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Thinking Skills is an electronic workbook that challenges preschool children to organize information and solve problems that require following oral instructions, sequencing, matching, pattern recognition, relationships, and analogies. Colorful onscreen workbook pages ask the user to put objects in the correct order, match them with their proper associates, or use them to complete sentences.
In Thinking Skills, the user attempts to answer the problems on two pages, and then is rewarded (whether right or wrong) with one of three arcade games: one similar to the old "Space Invaders" game, and another a variant of "Pac-man". Our young tester found all three games to be dexterity challenging.
The user's progress in the workbook is measured on-screen with a map of dog footprints that allow easy return to missed problems, and with a printable report card. Users who successfully complete all the problems are also rewarded with a printable, personalized certificate.
Thinking Skills provides a broad selection -- some might say a loose collection -- of thinking skills drill problems for preschool children. Although identical to the problems in the included conventional paper workbook, the computer version has the advantages of audio instructions and instant feedback (including positive reinforcement). Some parents and teachers may question the relative balance of time the program assigns to reward activities (arcade games) versus workbook drills.
SuperKids' young reviewer for this program told us that the worksheets were "kind of fun". And we could tell that the arcade games were even more warmly received.
The program installed without difficulty on our Windows 98 test machine. In addition to the challenging hand-eye coordination required by two of the arcade games, our review team reported only one other concern about usability. After a new user signs on to use the program (an exercise that for almost all preschoolers will require parental help), he or she is greeted with several minutes of verbal instructions that are far too long for a preschooler to comprehend or remember. Actual usage is obvious, but the introductory instructions were overwhelming to a young user.
Thinking Skills is a solid choice for parents or preschool teachers looking for worksheet drills in this somewhat amorphous subject matter.
PC: Windows 95/98, Pentium 166 MHz or faster cpu, 50 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM, 640x480 16-bit color display, 4x or faster CD-ROM, 16-bit sound card .return to top of page
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