23 February 2012

Funnix- A Review

As I mentioned in previous posts, we were able to snag Funnix during the two-week period this month they were giving it away.  Now that we've been using it for a couple weeks- Sydney is up to lesson sixteen, I think- I thought I'd review it for anyone considering paying the near forty bucks it costs normally.

Funnix is a computer program you download through the website via an emailed link.  The download itself can be a bit glitchy, and I had the best luck when I stopped trying to use Firefox and used IE instead.  The download comes with several parts.  You get the lessons themselves, of which there are one hundred and twenty, the workbook, the readers, and Funnix 2.  Obviously, as we're only up to lesson sixteen, my review doesn't cover the readers or the second part of the program.

I was initially hesitant to use a computer program to teach phonics, as we limit screen time pretty heavily around here, but it's not an animated, hyper freakshow like some other reading websites (I'm looking at you, Reading Eggs) and the vast majority of what you see are letters and still drawings with a voice-over giving instructions and asking questions.  The woman's voice isn't great, but I've heard much, much worse.  There are occasional places in the audio where the sound quality changes for several seconds, as if they had to rerecord some parts, but it's not too much of an annoyance.

You are going to want some kind of screen protector for your computer, because a big part of the exercises involve having the child touch different letters and pictures on the screen.  If your kid is more of a jabber than a toucher, you might want to find a different program.

The exercises themselves are simple and fun.  Your child will learn letter names, sounds, and blending simultaneously, so it doesn't have the soul-crushing monotony of some other programs.  The storytime segment is my daughter's favorite part.  The program reads a story accompanied by pictures, slowly sounding out the occasional word and asking Sydney what the word is.  

Each lesson ends with a worksheet which you have to print out from the pdf file.  The worksheets are fairly simple, and are a bit on the dull side, but nothing too terrible.  There is a writing component in each of them, but that's easily skipped if your child isn't quite there yet in fine motor skills.

Overall, it's a great program if you manage to get it for free.  Is it worthy almost forty bucks?  That, I'm not so sure about.  I could have bought two phonics programs in book form for the price I would have paid for this.  If your child has a good attention span and loves to snuggle, you'd probably be better off buying one of the many books out there, but if your kid has trouble staying engaged, this would probably be a great program to try.

Funnix Website

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Wendy said...

It sounds like you need a touch-screen computer for this??

Mergath said...

Nope, it doesn't actually DO anything when they touch the screen, it just helps them learn to blend.

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