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Reading Software Reviews

Letís Go Read! An Island Adventure
from Edmark

For Ages 4 to 7

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Reading software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.


Reviewed on:
Letís Go Read! An Island Adventure Screen Shot PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD

Description
Letís Go Read! takes the user to Letter Island, where learning to read is a stimulating interactive adventure, and speech-recognition technology allows the computer to provide important feedback in addition to instruction and support.

A despondent Robby Raccoon fears that his family will lose their treehouse-home unless he learns to read. Fortunately, Emily Squirrel arrives in time to recommend a visit to Letter Island, the best place to achieve this goal. With the help of the Reading Rover, an airplane that is steered with verbal directions, and powered with word fuel, the duo travels to the island, where they encounter and, along with the user, come to the aid of each of the letters of the alphabet.

Let's Go Read! An Island Adventure stresses a balanced approach to reading instruction that combines both phonics and whole language activities. Each letter is individually introduced and studied through a series of explorational tasks. These tasks are identical in content for each letter, but appear different to the child because of the diverse situations and settings in which they take place.

Students are asked to mimic and identify letter sounds, discriminate between different letters, and piece together puzzles forming letter shapes. They must match correct audio-sounds to letters, and identify letter sounds as they are found in familiar words.

When the Reading Rover's fuel begins to run low, the student is asked to help with the refueling. Word-building skills must be enlisted to get the tank filled and the group on their way. Sentence-building skills are developed in a "billboards in the sky" activity, and early reading and language skills take center stage in the bookshelf section of the program. The child collects another book with each completed activity, beginning with simple text and progressing as the program is pursued and reading proficiency is acquired.

Educational Value
Letís Go Read! stresses the need for repetition and drill as an integral part of learning to read. Optional speech recognition technology, although not always as sensitive as one might hope, provides a unique learning opportunity that helps involve otherwise hesitant students. The inclusion of a library of printable books that progress in complexity with the student is made all the more attractive with the option to record each page as it is read by the user.

Kid Appeal
Colorful and attractive graphics, and engaging characters make Letís Go Read! a fun way for the young reader to learn. The package includes a kid-sized baseball cap to which a microphone is affixed as part of the speech recognition option. This "pilot's cap" was a real draw for our young reviewers, infusing them with enough interest to get launched in the adventure. Once they were involved, the program provided enough variety and rewards to keep them working with enthusiasm. "I quickly noticed an improvement in my daughter's understanding of letter sounds," was the comment of one parent reviewer, while another mentioned, "(My son) loves to record himself reading the books. It's a great way to get him to practice his reading skills."

Ease of Use
Use of the speech recognition technology requires installation of IBM Voice Type, a program that is included on the CD and includes testing and adjustment guidance. The optional use of this technology is somewhat tricky, requiring standard word pronunciation, and is therefore not recommended for children with speech anomalies.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Letís Go Read! is a delightful reading adventure that teaches and reinforces essential reading skills through a multitude of engaging activities.

Education 4.8/5.0 Kid Appeal 4.8/5.0 Ease of Use 4.5/5.0
5=Excellent, 4=Good, 3=OK, 2=Weak

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Reading software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.



Children's Software System Requirements


PC

Macintosh
Operating System Windows 3.1, Windows 95 (req'd for Speech Recognition) System 7.0.1 or higher
CPU Type and Speed 486/66 MHz (Pentium90 or better for speech recognition) 68030/25 MHz or faster, Power PC (for speech recognition)
Hard Drive Space 6MB Free (21MB for speech recognition) 6MB Free (13MB for speech recognition)
Memory (RAM) 8MB (16MB recommended) (16MB for speech recognition) 16MB (24MB for speech recognition)
Graphics SuperVGA graphics, 640x480, 256 or more colors 256 or more colors
CD-ROM Speed Double-speed Double-speed
Audio Windows-compatible sound card (16bit sound card with high-quality microphone input req'd for speech recognition)
Other Needs High quality microphone req'd for speech recognition High quality microphone req'd for speech recognition


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