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spacer all reviews > > > reading software

My Reading Coach

Mindplay

Ages 7 to adult

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
5.0
Kid Appeal
3.0
Ease of Use
4.5

My Reading Coach Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

Developed by veteran speech pathologist and reading specialist Jim Larrabee, My Reading Coach aspires to wipe out illiteracy and poor reading. Mr. Larrabee himself undertakes the roll of on-screen instructor, interacting with students in a series of virtual lessons, much like he would in an actual tutorial session. According to Larrabee, "People can learn to read and understand anything they can hear and understand." His goal, therefore, is to ". . .bring their reading level up to their vocabulary level. . ."

Educational Value
My Reading Coach does an admirable job of tackling the task of individualized reading instruction. The program initially tests the new user's current ability, then identifies gaps and provides instruction to fill these gaps. Progress is continually monitored, and instant feedback provided.

Each lesson includes an introduction, and 4 activity sessions: word building, listen and find, reading, and writing. The activities are brief, and specific, and as each activity is correctly completed, the student may move on to the next. Students progress one lesson at a time, but may tackle one lesson beyond the current lesson to avoid frustration if they've reached an impasse. Because the program is individualized, user's can choose to quit at any time, and pick up where they left off when they log in again.

In addition to the lessons themselves, the program provides users and administrators with a Performance Report, which lists the lesson, activity, time on task, status, percentage of mastery, and number of trials for each lesson as well as trial dates.

Kid Appeal
This program does not hold great appeal for young children. It is written in a mature tone, and will therefore appeal more to an older audience who does not want to be treated in a condescending or childish manner. When judged from this perspective, the program is of average appeal. No attempt is made to disguise the work at hand with fancy graphics or fast-twitch arcade games. Larrabee seems a likable fellow, with a professorial countenance and an encouraging smile. The lessons and activities are complete, yet brief, so that users need not dread a daily dose.

Ease of Use / Install
Installation of this program requires a number of system reboots, a process that is not difficult but can be time consuming. In addition to the program itself, users must install DirectX 6.0 and Microsoft Data Components both of which can be installed from the CD.

When running the program for the first time, users must first insert the floppy disk containing the Mindplay License Key. The Administrator (this can be a parent, teacher or the student) assigns a username and password to the disk. Each time the user logs on to the program, s/he must use the disk and the correct username and password. The user license is good for up to 100 hours or 365 days, whichever comes first. Finally the Administrator must also select a password which will be used when logging on to the program to monitor training performance. Our testers found that each of these steps, although again time consuming, was executed without difficulty.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
This program is aimed at the serious (and mature) student who seeks instruction in reading proficiency. With meager 'fun' appeal, it is not recommended for young children, but will work well with older, motivated students, who need remedial help.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other reading software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of this PC-only program.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95/98, Pentium processor, 60 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM, SVGA 16-bit color display, 8x or faster CD-ROM.

Reviewed on:

  • Pentium500 with 128MB and 12XCD
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