I’ve been teaching Pierce to read this summer, and when the Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Review Crew had the opportunity to review an app created for children around age four or five years called Talking Shapes: A Supplemental Curriculum for Early Literacy from Talking Fingers Inc., I had Pierce work on that as well. Pierce is four, five in October, and about to start Kindergarten. He knows all of the letters and their sounds so some of this was repetitive, but he still learned so much!
The app begins with the “ancient” story of Nat and Nan telling stories and wishing for a way to record them so they’d remember them. They then “created” letters to make words and the written language was born.
Talking Shapes is a series of seven apps containing seven “books” that each have a story, three spelling games, and then a reading game. They build sequentially on each other and one cannot move from one to the next without completing the one before it. Each book earns the child a trophy in bronze, silver, or gold, depending on their score. The games can be replayed to learn more and earn a better trophy, and there are assessment games after certain levels to assess progress. Clicking on the Owl Scholar on the home screen gives you the scores your child has earned on each book.
Pierce loved Talking Shapes. He made it through three of the “books” during the review and learned so much. He’s gotten so much better at sounding out words in his reading lessons as he’s gone along, and I think that’s due to playing on this app. Talking Shapes has them put the letters together as they sound out a word – say the first sound, second sound, those two sounds together, then the third sound. We’ve carried this over into his reading lessons because breaking it down like that has helped him greatly in knowing the word he’s reading. Pierce was thrilled with the bird… an owl, chicken, roadrunner, etc, depending on the book… that laid an egg with each correct answer. The little excited bird noises was pretty thrilling for him as he progressed and made the right choices.