Getting a read on 'Adventure' Of Consuming Interest

May 06, 1998

"Let's Go Read! An Island Adventure" (Edmark Corp., 1997, $44.95) is a computer program for ages 4 to 6, using a variety of learning activities to engage beginning readers in the foundation skills needed for reading. Susan Rapp, a reading specialist and director of Village Reading Center in Columbia, assesses it.

Unique Features:

* Colorful, sequenced, interactive books that can be read to the child, read aloud by the child or printed out to save and read later.

* Speech recognition allows the child to read aloud and the computer listens or responds.

* Adult options include a "grow slide," which allows parents to program which sounds to practice.

The Benefits:

* Skills are well sequenced with opportunities for sufficient reinforcement.

* A variety of activities and adventures captures children's interest.

* Commands are relatively simple for very young children to use.

* Has an easy-to-follow user's guide.

* Provides additional educational activities and information for parents in the user's guide and on the CD-ROM.

* Informative Edmark Web site: www.edmark.com

The Downside:

* Requires 16 MB memory (RAM), high-quality microphone & 16-bit sound card for speech recognition.

* While you can set the program to exit an activity before completing it, you still must move through each consecutive activity not completed to reach more advanced ones, which may get boring unless your computer has good speed (90 MHz

Pentium or faster).

* There is an automatic technical support phone number for routine questions. But getting answers to more specific questions is a hassle.

Pub Date: 5/06/98

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