, Write, Type that The Crew reviewed earlier in the year.  If you want to see what Crew members thought about that program head on over to this post on The Crew blog and then check out what Crew members thought about Wordy Qwerty.

**I received a trial version of Wordy Qwerty through The TOS Crew in exchange for my honest review.

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