Friday, May 20, 2011

Wordy Querty

We gave Read, Write, and Type a test drive last fall. For spring, we had the opportunity to use the next step, Wordy Querty, an online, at-the-keyboard program to help children age 7-9 with spelling (and as a by-product, strengthens reading and keyboarding as well).

I deliberately stepped back from actively choosing review items during the big move that happened much more quickly than any of us anticipated. I volunteered for Wordy Querty (and was happy to have been chosen to review it) for a couple of reasons. One, we liked Read, Write, and Type. Two, I hoped we could use this one during our transition time on the road, in the hotel, and while we were unpacking and settling in.

And we did. Well, Li'l Bit did. I'm not a huge fan of having her doing a lot of independent work. She needs practice at interaction and reciprocity and I very intentionally choose products that she and I can use together, resources with the relationship in the forefront and academics as a background activity.

HowEVER, at this time in our school year, with this move, I really needed, wanted some items she could do independently so that I could take care of business, getting utilities connected, getting the sibs in school, to and from school, and ultimately unpacking and beginning to try to cook at home again.

I let Li'l Bit loose on Wordy Querty while I worked near her. She sat down for it willingly and worked through lessons with very little complaining (that is huge). The activities are familiar; they repeat themselves throughout the letter patterns. She popped balloons with individual words that created phrases, having to discriminate among homonyms and words that look similar; she typed words and sorted them by category; she filled in the blank; she completed game after game after game without my help.

She completed them all. All 20 lessons.

And as I quiz her by repeating games and using words from the online program, she is able to spell quite a long list of words that I did not realize she is able to spell.

She also knows spelling rules that she didn't know before. "I before e except after c" is one of them.

And as the student plays games, she wins points that give her more spheres in a visually appealing music machine that is really fun to watch. (It is kind of way-cool stimmy for those of you who understand that term.)

I like this program. The lessons are short. They're well presented, simple enough to spotlight the lesson of the moment without being too babyish. The pace is excellent for a child like mine who needs processing time. The instructions do not drag, but they don't move too quickly, either. The patterns quickly create something the child recognizes - I've played this game before, only with different words or letters. Variations on a theme. Same but different, different but same. I look for that in a product. It's here.

The program gives the student the correct answer when the student makes a mistake. The correction is given in a no-nonsense, no judgement tone. "Type 'this'" the voice tells my girl. And she does. And she gets it. I love love love the fact that there's no "uh-oh" or other word or sound to spotlight when the child presses a key that is incorrect.

We get the opportunity to re-do any lesson, so we are not done, yet, as I choose skill practice for my girl to repeat. I can ask her to do another "wh" lesson or the one that works on double consonants, to keep the repeated lessons varied.

I do think we created some splinter skills, particularly with the spelling rules, and we'll have to fill in some foundations now. We'll see how that goes.

The process of accessing the program online has been simple. We had a few freeze-ups in the hotel during our transition time, but have been fine here at home.

The price is right (I cannot believe this price): $25 for one year online access. Interested families can take advantage of a free demo.

I would not limit this one to children in the 7-9 age range. If you have a child with unique learning needs like mine, one who is academically delayed, you may like Wordy Querty as much as we have. Take a demo for a test drive. You may find this as helpful as we have.

We were given an online subscription to Wordy Querty for review purposes. I received no payment for this review. I am not obligated to provide a positive review.

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