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SuperKids Software Review - The Parent's and Teacher's Guide to Childrens' Software
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spacer all reviews > > > spanish software

Jump Start Spanish

Knowledge Adventure

Ages 3 to 6

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

Jump Start Spanish Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

This program is structured much like the otherJump Start series titles. Initially, Hopsalot Bunny welcomes kids into his interactive clubhouse, which doubles as the Main Menu for the program. From here, kids can journey with a click to any of the programís ten different activities. Each of these activities is designed to teach the child a set of vocabulary words and phrases, including: numbers, colors, body parts, household items, clothing, vehicles, days and months, and much more. An additional section introduces kids to traditional Spanish folk songs.

Educational Value
As one might expect considering the targeted user age, JumpStart Spanish makes little attempt to reach beyond simple noun identification. Included vocabulary is useful and easily identifiable by young learners, and some conversation is presented via animated puppet shows and directed questions.

Two levels of play add versatility to the program. Level 1 is an instructional/explore mode. It is in this mode that children are exposed to new vocabulary in a totally non-threatening manner. Each activity features a theme, and includes a variety of related vocabulary words. When the child clicks on an item, its name is spoken, first in the language being learned, and then (if instant translation is selected) in the instructional language. Optional word tags also appear.

The second level plays like a game. The child must identify vocabulary items as they are spoken. After a second faulty attempt, the specific object highlights, ensuring that the child will eventually succeed. Gold stars are collected as rewards (accompanied by cute animations), and five gold stars earns the student a new fish or accessory for his or her personal aquarium.

A Progress Report tracks which vocabulary words have been presented to the child in each section.

Kid Appeal
We received positive feedback from all testers of this program -- even those older than the specified age-range. Because of its simplicity, both in structure and use, it makes the often tedious chore of memorizing new vocabulary into a fun frolic. Both target and instructional languages are presented in clear, pleasant voices, and the program graphics and characters are top-rate. "My kindergartner was always talking about wanting to learn Spanish," commented one mother. "This program offers just the right mix of instruction and fun -- and sheís learned a lot!"

Ease of Use / Install
JumpStart Spanish installs easily on Windows 95 and 98. The user is offered two installation options, the Express install, and the Custom install. We chose the Express install, since the programís system requirements are not overwhelming.

Once installed, the user chooses whether s/he will be using the program to learn Spanish or English (for ESL students). Instruction can be provided in English, Spanish, German or French.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
This CD-ROM, although very limited in content, makes a nice introduction to second-language learning. Games are interesting enough to intrigue even older users trying to learn the vocabulary basics in a diverting manner.

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

System Requirements
PC: Windows 3.1, 3.11, Windows 95, 486DX 66 PC or higher, 5 MB available on hard drive, 8MB RAM, SVGA 256-color graphics adapter, Double-speed or faster CD-ROM, MPC-compatible sound card.

Mac: System 7.1 or higher, 68040 80 MHz or PowerPC processor or faster cpu, 5 MB hard drive space, 8 MB available RAM, 256-color graphics display, Double-speed or faster CD-ROM.

Reviewed on:

  • PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
  • Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD
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