We are reviewing a new online version of the phonics program Talking Shapes: A Supplemental Curriculum for Early Literacy app from Talking Fingers, Inc. Talking Shapes is recommended for preschool and kindergarten. I think it would be great for children a little bit older who are struggling. Evie (age 5 1/2) is going into Kindergarten this year and was very excited to be able to start school. She has wanted to be just like the big kids for a long time!!
Talking Shapes was designed by neuropsychologist, Dr. Jeannine Herron. These seven online stories introduce all phonemes and the coordinating letters. I’m impressed by the science and research that has gone into these books. Each facet of the story is created purposely to help teach your child to read.
Evie is child number 6 of 7 so we have a little experience teaching children to read. I was excited to try Talking Shapes. Some of my children seem to be born readers while others struggle so much. Evie is still working on letter recognition and the sounds that they make. I look forward to helping her through the process of learning to read.
We received a one year online subscription. I went to the website and signed Evie in. She clicked on the first book. The story was read to her and she got to do some reinforcement exercises. She traced the letters and learned the sounds, then slide the letters together to make words.
The screen above shows a portion of the book. It reads the words, then says “c” and the sound. It then directs the student to draw the “c”. We used a laptop with a mouse and it worked great. After tracing the “c” in all the boxes, the word “cat” comes up in the bottom 3 squares. Evie traced the first 2 letters and then was directed to slide those blocks together. They she traced the last one and slid them all together to form the word “cat”. She clicked the next sign at the bottom to continue.
We did experience some technical difficulty. Evie has access to an older PC with Windows Vista. Talking Shapes and Vista did not play nicely together. I believe it was because of a program it needed to run that Vista can no longer update. My laptop also runs on Vista (don’t judge, I love my laptop!!) so she couldn’t use that. The only other screen she has regular access to is my Kindle Fire and we couldn’t load Talking Shapes consistently on it. We let her use another laptop that has Windows 10 and this is where she was able to work through the books. We did experience some slow loading times, but once it loaded she was good to go. From my understanding, this is a brand new product and we are seeing it before it’s launch. Talking Fingers is working on getting these glitches taken care of to make the best product they can.
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