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[Note: this review is based on an earlier review of the same program when it was called Interactive Reading Journey 2.]
Each story is presented in a consistent manner: the theme is introduced by a narrator along with new words that will be used in the story; a page is read to the user (this default setting can be disabled); then the user is encouraged to read the same passage aloud and record it on the computer.
This requires that a microphone be set up on your computer. If you haven't yet added a mike, this program should be sufficient to drive you to do so, noted one of our parent reviewers.Clicking on a picture of an ear, the user can playback their recording, and compare it to the previously read version. "My daughter absolutely loved this feature," said one father. "And I was especially impressed by how she tried to mimic the voice inflection patterns in the story."
At the end of each story, the user is prompted to exercise what our educators regard as two crucial reading skills, reading comprehension, and story extrapolation. Reading comprehension is stimulated by the opportunity to answer a "Think Back" question, and record an answer. Story extrapolation is stimulated by a "Use your imagination" question. For example, "if you were a car like Buster, what sounds would you make?"
The 15 learning activities come in three categories. The first is a sound-sorter activity, where the user has to listen to a spoken word, then identify which of three labled containers to put it in, based on correctly identifying sounds with letters. The second activity is a rhyming challenge, where the user stacks rhyming words to build a giant "sub" sandwhich. The third activity is a syllable teaching drill, where the user learns that "sounds come together to make syllables, and syllables get together to make words."
Ease of use is a common stumbling block for many children's programs. Nothing kills a child's interest in a new program more than watching mom or dad studying a manual. Reader Rabbit's Rading 6-9 has a small user's guide, but our reviewers reported no need to open it to successfully use this program. (Our editors took a look, however, and report that it provides a brief educational overview as well as information on navigation within the program.)
For it's target user, this is the best reading program we have encountered.
PC: Windows 3.1/95/98, 486/66 or faster cpu, 30 MB hard drive space, 8 MB RAM , Super VGA (640x480x256 color) display, 2X or faster CD-ROM, Windows compliant sound device, mouse.return to top of page
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