Wordy Qwerty – Foundations for Reading and Writing Fluency

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Wordy Qwerty is an on-line Reading and Spelling program developed by Talking Fingers. It is ideal for children ages 7-9 (2nd and 3rd grade) and is designed to follow the Read, Write, and Type Learning System.

“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.”

The characters, Qwerty and Midi, a computer keyboard and piano keyboard, guide the student through the activities. The overall objective of the game is to earn spheres to help Midi build a music machine. The child periodically sees the progress he is making on the music machine to provide encouragement.

There are 20 lessons with 6 activities per lesson. The activities are:

1. Patterns

2. Karaoke

3. Recycler

4. Pop-a-Word

5. Write Stories

6. Read Stories

View explanations of the activities

These activities are followed by a test of the words in the lesson. This test determines if the child is ready to progress to the next lesson. If the child fails the test (passing level is determined by the parent/teacher), he has to repeat the lesson. However, after a second failure, the child can move on, but is reminded that he can do the activities again to get a better score.

The 20 lessons teach the following 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
  13. Open Syllables
  14. Double Consonants
  15. Doubling rule
  16. ER, IR, OR, UR, EAR
  17. I Before E
  18. Plurals: Add ES
  19. Plurals: Y to IES
  20. Plurals: F to VES

Each of these rules is set to music to aid in retention.

I tested this program with my 9 year old son. Although he is in the target age range for the program, he is at the lower end of the required skill level. Even though the program was a bit too challenging, he enjoyed it and often asked to play. He liked Qwerty and Midi and enjoyed most of the activities. He was frustrated by the writing activity. That required him to remember a whole line of a story and type it correctly. The program provides prompts when the child’s progress is too slow, but those exercises were still very tedious for him. He did not complete the Read, Write, and Type program though, so the typing experience might have been helpful for him in Wordy Qwerty.

The Recycler game has the student pick out which of the two words is spelled correctly or if they both are. (See graphic below.) In the first lesson it presents words such as gale/gail, and  male/mail. I’m not sure that I like this method for a struggling reader and speller. I can see the benefit for an average or above-average speller though. I know that I am a very visual speller and can spell most things by just knowing whether or not they look right. But I’m afraid that presenting the wrong spellings to a poor speller might be counter-productive.

My son loves listening to music, so the songs for the spelling rules are a big help for him. I personally do not care for the songs, but musical taste is very subjective. I would urge anyone considering the program to look at the On-line Demo to try out the activities and hear a sample song.

An on-line subscription to Wordy Qwerty lasts 5 years! Subscriptions are available for 1 to 5 users and range from $25 to $71.25. The Home Edition on CD is $35, but is not compatible with Windows 7.

You can read more reviews of Wordy Qwerty at the Homeschool Crew Blog.

Linked to: The Homeschool Curriculum Review Roundup.

Disclosure: I received an on-line subscription to Wordy Qwerty in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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