Title: JumpStart Kindergarten Reading
Overall Rating: A+
Source: Knowledge Adventure http://www.adventure.com
Playing Time: Varies- Over 1 hour of material
Software Release Date: 1996
Cost: $17.95 Buy
Operating System: Windows
95/Windows 3.1 or 3.3 or Macintosh
Number of Players: 1 player
Special Equipment/Facilities Needed: None
Subject Area: Beginning Reading/Literacy
Objectives: Explicitly stated in manual: "Designed
to reinforce the skills that your child is learning in school. The colorful environments
and imaginative activities make learning fun" (p. 5). Students also progress
"through the ten steps necessary for kindergarten to build a reading foundation"
Brief Description: This is an excellent way for beginning
readers to gain experience with literacy skills such as: rhyming, vowels, phonics,
word building, consonants, consonant blends, letter recognition, matching upper
and lowercase letters, consonant digraphs, soft "c" sounds, and soft
"g" sounds. In addition, reading, writing, following directions, and
typing abilities are also enhanced. The game begins outside of a tree. This is
where you meet Mr. Hopsalot. He invites you into his house (the tree) where there
are a variety of activities that you can engage in. You can access different activities
by clicking on different portraits inside the house. Each activity takes the player
to a new location, where you are introduced to new characters, and can participate
in different games. Each game also has three different levels to choose from,
allowing students to challenge themselves after mastering the first level. Bright
graphics, sound effects, and music make this fun learning game even more attractive.
Entry Capabilities Required: Mouse manipulation only.
Relevance to objectives: (5) This
software meets each objective. This is a fun way for students to be continually
engaged in a variety of literacy activities. Each activity helps students to
"build a reading foundation" and prepare children for kindergarten.
Strong Points: This
is an excellent literacy program for beginning readers. Ten different litteracy
skills are addressed throughout the game. The game is fun and the different levels
for each activity allow students a more in-depth literacy experience. A progress
report keeps track of student's accomplishments, and is a great way for parents
and teachers to see what the child has learned and needs help on. The ease of
use allows small children to operate the software without constant assistance
from an adult. Sound effects, bright graphics, and an interactive background makes
this an exciting and entertaining game. I recommend this software for all beginning
Provides practice of relevant skills: (5)
The literacy skills taught by this software are relevant for all beginning readers.
This software would work well for the home environment, pre-schools, child care
centers, and even kindergarten and first grade classrooms. Each skill is taught
so that students understand exactly what is expected of them. Incorrect responses
are explained and hints are given by Mr. Hopsalot if the child is having difficulty.
Mr.Hopsalot will sound out words and give other useful reminders of the task.
Likely to arouse/maintain interest: (5)
This software has numerous activities, each with three different levels of difficulty.
Students can also click on objects in each different activity throughout the
game which can make other things happen, for example, make a band show up and
play a song. The bright colors and sound effects also add to the overall enjoyability
of the software.
Likely to be comprehended clearly: (5)
Throughout the game, Mr. Hopsalot explains everything that the player needs
to know to complete each activity. He gives directions and instructs the player
how to carry them out. Hints also allow for easier comprehension.
Technical quality (durable, attractive): (5)
This cd is durable and works on both Windows and Mac operating systems. The
relevent literacy activities and ease of use make this a very attractive item
for pre-school and kindergarten classrooms. I believe the graphics, colors,
sounds, and games would also be attractive for beginning readers.
Game: Winning dependent on player actions (rather than
chance): (5) Every activity
solely depends on the student's performance. The player is confronted with numerous
tasks and games that can only be solved by completion of the literacy activity.
Simulation: Validity of game model (realistic, accurate
depiction): (5) This software
accurately measures the ten different literacy skills that it says it will.
The simulations for each game draw the player in and make you want to successfuly
complete the task.
Evidence of effectiveness (e.g. field-test results):
(5) This software seems to be an effective method for teaching
and enhancing beginning readers' literacy skills. Due to a variety of literacy
skills being addressed, this software could easily be incorporated into a pre-school
or kindergarten classroom.
Clear directions for play: (5)
The directions are given throughout the game by Mr. Hopsalot. He tells the player
the what the task is and how to carry it out. He also provides assistance as
needed. Students do not need to access the manual at any point in the game;
everything they need to know will be addressed during the game.
Effectiveness of debriefing:
(5) Students are congratulated for correct answers. They are
provided useful hints and reminders when they select an incorrect answer, which
helps students better understand what each skill is all about. A progress report
is also available which allows students to reflect on what they have accomplished
(and also see areas that they need to work on).
Weak Points: There are
no negative aspects of this software.
Reviewer: Stacey Pennock
Position: Graduate Student
Date Reviewed: January 15, 2004
Computer System Reviewed on: Macintosh G4 450, 512