SuperKids Educational Software Review. The parents' and teachers' guide to educational software
Contents Reviews Help
Reading Software Reviews

The Learning Company
Reader Rabbit's Interactive Reading Journey

For Ages 5-8

See also the
  • Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Reading Software,
  • Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions,
  • and
  • More recent SuperKids reviews of Reading software, including Interactive Reading Journey 2.

  • Reviewed on:
    Childrens Software Screen Shot PowerMac 6100/60 with 8MB and 2XCD
    Pentium90 with 8MB and a 2XCD

    Content
    Reading Journey is an ambitious program designed to teach reading through "the development of phonemic awareness, letter sounds, word families and sight words in a purposeful, contextual fashion." Or so said one of our teacher reviewers! What does that mean? It means that if you looking for a systematic, phonics-based reading program for your child, this is it.

    This entry in the Reader Rabbit series takes our character down the reading path through "Letter Land," a path littered with 40 sequenced storybooks of the genre familiar to those of us schooled before the advent of whole language programs. ("I see. I see Sam. Look, Sam! Look!") In addition to the basic reader books, the user must work through "skill house" games that teach basic encoding and decoding techniques (m + at = mat, h + at = hat).

    Ease of Install / Use
    Installation was simple on both the PC and the Mac. Operation on a PC requires that your display device be set at 256 colors. Both parents and kids found using the program intuitive, although the older children were frustrated by the structured pace of the program. The consumer manual was very good, and the teacher's manual excellent.

    Methodology
    The Reading Journey follows a controlled vocabulary approach to beginning reading instruction (i.e. there is a finite set of words used in each book, each used in a progression, with repetition). While favored by many phonics proponents, it is unlikely to be appealing to a whole language purist. Our view is that different children learn in different ways. With some, phonics is the superior approach, with others, whole language may be more successful. But in either case, a child's ability to read well ultimately will benefit from the decoding skills this program teaches.

    The program is purposely designed for school use in K-2, as well as at home use. Although our more experienced teacher reviewers felt Reading Journey contained "excellent" educational material, they felt it unlikely they they would consider building their reading curriculum around a software package. One thought it had excellent potential for home-schooling a beginning reader.

    Proxy Parent Value
    This is a strong education title, and is lighter on entertainment content than most comparable products. We tried it out with kids 4, 6, and 8 years-old, and none of them were captivated by the program. "I liked it at first because I liked the other Reader Rabbit's," said our 6 year-old. "But this one was boring." Our 8 year-old said, "I didn't see much point in the books. We don't read 'Look, Look' books in school. There are more interesting books than that." This program does not appear to be a good babysitter surrogate -- but that really is not its intent.

    Best for...
    Reading Journey is appropriate for a typical kindergartner. Advanced pre-schoolers would benefit, as would slower 2nd and perhaps remedial 3rd graders.

    Bottom-Line
    If you want a highly structured, phonics-based program, you've found it! But if you are looking for something the kids will go off and work on by themselves for an hour after dinner every night, you will probably be disappointed.

    See also the
  • Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Reading Software,
  • Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions,
  • and
  • More recent SuperKids reviews of Reading software, including Interactive Reading Journey 2.

  • Children's Software System Requirements
    PC:
    386/25 or better, 4 MB RAM, hard disk with 1 MB free, 256 color SVGA monitor or 16 color VGA monitor, 2X CD-ROM drive, DOS 5.0 or higher, Windows 3.1 or higher, Windows compatible sound card, mouse.


    Mac:
    Macintosh Color Classic or higher, 256 color display, 4 MB RAM, hard disk, 2X CD-ROM drive, System 7.0.1 or higher, mouse



    return to top of page




    ESI Apple Education Excite is a proud sponsor of SuperKids

    Go to: About SuperKids Educational Software Review Reviews / Contents / Sponsors / Help

    Questions or comments regarding this service? webmaster@superkids.com

    Copyright © 1996 Knowledge Share LLC All rights reserved.