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Reader Rabbit's Complete Learn to Read System

The Learning Company

Ages 3 to 7

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

Reader Rabbit's Complete Learn to Read System Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

This comprehensive system for teaching reading to children ages three to seven, is similar to the well-known phonics systems sold on television. In this case, however, the user receives the added benefits of a visual, interactive computer program.

The Learning Company stresses that Reader Rabbit's Complete Learn to Read System is not intended to be a virtual babysitter. It relies on parent involvement for success. The system's goal is to offer a step-by-step teaching approach that helps kids master phonics and whole word skills as they develop reading confidence.

The Learn to Read System includes a fully animated "Learn to Read" CD-ROM featuring Reader Rabbit and his loyal sidekick, Mat the mouse. The storyline is centered around an amusement park, where the illiterate Mat is intimidated by the preponderant presence of the written word. In a fit of frustration, she wishes there were no words, a wish that is, unfortunately, granted. Mat immediately realizes the error of her ways, and spends the remainder of the story working, with the help of the user, to get the words back. Several reviewers commented on the similarity of the plot line to a 1988 movie starring Tom Hanks, Big.

In addition to the "Learn to Read" CD-ROM, the program includes a "Classic Tales" CD-ROM featuring "Jack and the Beanstalk" (from the previously released Reader Rabbit’s Reading Development Library Level 2), two sets of flash cards (alphabet and common words) and a helpful workbook companion. Seven paperback storybooks, featuring a nice mix of literature and artwork styles, complete the set.

Educational Value
Reader Rabbit's Complete Learn to Read System differs from traditional reading software in its desire to teach, as opposed to simply drill, reading skills. Children progress from letter recognition and letter sounds to phonics, words, sentences and eventually reading comprehension. In addition to stringing together phonics to build words, the program includes lists of sight words that must be learned and practiced by young readers. Because the program is meant to be an introduction to reading, vowels are taught using only the short vowel sound. Children who have already mastered the basics of reading are encouraged to move on to more advanced reading software (for example, Reader Rabbit's Reading 6 - 9).

Kid Appeal
As with other Reader Rabbit products, program graphics and animation are excellent and the story is well-developed and enjoyable.

Our child testers enjoyed the flashcards, workbook and storybooks, and parents mentioned that, although these peripherals would not greatly influence their purchase of reading software, they do make nice extras. The workbook contains a nice variety of print activities including some that focus on letter sounds and others that encourage users to practice letter transcription, and the easy-to-read storybooks make great extracurricular entertainment while encouraging kids to practice newly-developed skills.

Ease of Use / Install
This program installed without a problem on our test machines.

An explicit facilitation guide provides parents with instruction on use of the product, options for customizing the program, and a section filled with fun reading games and activities. The guide also includes a helpful "Reading Readiness Tool"--a qualitative assessment tool to be used by parents before commencing with the System.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Although the software component of Reader Rabbit's Complete Learn to Read System can be used as a stand-alone for young children who need to practice their reading skills, it is designed to be used as part of a complete system to be used by parents and educators to teach young children to read. If you plan on working closely with your child, this is an excellent program. However, if you honestly know you won't be able to make the time to work together with your child, you should consider one of two earlier products in this series: Reader Rabbit's Reading Ages 4-6 (reviewed as Reader Rabbit's Interactive Reading Journey), or Reader Rabbit's Reading 6-9.

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

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

Mac: System 7.1 or higher, 60 MHz PowerPC, 20 MB hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, 13' monitor with 256-color display, Double-speed or faster CD-ROM.

Reviewed on:

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