The Product: Talking Shapes
Talking Shapes is an online literacy program aimed at those early learners who are just learning to read. It starts off with a cute story of two girls who want to be able to record their thoughts and activities. They realize that their mouths move every time they make a different sound, so they have an epiphany to make a symbol to stand for every sound.
Once a few sound-symbol correspondences have been introduced, the student starts decoding simple words into their sound components. For example, they are shown a picture, such as a cat. The girls are thinking of a few different picture symbols. The student has to determine the first, middle, and last sounds of the word and drag the appropriate picture symbol to the big white squares. They also learn to blend sounds as they join the sounds in the white boxes together.
My four-year-old daughter loved this program. We did it a few times a week during the last few weeks of summer break. Now that school has started for us, I have her do a little of the program 3-5 times a week right after literacy and phonics class. It is a great way to me to get a few minutes to sit down with my second-grader to teach and give instructions on his next subject.
I like the way Talking Shapes takes advantage of our brain’s affinity of remembering visual input. I really think that kids can connect with the concept and easily recall it: the letter C looks like a cat and also makes the same sound as the initial sound in cat.
I like how Talking Shapes incorporates all learning types: the student hears the sound, sees the picture/letter, and draws it.
I like how this program can be done fairly independently. It really gave my daughter a boost of confidence.
This program does require that your student or child have mouse skills or have the finger dexterity to learn them. They need to be able to click and drag, draw, and, navigate to the next activity.
If your child doesn’t have the required mouse skills or are very young, they may still benefit from Talking Shapes. You, the parent, can navigate the program and introduce them to the pictures, which will later develop into picture-letter-sound correspondences. I believe it is never too early to expose kids to a literacy-rich environment.
Have you tried Talking Shapes? I’d love to hear about your experience below in the comments.
Till Next Time,