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SuperKids Software Review - The Parent's and Teacher's Guide to Childrens' Software
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Reader Rabbit's Reading 6-9

The Learning Company

ages 6 to 9

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

Reader Rabbit's Reading 6-9 Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

[Note: this review is based on an earlier review of the same program when it was called Interactive Reading Journey 2.]
For early readers, Reader Rabbit's Reading 6-9 is a 'must-have-it' program! Built on the model of The Learning Company's well-regarded earlier release for younger children, Reader Rabbit's Reading 6-9 utilizes a carefully sequenced learning progression. In this program, the user will progress steadily through 30 storybooks (each approximately 30 pages long), and 15 learning activities.

Each story is presented in a consistent manner: the theme is introduced by a narrator along with new words that will be used in the story; a page is read to the user (this default setting can be disabled); then the user is encouraged to read the same passage aloud and record it on the computer.

This requires that a microphone be set up on your computer. If you haven't yet added a mike, this program should be sufficient to drive you to do so, noted one of our parent reviewers.
Clicking on a picture of an ear, the user can playback their recording, and compare it to the previously read version. "My daughter absolutely loved this feature," said one father. "And I was especially impressed by how she tried to mimic the voice inflection patterns in the story."

Educational Value
The text progresses gradually from single sentence pages in the earliest levels, to short, multi-paragraph pages by the end. "I was truly amazed at my first-grade daughter's progress in just the first day, let alone the first week, using this program," the father noted in his review.

At the end of each story, the user is prompted to exercise what our educators regard as two crucial reading skills, reading comprehension, and story extrapolation. Reading comprehension is stimulated by the opportunity to answer a "Think Back" question, and record an answer. Story extrapolation is stimulated by a "Use your imagination" question. For example, "if you were a car like Buster, what sounds would you make?"

The 15 learning activities come in three categories. The first is a sound-sorter activity, where the user has to listen to a spoken word, then identify which of three labled containers to put it in, based on correctly identifying sounds with letters. The second activity is a rhyming challenge, where the user stacks rhyming words to build a giant "sub" sandwhich. The third activity is a syllable teaching drill, where the user learns that "sounds come together to make syllables, and syllables get together to make words."

Kid Appeal
Reader Rabbit's Reading 6-9 scored at the top end of this measure with our children reviewers. "She wanted to continue working with [the program] into dinnertime the first day, and well past her bedtime the rest of the week." noted one mother.

Ease of Use / Install
The program was quick and painless to install on both our PC and Mac test units. On the PC, the user simply has to confirm a drive and directory. On the Mac, it was even easier - simply click on the icon to run the program. Not counting the optional electronic registration, total installation time on either machine was less than one minute.

Ease of use is a common stumbling block for many children's programs. Nothing kills a child's interest in a new program more than watching mom or dad studying a manual. Reader Rabbit's Rading 6-9 has a small user's guide, but our reviewers reported no need to open it to successfully use this program. (Our editors took a look, however, and report that it provides a brief educational overview as well as information on navigation within the program.)

Best for... / Bottom-Line
This program is not for every 5 to 8 year-old. But it is very well suited for what might be described as a typical first-grader: a child who knows the alphabet and the sounds associated with each letter, can read simple words using a combination of decoding (or "sounding out") and sight recognition, and is interested in improving reading skills. If your child is just learning to recognize letters and the sounds they make, this program will be too difficult. If your child can already pick up and read a book that has more pages without pictures than with pictures, they're beyond this program. But for that crucial level in between, this is an exceptional program.

For it's target user, this is the best reading program we have encountered.

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

System Requirements
PC: Windows 3.1/95/98, 486/66 or faster cpu, 30 MB hard drive space, 8 MB RAM , Super VGA (640x480x256 color) display, 2X or faster CD-ROM, Windows compliant sound device, mouse.

Mac: 68040 or PowerMac, 25 MB hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, 256 color or better video display, 2X or faster CD-ROM drive.

Reviewed on:

  • PowerMac 6100/60 with 8MB and 2XCD
  • Pentium90 with 24MB and a 2XCD
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