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This early reading software takes kids to Camp Readalot. Here, accompanied by Camp Director Frankie, kids can experience the fun of summer camp as they pursue a variety of phonics activities and games and earn coveted merit badges. Armed with a microphone and the program's "Read 'n' Respond" speech recognition technology, user's can practice sounding out letters and words and receive immediate feedback on their progress.
The activities included in the program, although not terribly unique, do a good job of drilling kids in phonics, spelling and early reading skills. Our testers especially liked the River Raft 'explore' activity which lets kids combine letters to spell words that are then sounded out by Mount Rushmore-like JumpStart Character visages.
Adjusting the microphone is a bit of an accomplishment and may require some time. On more than one occasion we found that although the on-screen instructions told us that a signal adapter was needed to reduce the incoming volume, retrying with the microphone held a larger distance from the speaker's mouth was sufficient to get it working correctly.
Not surprisingly, our testers complained that the voice recognition technology was far from infallible. Voices were often heard incorrectly or not at all, and as the age of the user declined these mistakes grew in frequency. Fortunately, users can choose to point and click in lieu of enunciating, so that when kids grow weary of attempting to be understood they can use this back up method of communicating with the program.
PC: Windows 95/98, 100 MHz or faster cpu, 45 MB hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, (32 MB RAM recommended), 256-color or higher graphics display, 4x or faster CD-ROM, 16-bit windows-compatible sound card.return to top of page
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