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Early Learning Software Reviews

Reader Rabbit's Kindergarten
from The Learning Company

For Ages 4 to 6

Also see SuperKids'


Reviewed on:
Children's Software Screen Shot Macintosh Performa 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD

Description
Featuring a "summer camp" theme, Reader Rabbit's Kindergarten is an entertaining, fully animated adventure in which the user must help friends Reader Rabbit and Mat the Mouse gather supplies for the campfire party at 'Camp Happy Tails'. As with the younger age titles in this series, to achieve this goal, the child must master 4 sequential levels of each of 4 skill-building activities.

Learning activities include: Number Lumber which is a counting and strategy game much like the ever popular (but occasionally despised) "Chutes and Ladders" game; Diner Lineup, in which the child helps camp chef Pierre organize his kitchen by arranging items based on one specific attribute--this activity exposes the child to basic mathematical concepts and relationships, while encouraging him or her to follow through with precise verbal instructions; Canoe Match, a memory game that builds prereading skills by using increasingly difficult matches including multiple items which must be remembered in a specific order; and the most unique activity, Get Your Bearings, which involves searching for an item that is hidden within a grid, given spatial and directional clues. As each activity is completed supplies needed for the campfire party are obtained.

Within each of the above sections of the program, users can find additional games, stories and projects that focus on socialization skills such as sharing and compromise, or understanding the world around us lessons such as 'seasons', and 'time'.

Upon completion of all the activities sections of the program, the user is rewarded with entertainment provided at the campfire party. Here, the lovable cast of characters gathers to sing, recite poetry and share stories. As an additional bonus, these songs and stories can be accessed by playing the CD in a standard audio CD player.

Ease of Install / Use
This program installed with a click of the mouse on our test Macintosh, and without difficulty on Windows 95.

The manual or "handbook" not only explains the program itself, which for the most part is easy to use and requires no explanation, but also provides insights into the educational bases for each included activity. Song lyrics can also be found in appendix.

Educational Value
Similar in concept to the many educational activity books available for young learners, Reader Rabbit's Kindergarten incorporates successful early reading, and math activities into a fun-filled storyline.

Kid Appeal
This program can be used with very little, if any, adult intervention. Graphics are large, clear and attractive, and the goal-oriented storyline is easy to follow and compelling. SuperKids reviewers were favorably impressed by the many animal characters included in the program, and were often observed giggling at and speaking to them. Activities are easily understood and complete, but become a bit tedious, and their repetitive nature may annoy the less patient player.

Best for... Bottom-line
With its engaging animation and structured yet entertaining activities, Reader Rabbit's Kindergarten is a good bet for the kindergarten-aged child with an interest in computer-based skill building and an adequate attention span.

Educational Value 5/5, Kid Appeal 4/5, Ease of Use 5/5

Also see SuperKids'


Children's Software System Requirements


PC

Macintosh
Operating System Windows 3.1, Win95 System 7.0.1 or higher
CPU Type and Speed 486/33 or faster (66 MHz recommended) 68040/25 or faster
Hard Drive Space 1 MB 1 MB
Memory (RAM) 8 MB 8 MB
Graphics 256-color SVGA 13" 256-color
CD-ROM Speed 2X 2X
Audio Windows-compatible sound card n/a
Other Needs mouse mouse

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