Reader Rabbit Rides Again
By Diane S. Kendall
If you are a Windows XP user you may be aware that many children's software titles, some of the classics, have been difficult, if not impossible, to install and use on Windows XP. Thanks to Encore Software, though, some of the best titles from the past have been recoded, made compatible, and updated and are now available for XP and Mac OS X users. So it is with Reader Rabbit Early Reading Learning System for 3-to-5 year olds and Reader Rabbit Reading Learning System for 4-to-7 year olds produced in conjunction with the originators of the Reader Rabbit line of software, The Learning Company.
After reviewing nearly 20 years of Reader Rabbit titles I find myself thinking about these two titles pretty much the same way I did their predecessors. For the money and for the young audience they are aimed at, they are probably the biggest bargain for your money offering all kinds of activities (50 different things to do in each of these packages) for these age groups. There is also enough variety here that all kinds of learners are sure to find something that will tickle them into an acquaintance with letters, number, phonics, an expanding vocabulary, rhyming and all the basics that can give them a head start or a chance to practice their mushrooming knowledge of letter sounds, vowels, sight words and beginning reading. And for $29.95 you also get in each package a CD full of games and worksheets that you can print out and use with your child off the computer, a set of alphabet stickers and flashcards, and a bonus music CD (playable on a CD player or a computer) featuring ten such ditties as "I Believe in B" and "Working in Wordville".
The main set of onscreen activities features Reader Rabbit and his friend Sam the Lion who host kids as they make their way through an interactive storybook with multiple places to click and explore and spots that branch out to games that introduce or reinforce various important skills and concepts. In the case of Early Reading these concepts include letter sounds, sounding out words, sorting and ordering, rhyming words, and learning about word families among other pre-reading skills. In Reading, things like phonics are emphasized as well as an introduction to common prefixes, suffixes, antonyms, and synonyms, vowel sounds, and breaking down syllables.
Bright colors, foot tapping music, easy navigation for non-readers and early readers alike, and a wealth of things to do and experience are just a few of the attractions of this software. Best of all, the upbeat spirit of Reader Rabbit and friends who urge kids to try everything and gently nudge them on even when they've made some mistakes live on in these newest additions to the Reader Rabbit series. Great titles to have around for a rainy day this summer or when it's just too hot to go out!
Reader Rabbit Early Reading Learning System
Reader Rabbit Reading Learning System
Mac OS 9 – OS X 10.2 and later
Windows 98/ME/2000/ XP SP1
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