What do you do with a 5-year-old who loves to play games, and learn at the same time? You have to find a program that will give them the fun and learning that they need. What program could that be? Little Miss had the chance to check out Talking Shapes: A Supplemental Curriculum for Early Literacy from Talking Fingers Inc.
What Is It
Talking Shapes is a fun way to learn that letters are actually just talking shapes. This is a great program for ages 4-5, or even more advanced 3 year olds, or struggling 6 year olds. Talking Shapes is an interactive computer learning game that can be played on any internet device. It is a series of 7 books about two sisters who invented the alphabet. Each book will introduce your child to new letters and the sounds they make. They will build new words with those sounds.
Ideally you would be able to use this on a touch screen computer, and your child would be able to draw each letter as they learned them. You are able to use a "regular" computer and your child can use the mouse, but they won't get the feel of writing the letter this way.
Within the 7 books in this series, you will find a full phonics curriculum for your preschool child.
How We Used It
Little Miss has been using this program as a summer phonics program, preparing her for her kindergarten year. We did not have a touch screen computer, so Little Miss used a mouse to write her letters. This was a little tough at first, but as she practiced, she got better at it and was happy to show me when she could trace the letters correctly. Little Miss spent some time each day working on this and I noticed her looking at letters in a while new way. I have even started seeing letters in a whole new way thanks to this program.
After we logged in Little Miss would be able to click on the book we were working on. This helped us see how much we had done and how much was left to do. Once in the book, we would work through the different chapters. Little Miss loved the games that were played as she learned about the different letters. It is not every day that you look at a butterfly and think of the letter B, but now we do!
Each lesson, we worked on earning 4 gold eggs. If you had an issue with one of the words, you would have to redo it to get that golden egg. After you completed your four words, you would move on to reading the words in sentences. This was also made into a game of clicking on the missing words.
At the end of each book, your child will go through an assessment to see what they can remember from all they have learned. No, this is not like a test and they won't even know that they are taking a test! It is just like the rest of their games and just as much fun!
What We Thought Of It
While we loved using this program, the loading time was a little slow on our computer. I would get it set up, let it load and then call Little Miss over to do her work. This did get a little frustrating, but we used this time to talk about patience and what a great virtue that is. We live in a "right now" era, and when something takes a minute, it bugs us. After learning about patience, we had no issues. This wasn't any crazy long wait, and never took more than 1 minute.
Little Miss was able to play on the computer and do her school. She loved the games and they kept her interested. There was no boring game, and none that were too hard for her. They were just the right amount of challenge with a great reward for completing each one. This was the perfect summer program for her, and I could see this being a great supplement for the preschool age to use for a whole year.
We were not the only family to spend time playing this program over the last six weeks, check out these other reviews and see what other families had to say while using this with their kids.