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SuperKids Educational Software Review. The parents' and teachers' guide to educational software
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Typing Software Reviews

Read, Write & Type
by The Learning Company

For Ages 6 to 8

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

Reviewed on:
Children's Software Screen Shot PowerMac 6100/60 with 8MB and 2XCD
Pentium90 with 8MB and a 2XCD

Content
Read, Write & Type is a combination program, merging the teaching of phonics-based reading skills with an introduction to typing. How do you get 6 to 9 year-olds to sit still long enough to learn touch typing? Read, Write & Type approaches the challenge by rolling the requisite progressions and drills into a rescue story.

The plot is simple: Vexor the Virus (the bad guy) has stolen all the letters of the alphabet. The user needs to help the Storytellers rescue the letters, to enable them to tell their stories. Letters are rescued by correctly typing the letters which match the sounds that begin, are in the middle of, or at the end of words shown in small pictures. Simple, right? Not yet. First, the user must cross a playground by repeatedly typing letters or words as prompted by a pair of disembodied lips! Too many errors, and Vexor blows you back to the starting line.

After successfully rescuing a letter, the user goes to the Story Tree, where letters, phrases, and simple sentences are dictated, and must be repeated on the keyboard by the user.

Ease of Install / Use
Our reviewers reported no problems in installation or use of this program on Macs or PC's.

Methodology
"The plot successfully captured the initial interest of our kids reviewers," according to their parents. "But it didn't take long for them to recognize that this was a drill program that required lots of repetition before they could move on." Our typing teachers saw this as an unfortunate reality of the subject matter, "You have to practice, to learn to type." As a phonics program, Read, Write & Type does an "excellent job of building and practicing sound recognition and letter correllation," according to our teacher reviewer.

Proxy Parent Value
This is not "fire and forget" software -- software that your kids will rip the shrinkwrap off of, and disappear with for hours at a time. In fact, the directions suggest keeping lessons short (one or two letters at a sitting), and hovering nearby for the first 8-10 letters. We would agree.

Best for...
As a phonics program, Read, Write & Type is appropriate for 6 to 8 year-olds, possibly even 5 year-olds. The younger end of this age spectrum, however, had difficulty in our tests mastering the fine motor skills required for touch typing. Older children, motivated to learn to type, will find this program effective.

Bottom-Line
Read, Write & Type is a useful phonics program, even for children who lack the fine motor skills to master touch-typing.


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



Children's Software System Requirements


PC

Macintosh
Operating System Win 95 or Windows 3.1 or higher System 7.0.1 or higher
CPU Type and Speed 486 or faster 68030/25 or faster
Hard Drive Space 1.4 MB
Memory (RAM) 4 MB 4 MB
Graphics 256 color SVGA monitor 256 color monitor
CD-ROM Speed 2X 2X
Audio Windows compatible sound card n/a
Other Needs mouse n/a

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