Reading with software Of consuming interest

July 05, 1998

Arthur's Reading Race, Broderbund Co., $29.95

While many early-learning software programs teach young children how to read by introducing the skills needed for decoding words, Arthur's Reading Race is designed to expose young children to text while reinforcing the reading of sight words, even before they've learned their ABC's. According to Jason Lippe, general manager at Learningsmith in Columbia, many companies are beginning to develop educational programs that capture children's interest because they are based upon characters the children already know. As a result, children will stay with the program and play it longer.

The benefits

* Involves the well-known TV and book characters Arthur and his sister D.W.

* Has good animation and enunciation.

* Develops word recognition and increases vocabulary.

* Has three games, which are simple to use and interesting for young children.

* Teaches sentence structure through "Let Me Write" activity.

* Includes 14 other living books (such as the Berenstain Bears books) which are read aloud, animated and provide some interaction.

* Less expensive than more complex programs.

* Motivates children to want to learn to read.

The drawbacks

* Does not include printouts of stories or progress reports for parents.

* Provides only one story adventure.

* Does not teach the names or the sounds of the letters.

Overall

I would definitely recommend this program as an enjoyable first learning tool that enables young children to acquire computer literacy while gaining educational benefits. However, it does not provide as many skill lessons and diverse activities as some of the broader, more expensive programs.

-- Reviewed by Susan Rapp, Village Reading Center

Pub Date: 7/05/98

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