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SuperKids Software Review - The Parent's and Teacher's Guide to Childrens' Software
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spacer all reviews > > > learn to read software

Reading Detective Beginning

The Critical Thinking Co.

Ages 8 to 12

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

Reading Detective Beginning screen shot arrow indentSystem Requirements

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Reading Detective Beginning is arguably misnamed. From its title, one might think it would be an introductory learn-to-read program for beginners. A 'See Spot run' piece of work, to be used in conjunction with picture books. Far from it.

Reading Detective Beginning is an educational program that actually tackles the challenge of teaching reading comprehension. Covering topics like Reading for Evidence, Facts vs. Inferences, Defining Vocabulary using Context, Parts of a Story, Cause and Effect, and Prediction, Reading Detective Beginning explains concepts, provides examples, and then presents exercises to the student to practice what has been presented.

Educational Value

Reading Detective Beginning is a serious, classroom-caliber curriculum. It does an excellent job of explaining important reading concepts, and providing examples and challenges. The program content is perfectly appropriate for homeschooling use, as well as classrooms or computer labs.

The program will track multiple users, and has a variety of reporting options and administrative tools, that simplify use in a group setting.

Kid Appeal

Reading Detective Beginning is lightly cloaked in a game guise, wherein each of the exercises is called a 'case' for our budding detectives. And success in the exercises earns points and tokens that can be used to gain access to several simple arcade games in a section of the program. But the graphics are simplistic, and the games are lightweight, and ultimately not a strong driver for repeat usage. Completion of all 13 levels and 62 cases will probably require the direction of a teacher or other adult.

Ease of Use / Install

Reading Detective Beginning installed without difficulty on our test machines. The program has an optional introduction which can be skipped, and access to help on every screen. Program use and navigation was intuitive for our young testers.

Best for... / Bottom-Line

Reading Detective Beginning is one of the best programs we have seen for teaching reading comprehension skills. But successful completion of the program of study it contains, will require adult authority for all but the most driven young students.

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

System Requirements
PC: Windows 7/Vista/XP/2000/Me/NT/98, 200 MHz or faster cpu, 98 MB 64 MB RAM, 800x600 or higher resolution display, CD-ROM, sound card .

Mac: OS X (10.3+), PowerPC/Intel based Mac, 98 MB 128 MB RAM, 800x600 or higher resolution display, CD-ROM .

Reviewed on:
-     Pentium 4 - 3GHz running Windows XP, with 1GB RAM and 24x - CD-ROM
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