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spacer all reviews > > > math software

Reader Rabbit's Math 6-9

The Learning Company

Ages 6 to 9

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

Reader Rabbitís Math Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

Subtitled "Adventure on Pirate Island," Reader Rabbit's Math 6-9 begins as Reader Rabbit reluctantly joins his pal Sam the Lion who has entered his dilapidated sailboat in a race. With no rudder and a motley sail, the twosome quickly begins to trail the other racers. Sam suggests a shortcut, which leads them into unknown territory. As if that isnít bad enough, a tremendous storm ensues, shipwrecking them on Pirate Island. As the two begin to despair, Penelope the Parrot, an island inhabitant, comes to their aid. She encourages Sam to build a new boat, using parts that have been hidden around the island.

Users accompany Sam and Penelope as they comb the island, completing nine math activities and earning boat parts. Some activities are not initially accessible, but appear once basic activities have been completed. A printable certificate, awarded following each completed activity, also lists the userís earned points total, and gives him or her ever increasing nautical status.

Naturally an island bearing the name "Pirate" includes its share of the seaworthy thieves. In this case they also happen to be rats who fear that Sam and Reader are present to steal their cheese. They have a secret plan to keep our heroes from building their boat and leaving the island, and they will stop at nothing to ensure its success!

Educational Value
Each of the nine activities focuses on a specific math skill learned in Grades 1 through 3. These skills include addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, money handling, telling time, fractions, early geometry, place value, number lines and patterns and inequalities. Although none of the activities actually teach the student the highlighted skill, some concretely illustrate the concept in real-world situations. Users count bananas in clusters of one hundred and bunches of ten, or separate them into individual fruits using addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and place value skills. Time telling is used as students move the hands of a clock to trick a pirate sentry into believing he is off duty. Fractions come into play when pizzas must be divided and topped to feed a hungry horde of monkeys. And geometry is made easy when kids are given a graph and asked to replicate a given geometrical figures to make a sail for the new boat.

Kid Appeal
Although this program received positive feedback from our child reviewers, many felt that the adventure itself was uninspired. They faulted the main characters, who lack charisma, and the on-going intrigue, which fails to enrapt.

The nine featured activities do an adequate job of covering basic math skills in an interesting fashion. Of note is "Fishing for Numbers," in which the child uses the keyboard arrow keys to move a swimming Sam along a river. Sam must catch appropriately numbered fish (while avoiding those with inappropriate numbers) in an attempt to complete a "fish equation." One 3rd-grade reviewer summed it up: "It took practice to get the hang of moving Sam around, but then it was really fun!"

In addition to the story content and math activities, users can visit the pirate hideout where swarthy rodents sing pirate songs, an option that appealed, in particular, to our younger testers.

Ease of Use / Install
This program installs easily on Windows 95. The included Userís Manual thoroughly explains the activities and how they are played.

As is often the case, this program mixes basic math skills activities with fast-paced arcade activities. Fortunately, the creators had the foresight to include 3 arcade difficulty-levels, making the action more accessible for novice gamers. Even so, younger students will initially require adult guidance. In addition, six educational skill levels automatically adjust to let the program grow with the student and his or her skills.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Despite the lackluster storyline, this program includes a variety of activities to strengthen the young studentís math skills. It is recommended for kids who like pirates themes, and those who need arcade-like activities to keep them motivated.

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

System Requirements
PC: Windows 3.1 or higher, 486DX/66 MHz or faster cpu, 20 MB hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, 256-color SVGA display, Quad-speed or faster CD-ROM, Windows-compatible sound card.

Mac: System 7.1 or higher, Power PC, 66MHz or faster cpu, 20 MB hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, 256-color display, Quad-speed or faster CD-ROM.

Reviewed on:

  • PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
  • Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD
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