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JumpStart Reading with Karaoke

Knowledge Adventure

Ages 4 to 7

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

JumpStart Reading with Karaoke screen shot arrow indentSystem Requirements

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JumpStart Reading with Karaoke is a phonics-based, learn to read program, somewhat similar to JumpStart Phonics, but with the addition of song. After signing in, users meet Val (a play on the acronym VAL, Knowledge Adventure's Voice Activated Learning system) in front of the Karaoke Clubhouse. This is where users will get to sing and record songs as a reward for progressing through a structured series of reading exercises and games on Hip-Hop Avenue.

Educational Value

JumpStart Reading with Karaoke starts with the basics - letters and sounds - and moves in a logical progression through phonograms and word families (e.g. cat, bat, mat, rat), letter blends and digraphs (e.g. tr and ck), sight words, and simple sentences. The program uses repetition, feedback, rhyming and rewards to reinforce the subject material through a series of 7-8 exercises and games repeated for each of 24 songs. All along the way, users are actively challenged to read, listen, speak and repeat new sounds and words.

Kid Appeal

Our young testers generally liked JumpStart Reading with Karaoke. They liked it's interactivity, short exercises and variety, and they loved listening to recordings of their own voices. However, some of them exhibited difficulty with the karaoke portion of the program, because the songs were previously unknown to them, and as beginning readers they could not easily follow along with the lyrics on the screen.

Ease of Use / Install

JumpStart Reading with Karaoke installed easily on our Windows XP test machines. After inserting the CD, we were confronted with one disconcerting warning message, telling us that DirectX 9.0 or higher was required to run this program -- which our computer already had in place. After that, we plugged in the microphone the program came with, and were ready to go.

Program use is linear, i.e. users progress through a series of 20+ lessons on a predetermined path. Along that path, program navigation is intuititive.

Best for... / Bottom-Line

JumpStart Reading with Karaoke is designed specifically for users just learning to read, and is an effective phonics-based tool for that purpose. That said, knowledge of the alphabet would be a helpful precursor for most users of this program, because it almost immediately jumps from letter sounds into simple word building. Kids who are intrigued with the idea of learning to read will get the most out of this program

See SuperKids' comparisons with other learn to read software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of this PC-only program.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 2000/XP, Pentium II 400MHz or faster cpu, 300 MB hard drive space, 128 MB RAM, DirectX 9.0 compatible video card with 32 MB memory, 24x or faster CD-ROM, DirectX-compatible full duplex sound card, DirectX 9.0, microphone (included).

Reviewed on:
-     Pentium 4 - 3.0 GHz running Windows XP, with 512 MB RAM and 24x - CD-ROM
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