Start To Read!, by School Zone Interactive
Posted: 26-May-2001

3 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: School Zone Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: John Gebhardt Class: EDUCATIONAL

Tested on iMac -DV 400mHz, 256 mb RAM

This software is designed to help young children (K-1 & 1-2) learn to read. It consists of two stories which read themselves, highlighting each word as it is spoken. The software also includes a story creation capability allowing kids to create both words and pictures for their own stories. As part of the story creating capability, there is a paint program with a selection of painting tools such as a pencil, a marking pen, a brush, chalk and two types of erasers. There is also an assortment of foreground and background clip art taken from the illustrations of the included stories.

My kids (6 and 8 years old) seemed to enjoy both of the stories included. They liked the fact that when clicking on certain objects within an illustration page, a brief entertaining animation would be initiated. They particularly liked the painting capability of the story creation tool kit. In fact, it was the painting that held their interest the longest. The story presentation was very good. The speech was very clear and correctly paced for young listeners.

The software installed easily and ran without bugs. The only operational problem was that when the software set the screen resolution to 640 x 480, it would change all of my pop-up windows back to normal windows and give the message that the "new screen resolution could not support the pop-up windows".

The software was somewhat limited in its scope. Only 2 stories are included (though I suppose it is possible more could be added by the developer). This product, alone, will not teach a child to read. It makes them familiar with words, both visually and audibly, but in order to truly improve upon reading skills, a child needs to pick up a book without the audio and read along with a parent.

Pros

  • Good audio, both voice and music
  • Good graphics for the target age groups
  • Fun, easy to use paint capability

Cons

  • Only two stories
  • By itself, not a practical tool to improve reading skills


Rating

3 out of 5 Mice