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Review CornerSoftware
Alphabet Express
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
This program is a colorful and fun introduction to the letters of the alphabet. It is filled with tried-and-true activities that preschoolers love, including coloring pages, mazes, dot-to-dots, and more.
 
Ages: 3-6  Subject: ???????  Brand: School Zone Interactive
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
 
 
image Product Overview
This program is a fun basic game that introduces children to the letters of the alphabet. There are a lot of activities that stem from each letter of the alphabet.

Kids sign in and can listen to an alphabet song, go to an activities screen featuring a number of fun games, or choose a letter of the alphabet (from the screen pictured at right) and do activities featuring the chosen letter. Using the letter "Mm" as an example, the activities are as follows:

  • From a colorful and busy screen, choose objects that begin with the featured letter. Only those items are clickable -- for example, the "Mm" screen has a carnival midway theme, and clickable items to find include the moon, milk, and a merry-go-round.
  • Choose the paintbrush icon and do one of 3 printable coloring screens: Kids can choose colors to paint the pictures on-screen, or print them out and use real crayons. One screen features the letter in uppercase and lowercase, as well as an object/animal that starts with the letter. Another screen is the busy scene mentioned above (in the case of M, the carnival midway screen), and the last is a handwriting practice page that even shows the arrows on the letters that indicate the proper handwriting stroke order.
  • Select the firedog icon to play an activity in which children must choose between 3 pictures to decide which one goes with the letter. For the letter M, kids might choose between pictures of a boat, xylophone, and the moon.
The other activity screen features excellent dot-to-dot games (using the letters of the alphabet, of course) which animate when completed, some cute mazes (one of which is pictured at left) that require children to identify the beginning letters of various objects that are blocking the path, a really fun find the letters game, and a place to watch videos.

The voices are clear and crisp, and the simple animations that feature the letters alone are excellent for reinforcing the individual shapes of the alphabet.

Of particular interest to parents who want to give their children extra practice in writing letters is the fact that there is a page for each individual letter of the alphabet for practicing handwriting that can be printed out. School Zone are the "original workbook company", and these pages are workbook-style. The alligator icon is always present to get some help in the form of verbal directions.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements are Windows 95/98, a 486 DX-66, 16 Mb RAM, and 2X CD ROM. Mac users require a 68040 or faster with 8 Mb RAM, System 7.1 or higher, and at least 2X CD ROM.

Skills Covered
uppercase and lowercase letter recognition, alphabetic order, first letters of words.

Educational Value
This program playfully introduces and reinforces letters of the alphabet to young children.

Entertainment Value
The music is fun and upbeat and the train theme should be well-received by most preschoolers. The activities are classic favorites.

Design
Most kids will easily navigate the program. Help is always a click away -- kids need only click on the alligator icon.

Replayability
The activities are basic favorites for most young children so they should return to the program often.

Dollar Value
The program goes for $34.95 US.

Released: 1997