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spacer all reviews > > > reading software

Reading Blaster Ages 7-8

Knowledge Adventure

Ages 7 to 8

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
3.5
Kid Appeal
4.0
Ease of Use
4.5

Reading Blaster 7-8 Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

Reading Blaster Ages 7-8, part of the Blaster Learning Series, is designed to drill reading skills of students in the first and second grades. Best friends Max Blaster and his alien buddy G.C.'s contented lives are interrupted when Mumblers from the planet Nonsense invade, disguised as tourists. They're mixing up all the books so that people can no longer understand and enjoy them. Blaster, an avid reader, knows that this cannot be tolerated, and sets off to a stop to this literary disaster.

Kids participate in six activities that build reading skills and earn clues to the identities of the disguised Mumblers. Each time five clues have been accumulated, an opportunity to pick one Mumbler out of a line-up of almost identical tourists is presented. Here, students play an attributes game that allows them to eliminate tourists who fail to meet the criteria provided by the clues, and eventually zero in on the perpetrator. In all, 48 Mumblers must be identified to win the game and restore the books to their intelligible origins.

Educational Value
Reading Blaster Ages 7-8 includes six different learning activities with five distinct ability levels. Changing levels greatly influences the material covered in the activities.

Skills addressed by this program include phonics, word order, sentence construction, reading comprehension, syllables, spelling, following directions, logical thinking and attributes . Although many of the activities do require good hand-eye coordination and ‘fast-twitch muscle’ skills, activities are ultimately conquered via correct responses, and not good arcade skills.

In addition to the above mentioned activities, kids can visit a special venue to print certificates, read stories, print word search puzzles, compose Blaster messages, access "B(laster)-mail" and view a star chart of their accomplishments.

Kid Appeal
Our kid testers offered favorable, but not rave reviews of this program. The graphics are top-notch, and the characters agreeable. The included stories, although brief, are fairly compelling.

Students were impressed with the fact that not too many trials are required to get to the attributes game. "I don't like it when you have to play forever before you can use your clues," commented one 8 year-old tester.

Ease of Use / Install
Reading Blaster installs without difficulty. Our testers were dismayed, however, by the fact that a desktop icon is automatically placed on the user's computer for Knowledge Adventure's website, "Education.com", and the user can in no way prevent this from happening. SuperKids' Editorial Board agrees with this objection, and feels that this practice is more than an annoyance, it's an invasion.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Reading Blaster Ages 7-8 combines arcade-like fun with a variety of reading drills. It's not wildly unique, nor is it enormously appealing, but as an enjoyable way to help kids solidify their skills, it's quite adequate.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other reading software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and the Mac versions.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95/98, 133Mhz or faster cpu, 32 MB RAM, High Color 16-bit display, 12x or faster CD-ROM, Windows compatible sound card.

Mac: System 7.6.1 or higher, PowerPC 120 MHz or faster cpu, 12 MB RAM, Thousands of colors display, 12x or faster CD-ROM

Reviewed on:

  • Pentium 266 with 64 MB and 12XCD
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