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Review CornerSoftware
Language Adventure 1
Rating: four stars
The Bottom Line
This program does a good job of introducing and reinforcing foreign language vocabulary to children aged 6-12, and possibly younger than that (when set to a pre-reader level or observer mode).
 
Ages: 6-12   Subject: Foreign Language  Brand: Instinct
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
 
 
The Land Before Time Animated Preschool Adventure Product Overview
Language Adventure 1 helps children acquire any of its 6 featured languages — French, English, Spanish, German, Italian, and Japanese. Parents or teachers can select a language from this list as the the native language and the foreign language for each child.

The format is simple — children watch as a story unfolds before their eyes. The narration is mostly broken down into short phrases and is first spoken in the native language, then repeated twice in the selected foreign language. Children are then expected to use their microphone (not included) to repeat the phrases, which are then played back for them. These are accompanied by a visual reinforcement in the form of animations. The stories/lessons are sequential, each building upon the previous lesson. At certain points, children will encounter quiz exercises which effectively review the material just learned.

Composition exercises allow children to create their own animated sequences, and kids can record their own voices to narrate them. These sequences then become a part of the story, which is a reward in itself.

There are 3 levels of difficulty that can be chosen for each child at sign-in — Pre-Reader, Beginner, and Advanced. Additionally, there is an observer mode that can be enjoyed by younger children, and that does not require input. As such, younger siblings can benefit from the software as well.

Although children testers were initially confused by the interface, they adjusted quickly and enjoyed the program. The phrases learned are valuable ones, and kids seemed to absorb many important phrases. The animations helped to reinforce the words, phrases, and sentences learned, and kids particularly appreciated hearing their own voices played back as the animations were replayed.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements are Windows 95/98 or Windows NT 4.0, a Pentium 90 processor, 16 Mb RAM (32 Mb RAM recommended), and 4X CD ROM. A microphone is also required.

Skills Covered
foreign language learning, comprehension, oral expression

Educational Value
This program does a good job of teaching and strengthening foreign language skills. Lessons are sequential and are customizable.

Entertainment Value
The animations and story line are fairly interesting, although not as captivating as many of the other programs on the market. Still, kid testers were motivated to see the stories through to the end, which is the ultimate goal.

Design
Although the interface is not immediately intuitive, kids understood how to play the game relatively quickly. There are many options to help customize the game for each child/student.

Replayability
The program may not be as interesting as some others on the market, which does reduce the replay factor, but with some encouragement, kids can benefit from sticking with the program. The good range of difficulty levels makes it appropriate for families with many children of differing age groups and skill levels.

Dollar Value
Families looking for a nice addition to their foreign language software library will likely find this program quite valuable.

Released: 1998