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Software Review:    Reading Explorer Deluxe

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This package includes two learn-to-read software titles: I Want to Read! for ages 3-5, and Now I'm Reading! for ages 5-7.

Reading Explorer Deluxe looks very promising, at first. Its animated guides are a great big polar bear and a little penguin, and the setting is winter. The graphics are quite lovely and cute, but beware: this program has some serious flaws that make playing the games a painful process for many young kids!

First off, the activities presented could have been very worthwhile if the program as a whole wasn't so slow-moving. The polar bear guide not only speaks slowly and excessively, kids are unable to bypass most of the chatter. Instructions for each activity are long and drawn-out, which may help kids who need detailed help, but other children will be squirming in their seats, or scrambling to find the quit icon.

Smart features are here and commendable -- when a child is doing well, the program moves him or her up a notch, for example. There are also three difficulty levels to choose from. 

The activities have a lot of potential: kids find the odd one out, learn alphabetic order, find objects that begin with a given letter sound, find rhyming words, enjoy storybooks, and more. Printable worksheets and progress reports are available. Kids patient enough to sit through the game will get a chance to develop skills with lowercase letters, phonics, and more. However, although many kids can sit and watch a video without complaint, when they are playing a computer game, they want far more control than this software allows.

  • For patient children, the activities and graphics are good.
  • Smart features and multiple difficulty levels.
  • Age-appropriate content.


  • Painfully long instructions and feedback that can't seem to be bypassed seriously hamper the program's educational and entertainment value.
  • Slow-moving.



For Win/Mac By: DK Multimedia    Ages 3-7 Published: 2001


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Buy Reading Explorer Deluxe   is $

 Reviewed January 2002                                                                                                    Comments? Email us.

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