The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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Chatty Kids Review by Jennifer King

5 Blackfriars Street
Chippendale, Sydney 2008
Phone: 1 300 971 464

I had never heard of Chatty Kids before this review came along but with four children ranging in age from two to twelve, all with very different needs when it comes to so many things, I am always looking for something that will encourage them to read and foster a love for learning at the same time. With a variety of tools available, this is a program that was designed by actual teachers, to help any and every child in their learning. This can be used on a mobile, a tablet or computer.

Chatty Kids was created by Ken Taggart to ensure that his own children learned how to read well. This program provides lots of great courses which help to build a strong foundation in: phonics, sight words, comprehension, vocabulary and fluency. There are a variety of books and videos to help children grow a love of reading. They even deliver monthly assessments, so you can see detailed progress and any areas of difficulty as you go along.

My daughter (who is six) used this mostly; since she is just beginning to read, we started her out with the Reading Foundation Course. This included colors, shapes, the alphabet, numbers and more over a period of six weeks. Each lesson included a short “story” which was read to her via embedded video (her favorite reader was Ken Taggart himself - she loved the accent!) Included in the class is a downloadable workbook with fun worksheets to help with letter recognition. We had fun using them, after we cut them out and laminated them, for a variety of games to help her remember the letters and the sounds they make. There was also the amazing Mr Thorne who has a wealth of fun and funny videos to help teach the letters of the alphabets. My daughter has really struggled for some time with her letters and sounds but this has helped her a bunch! She is reading now using a number of fabulous phonics readers. 🙂

My younger son (who is seven) loves to read although he does struggle quite a bit. We chose to use the Level 1 course for him. Many of the books in this level offer video as an option, to listen to the story being read to you, but my son preferred to read these aloud with me. He also loves science and animals, so he was so happy to find that there were many books to choose from (some he had read to him) so he could keep reading when I couldn’t read with him. Shipwrecks, animals, robots, different places around the world. There are so many good books on here! Each book has a page called Supporting the Learner, at the end, which offers suggestions to enhance comprehension and ensure learning is taking place. There were even some recommended activities listed.

With my oldest son (he is twelve and hates to read) he enjoyed listening to some of the books that were of lower level.  He spent quite a bit of time learning about extreme journeys, animals that suck, robots and lots of other really neat things. I also encouraged him to spend some time on here reading out loud to myself or his siblings using the books that were higher level. He spent quite a bit of time in a category entitled In The Wild. This is full of books that cover every animal imaginable. Funny fish, hairy caterpillars, disappearing sharks, horns and all kinds of other stuff! A treasure trove for any creature lover.

There are thousands of levelled books for kids to choose from on this site, many which also offer teacher videos and worksheets. I was really impressed with the variety of books that are available on here! And getting started is so easy because there are a ton of tools for you as a parent to help get you on the right path. I just love the variety of materials available on this site; from recording videos to being read to, to reading to someone else, there are plenty of great tools available here to make your child someone who loves to read! Maybe it is just a coincidence, but I like to think that this is what really helped my daughter start reading too!

-Product review by Jennifer King, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2018