Educational Software For Children
The CEO of Talking Fingers, Inc., Dr. Jeannine Herron, announced the launching of online editions for the company's popular educational software programs. Read Write & Type and Wordy Qwerty have both won awards. The online learning programs are funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD), and were designed to employ data from up-to-date research on how young children learn. While anyone can subscribe to the website for an annual fee of $35, group discounts are available for states, districts, and schools. For now, children can try eight lessons of Read, Write & Type, and one lesson of Word Qwerty for free at the website: www.talkingfingers.com.
Herron, a neuropsychologist involved in research says, "We've been upgrading, enhancing and doing research with Read, Write & Type, with the help of federal grants, since the Apple IIe version came out in 1984. The Online Editions are the fulfillment of a dream to make effective English literacy instruction available at low cost to everyone in the world, with voice-over help in many languages. In fact, we are hoping to work with organizations serving refugees in the U.S. to make the Online Edition of Read, Write & Type available to these newcomers free of charge, to help them learn to read and write in English."
Both the online and hard print learning programs designed by Talking Fingers use a unique approach called "speech-to-print" that differs from conventional "print-to-speech" programs. The Talking Fingers method is much more interactive than the traditional point and click children's educational fare. Instead, this method forces the child to use his voice, ears, eyes, and fingers.
One can read about Dr. Herron's methodology in an article she wrote called, "Why Phonics Teaching Must Change" (http://ascd.typepad.com/blog/2008/09/why-phonics-tea.html) which appeared in a September 2008 issue of the magazine Educational Leadership. Many experts have endorsed Herron's theories, including the authors of Straight Talk About Reading (Louisa Moats, Ed.D., and Susan Hall); Sally Shaywitz, M.D., who is a professor of Pediatrics at Yale University as well as a member of the National Reading Panel and the author of the book Overcoming Dyslexia; and Joseph Torgesen, Ph.D., who is the former director of the Center for Reading Research in Florida.
The first 40 lessons of Read Write & Type teach children to recognize the sounds that are contained within spoken words, associate these sounds with letters, and link the sounds and letters to the finger movements made on a keyboard. This integrative approach leads to a point at which children are able to type any word or phrase they can speak and read anything that they write.
Wordy Qwerty is a series of 20 lessons that teaches 7-9 year olds about spelling rules and patterns.