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Children's Software Review :    JumpStart Phonics

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JumpStart Phonics Computer GameJumpStart Phonics is a busy program with plenty of things to do. Phonics activities for children ages 3 to 6 or 7 are the focus, and a speech recognition feature is available if parents want to turn it on.

Jumpstart Phonics Game - Picture/ScreenshotThe program combines instructed activities and free-play, exploration activities, which is helpful for children just learning to read. The setting is Camp Readalot, and JumpStart characters host the activities. 

Activities are multi-level, ranging from letter recognition and basic letter sounds on difficulty level one, to word building and sentences on level three.

Phonics game - spellingChildren can play the game using a traditional mouse interface or they can use a microphone to call out the answers. This is a good concept, but unfortunately voice recognition is an inconsistent technology, and it really isn't appropriate for children just learning to read. Kids might be calling out a correct answer, but the program may not be recognizing their responses. Fortunately, the game can be played in a traditional manner, and it works well without the voice recognition feature.

Our complaint with most JumpStart programs is that the focus is far too heavy on rewards, which serves as a distraction from learning. JumpStart Phonics is not as bad in this respect. Yes, there are plenty of rewards (kids earn merit badges), but they don't come too easily and they don't interrupt activities.

This program is strong because it features activities that both drill facts and allow kids to explore letters, words, and letter sounds.

Rating: A- 


[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Jumpstart Phonics at]

Jumpstart Phonics  


For Win 95/98/Me. Mac By: Knowledge Adventure Ages 3-7  


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