This is a Learn to Read program prepared with the help of two specialists from the Centre for the Teaching of Reading, University of Reading. The booklet reflects this educational expertise, beginning with advice to the parents who may be dubious about the role - if any - that they should play in teaching their pre-school-aged child to read. Thankfully, the point is emphasised that the many children who show no desire to read at all before starting school should not be pressurised or coerced in any way - and reminds parents that gentle encouragement can spark off real enthusiasm.
Parents themselves are encouraged to use the program to give their children the concentrated practice they need to reinforce the new skills being acquired, and to follow up the playing of the game by directing the children towards writing activities.
All this and other sensible advice to parents is highly useful, for many parents are unsure exactly how to help and encourage their children before they start at school.
The Bodyswop program is made up of three main parts: 'look', 'spell' and 'boggle'. 'Look' demonstrates certain parts of the body - trunk, head, tail, leg ear, eye - and the player is given practice in word recognition, being required to press the appropriate key when a word is highlighted. In 'spell' the player must identify the part missing from the animal's body, and features a HELP option. If HELP has been selected, the choice of words is displayed on the screen, so that the child playing the game can see the correct spelling; without HELP, the words must be remembered.
'Boggle', which is similar to the traditional ' Beetle' game is probably the most enjoyable of the three games. The player has to create a ' boggle - an animal with a head, six legs, a tail, two eyes and two ears. Additionally, it has a one or two player option.
Daniel tended to present problems.
: mainly 'Press a key'Keyboard play
: very responsiveUse of colours
: bright and clearGraphics
: the animals are not particularly well representedGeneral Rating:
The 'Notes for Parents' in the package are very helpful indeed, and the program is probably as suitable for younger children as it is for the suggested age range.