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Clifford the Big Red Dog: Phonics


Ages 3 to 6

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

Clifford the Big Red Dog: Phonics arrow indentSystem Requirements

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Play carnival games with Clifford the dog! Players collect prizes, which they can use to decorate a parade float. Featuring six main phonics-based activities with a carnival activity theme (riding the Ferris wheel, blowing up balloons, tightrope walking) and six shorter midway games (pick up ducks, spinning a wheel), Clifford Phonics creates a truly engaging and fun atmosphere for learning early reading skills.

Educational Value

Different carnival games promote letter and sound recognition, associating objects with words, word families, and rhyming. Players must recognize words and letters by sight to win the games. Some of the midway games need to allow the player more time to sound out the words before displaying the answer. The games begin at an easy level, and then progress to greater difficulty as the child plays.

Although the program's description claims that it boosts players’ creativity with an activity where kids’ can decorate a parade float using prizes they have collected playing the phonics games, this is a weak connection. Players can “stamp” pictures onto a blank object to decorate it. The creativity and original thinking involved in this activity is akin to filling in a coloring book. The true value in the float decorating activity is that it gives players a fun break from the phonics drill games, and keeps kids playing the reading games for a longer time. Collecting prizes that they can see and use also gives kids a tangible sense of accomplishment.

Clifford Phonics is a solid phonics drill game based on a theme bursting with kid appeal.

Kid Appeal

Kids who watch Clifford on PBS will really enjoy interacting with the TV show characters in a computer game. The game uses the same voices and personalities as the show. Ultimately, Clifford Phonics is a game filled with interactive phonics workbook drills, which can become repetitive (as workbooks do). However, the appeal of the carnival theme, the characters and the tangible rewards all help to keep a child playing longer.

Ease of Use / Install

Installation is very easy. All program instructions are oral and very clear. If a player does not follow the instructions, one of the Clifford characters will interrupt and remind the child of the directions.

Best for... / Bottom-Line

All children learn differently, and some early readers benefit from the phonics approach more than others. This is best for the average kindergartner or beginning first grader who is learning to read with phonics. It is intended for home use. You can expect that this game will keep your budding reader busy for that crucial 30 minutes before dinner.

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

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95, 98, Me, 2000, XP, Pentium II 266 MHz or faster cpu, 80 MB hard drive space, 64 MB RAM, 16-bit color display, 8X or faster CD-ROM, Windows-compatible sound card, .

Mac: System 8.6 or later, OS X, iMac/G3 233 MHz or faster cpu, 80 MB hard drive space, 64 MB RAM, 16-bit color display, 24X or faster CD-ROM, .

Reviewed on:
-     Pentium III - 750 running Windows Me, with 128MB RAM and 24x - CD-ROM
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