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Review CornerSoftware
JumpStart Phonics Learning System
Rating: five stars
The Bottom Line
This multimedia package contains 4 high-quality CD-ROMs, 2 lovable and educational videos, a microphone, and 3 activity workbooks. The all-new JumpStart Phonics CD-ROM incorporates speech recognition technology into this highly educational — and fun — program, which helps develop verbal skills in addition to early reading basics. Excellent!
Award of Excellence
Ages: 3-8   Subject: Reading/Pre-reading/Spelling  Brand: Knowledge Adventure
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
JumpStart Phonics Learning System Product Overview
This package is designed to be a comprehensive and integrated multimedia approach to teaching children to read. It contains the following:
  • An all-new CD-ROM, JumpStart Phonics (see our review of this program), that incorporates JumpStart's Read 'n' Respond Technology.
  • JumpStart Learning Games Phonics CD-ROM (see our review of this program).
  • JumpStart Learning Games ABC's CD-ROM (see our review of this program).
  • JumpStart Learning Games Spelling CD-ROM (see our review of this program).
  • JumpStart Preschool video
  • JumpStart Kindergarten video
  • 3 Workbooks: Introduction to Reading (ages 3-4), Early Reading (ages 5-6), and Reading (ages 7-8).
  • A microphone that helps children learn to read through Voice Recognition Technology in the JumpStart Phonics software program.
The two videos JumpStart Preschool and JumpStart Kindergarten are based on the JumpStart Learning Games ABC's and JumpStart Learning Games Phonics software programs, respectively. These videos are very entertaining and help to introduce early learning concepts with fun story lines and outstanding songs. Both are approximately 30 minutes long and contain sequences that expose kids to phonetic sounds through music and animation.

JumpStart Phonics is an all-new software title that allows children to interact with their favorite JumpStart characters using voice recognition technology — kids can either use a traditional mouse interface or respond using the included microphone. This program is also sold separately, and we gave it a perfect 5-star rating. Its early reading lessons are superior and the activities are entertaining. There is a wonderful range of content and difficulty levels that kept our kid testers (aged 3, 5, and 6) busy and gently challenged.

JumpStart Learning Games ABC's CD-ROM is designed for kids aged 3-5 and received 4 stars from The Review Corner. Children solve the mystery of who spilled the juice in the caboose by playing 3 activities and watching educational music videos. This title focuses on letter recognition, letter sequencing, and explores both upper and lowercase letters.

JumpStart Learning Games Phonics CD-ROM is designed for kids aged 4-6 and received 3 1/2 stars from The Review Corner. This program can help to reinforce basic skills and focuses mainly on letter sounds, rhyming words, and upper- and lowercase letter matching. Kids solve the mystery of why the JumpStart school bus stopped through 3 activities. Players can also go to the Band Stand where they can sing along to adorable music videos.

JumpStart Learning Games Spelling CD-ROM is designed for children aged 5-8 and received 4 stars from The Review Corner. At sign-in, a grade level can be selected (Preschool, Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, or 3rd Grade). CJ the frog and his sidekick Edison host this prehistoric arcade adventure in which kids are exposed to 600+ spelling words through 10 levels of arcade action.

The activity books are 32 pages each and are divided into levels according to age: ages 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8. The lessons presented are structured and straightforward.

All of the products that make up JumpStart Phonics Learning were well-received by testers. Kids simply could not get enough of the videos and software titles!

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements for Windows 95/98: a Pentium 100, 16 Mb RAM (32 Mb recommended), and 4X CD ROM. Mac users require a Power Macintosh with 32 Mb RAM, System 7.5.3 or higher, and at least 4X CD ROM. A microphone is included, but optional.

The JumpStart games feature gorgeous cartoon-style graphics.

Skills Covered
letter recognition, sound recognition, beginning consonants, ending consonants, blends, digraphs, short vowel sounds, long vowel sounds, rhyming, word building, word recognition, spelling, sentence building

Educational Value
A tremendous amount of early reading skills are covered in the system's various software programs, videos, and workbooks. The software's Adaptive Learning Technology that automatically adjusts difficulty levels helps to keep children gently challenged.

Entertainment Value
The characters are charming and encouraging, the music is lively, and activities are enjoyable. Learning to read is fun with this package.

The software's activities have 3 levels of difficulty that adjust automatically based on a child's performance, but can also be adjusted manually. Navigation is easy.

This package is highly entertaining and boasts lots of content. It can be used by a number of children of varying ages (which is particularly nice for families with more than one young child).

Dollar Value
This multi-product package represents excellent value at $60-70 US. Note that the JumpStart Phonics CD-ROM sells separately for $20, and each of the 3 JumpStart Learning Games CD-ROMs retail for $10 each. This package contains 4 high-quality CD-ROMs, 2 lovable and educational videos, a microphone, and 3 activity workbooks.

Released: 1999