Jump Start

Reading for Kindergartners

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Type of Product
Jump Start Reading for Kindergartners, by Knowledge Adventure, is a children's game that teaches verbal and written reading skills using interactive computer games, oral phonics lessons, and written workbook activities. Price: $19.95. Knowledge Adventure has a variety of programs that are entertaining and provide age-appropriate activities for children to extend and reinforce basic skills such as reading and math. Knowledge Adventure Web site is http://www.knowledgeadventure.com/home JumpStart Web site is http://www.jumpstart.com
User Level

The program is specifically designed for kindergartners or ages 4-6. The reading lessons are organized according to the actual curriculum a child would have in kindergarten. The program teaches 10 fundamental concepts that are important for reading success and are the same skills taught in a full year of classroom instruction:

    1. Learn the letters.
    2. Recognize upper- and lowercase letters.
    3. Match sounds with letters.
    4. Sort sounds into vowels and consonants
    5. Combine letters to make sounds.
    6. Associate letter sounds with vocabulary.
    7. Review and reinforce skills.
    8. Combine letter groups into sounds.
    9. Build words.
    10. Build sentences.
    • 7 Skill-Building Activities
    • 6 Phonics Practice Activities
    • Multiple Difficulty Levels
    • 350 Phonics Vocabulary Lessons
    • 6 Sing-and-Learn Songs
    • Parent's Progress Report

The program is easy to install. There is a demo of the program, as well as information on other products. There is a nifty colorable and printable workbook to use along with the CD. In this program, children join Hopsalot the Rabbit in a search for clues to find a treasure buried in the carrot patch. Children start in Mr. Hopsalot's bunny burrow. There are a variety of clickable objects. There are six clickable portraits on the book shelf that tell you about Mr. Hopsalot's family and friends. You can visit these individuals, who live in different fun-filled locations, and engage in a variety of activities. Every activity reinforces the skills your child is learning at school, and each activity begins with a game of cleanup that reinforces phonics skills. Below are some of the activities in the program and the accompanying concepts that can be learned.

Mr. Hopsalot's Burrow--Mr. Hopsalot's burrow is a fun place. Click on a pillow that will play an alphabet song and review the letters of the alphabet. (Letter shapes and recognition.)

Grandpa--Grandpa lives in crocodile country. Visit Grandpa in the Bayou and help his pet egret, Einstein, navigate his way across the swamp to deliver mail to Grandpa. Mr. Hopsalot displays a letter on a sign and you click on the letters on the rocks, lilypads, alligators, turtles and logs in the swamp that match the letter on the sign. At higher levels, players will be asked to match upper- and lowercase letters, and to distinguish between letters that are commonly confused, including b, d, and p. (Practice matching upper and lower case letters.)

Grandma--Granny lives in the North and coaches a hockey team made up of penguins. Take to the ice with Granny and her plucky penguins for a nice ice hockey game. A letter appears on the scoreboard, and at the same time, a hockey puck glides across the ice with a word on it. If the word on the puck begins with, ends with, or contains the letter on the scoreboard, click on the puck or on the penguin player and watch him score. There are three levels in this activity: Level 1, match the letter on the scoreboard with the first letter in the word on the puck; Level 2, match the letter on the scoreboard with the last letter in the word; and Level 3, match the consonant blend with the blend in the word. (Learn consonants & blends by picking the beginning letters and letter-blends of words.)

Sister Gracie--Gracie lives in the Southwest. Visit sister Gracie for a fiesta! If you match enough vowel sounds, the pinata will burst open and spill goodies everywhere. A letter appears on the pinata. If the letter is a vowel, you click on the pinata or on Gracie and if you get it right, you get the goodies. You need to smash all of the pinatas for a clue. There are three levels in this activity: Level 1, identify vowels; Level 2, identify short vowel sounds; and Level 3, identify long vowel sounds. ( Practice identifying vowels, distinguish vowels from consonants, and learn long and short vowel sounds.)

Cousin Romulus--Cousin Romulus lives on a farm. Mosey over to a cow dance and try to match the letters on the signs to see the cows do a merry "moo-galoo!" The cows are lined up, each with a card that has a part of a word printed on it. Two cows will dance to the front of the line. When they meet, Mr. Hopsalot will sound out the letters, asking you to repeat them. If the letters form a real word, you can click on the dancing cows sign and watch them dance. There are three levels in this activity: Level 1, the cows form three-letter words; Level , the cows form words with the soft C and soft G sounds; and Level 3, the cows form words with digraphs. (Sound out letters phonetically, recognize digraphs, and distinguish between hard and soft Gs and Cs.)

Cousin Flash--Cousin Flash lives at the beach. Go to the beach and help cousin Flash win the big surf race. An erupting volcano spews forth a cloud with a word in it. In a canoe in the water is a group of Toucans wearing head-dresses with a letter on each head-dress. You need to spell out the word in the cloud for Flash to advance in the race. An incorrect letter makes Flash stay in place while another surfer advances. There are three levels in this activity: Level 1, clouds have three-letter words; Level 2, clouds have four-letter words; and Level 3, clouds have three- and four-letter words, each missing one letter. (Word building.)

Bebop--Bebop, Mr. Hopsalot's jazz-loving hamster friend, lives in the Big City and plays a mean horn. Visit Bebop and help him write songs by finding the rhyming words he needs. Bebop reads the first line of a song and asks what rhymes with the last word of the line. You click on a picture with the correct rhyming word on it. If you are correct, Bebop plays a riff for you. If wrong, you hear a sour note. There are three levels in this activity: Level 1, choose from two picture options; Level 2, choose from three picture options; and Level 3, choose from four picture options. (Sentence building, rhyming, reading, and listening skills.)

Carrot Patch--At the end of every activity you complete successfully, you'll be rewarded with a clue. Use the clues to dig up the treasure that is hidden in the carrot patch. (The clues review all foundational reading skills and using the clues to discover the treasure chest teaches phonic skills.)

Knowledge Adventure tracks your child's advancement through the program, and the levels of each activity will automatically increase or decrease depending on your child's success. You have access to a Progress Report for feedback. You can print this report. If more than one child is using the program, you can have Progress Reports printed for each child.

Personal Comments
Knowledge Adventure does an excellent job of combining fun-filled activities with reading concepts and skills. The animation is eye-catching; there are bright play areas; toe-tapping music to sing along with; and action-packed activities. We tried it out on our four and six year old reviewers and they loved it. The four year old needed more hand holding than the older child, but had no problem with the program.
Other Goodies
The addition of a printable and colorable workbook is a plus. There is a Table of Contents for the 32 page book, and you can select any or all of the chapters to print, with even a quiz and answer section. The book is designed for parents who wish to help their child with beginning reading skills so you work through it together.

The Help feature, viewed through your browser, is also well-thought out and includes a variety of information from songs, to questions and answers, to descriptions of the activities.
System Requirements
Operating System: Windows 95
Processor: 486DX2/66 MHz or faster
Hard Drive: 15MB
Memory: 16MB for Windows 95-98 (8MB for Windows 3.1/3.11)
CD ROM: Quad-speed
Graphics Requirements: SVGA 256 color

Graphics: DeMorgan WebSpice 1,000,000 Page Design Edition
Web Page Editor: Symantec Visual Page