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all reviews > > > writing software

## The Write Connections

#### Ages 2 to 8

 Rating Scale 5 = great,    1 = poor Educational Value 4.0 Kid Appeal 4.0 Ease of Use 5.0

System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

This simple program focuses on teaching kids the principles of handwriting. It features the amiable Tucker the Tiger, who greets children with a story about how he differs from other tigers. Instead of stripes, Tucker is covered with spots. Although he was once embarrassed about this unusual trait, he eventually learned that it is part of what makes him special.

When the time came to learn to write his name, Tucker had difficulty with the letter "k". Then he noticed that the spots on his leg made a perfect dot-to-dot "k". From then on, he used his spots as dot-to-dot patterns for writing all his letters and numbers, and he can help kids learn to write in the same way!

The program includes six main sections. The ABCs section leads kids through the alphabet, teaching them to write upper and lower case letters. A special window opens as each letter is selected. Tucker introduces the letter, which is accompanied by an animal whose name starts with that letter. The child is presented with three options: 'Sing', 'Learn' or 'Print'. The 'Sing' option shows a group of children (the virtual cubs) singing the ABC Song. The 'Learn' option shows how to correctly form the letter, and the 'Print' option generates a worksheet that drills the user on printing the letter. The 1-2-3s section is identical, but with numbers 1 - 10. A Colors section introduces the primary and secondary colors, and a Shapes section introduces simple shapes including heart, diamond, rectangle, square, circle and triangle. Finally, a worksheet section lets parents, teachers or kids create customized worksheets with personalized compositions to practice printing, and a games section lets kids complete mazes and matrixes, watch video clips, or color pictures of Tucker.

 Educational Value
There is really one best way to learn a skill like handwriting, and that is through practice. This program presents letters, numbers and more in a multimedia, multi-sensory manner, and gives kids plenty of opportunity to practice what they've observed. Tucker also manages to impart an important lesson about individuality in a honest and unassuming way.

 Kid Appeal
Despite the simplicity of this program -- much of what is included follows the same basic format -- our testers liked the program and gave it above-average ratings. Teachers noted that it makes a nice computer activity to supplement classroom teaching of handwriting and other early learning concepts. Tucker himself is not exceptionally attractive, but his sweet, humble presence makes him a winner with young kids.

 Ease of Use / Install
This program installs without difficulty. Program navigation and use are intuitive, the included manual is superfluous.

 Best for... / Bottom-Line
This low-key program does a nice job of presenting and drilling handwriting skills. It also generates worksheets used to practice and refine handwriting skills.

#### See SuperKids' comparisons with other writing software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.

 System Requirements
PC: Windows 95/98 & NT 4, IBM or 100% compatible PC, 166 MHz Pentium or faster processor, 3 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM, Monitor resolution of 640x480 or larger, display of thousands of colors or more, 6x or faster CD-ROM, 16-bit sound card.

Mac: System 7.5 or higher, 75 MHz Power PC or faster cpu, 5 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM, Monitor resolution of 640x480 or larger, display thousands of colors or more, 6x or faster CD-ROM

Reviewed on:

• Pentium266 with 64MB and 12XCD