Reading Education: Best Software for Your Pre-k Child

It is essential; with this time of “No child left behind” for every parent to educate they’re child in basic reading skills. There are thousands of PC software games available, however pricing varies. Choosing the right educational CD-ROM software for your child is difficult if you don’t know which are the best to jump-start your child just beginning the journey into education. Here are five exceptional, educational software, perfect for your child’s developing education and is also fun for the parents too.


4-6 years old, for win 95/98 Mac Power PC scholastic.

Description: Clifford Reading is an early literacy program focusing on phonics, letter, and sound recognition. The game is centered on the lives of Emily Elizabeth and her big red dog Clifford as they explore Birdwell Island looking for adventures. The object of the game is to meet friends and to help them solve their word and letter problems. The player earns tickets that can be traded in for prizes. One game is with Clifford and Emily Elizabeth’s grouchy neighbors trying to clean out their garage. They have two boxes with letters on them, and a series of objects that starts with either letter. The player clicks on an object, and the player must place it in the appropriate letter coded box. Once the task is complete, a ticket is earned and the neighbors even begin to warm up to the big dog. Another game is with an artist who loves to paint pictures for Clifford.

The artist needs the player’s help in coming up with ideas for paintings, which Clifford will then pose for. The player writes two, three, or four letter words from what they learned earlier, and the artist will interpret them for her paintings. Once a certain amount of words have been created, the player earns a ticket. Emily Elizabeth’s room is utilized as a base of operations where the player can store prizes and books she or he earns. It is also where you can find the map of Birdwell Island and where the player can learn more about letters and sounds. There are letter tutorials, which explore the beginning and ending of consonant sounds, as well as beginning and middle vowel sounds. The child can select from an alphabet banner which letter she or he wants to learn more about. This also affects what letters will be explored in later adventures. The tutorials are simple and effective, using repetition of audio and visual cues to assist in learning the letter sounds.


For ages 9-12, grades 4-5, Windows 95/98/Mac

This CD-ROM represents a new twist in educational software and an innovative approach to learning. The main screen is colorful with a cartoon ocean loaded with fanciful islands. Kids can check out the twenty most interesting islands such as Soccer Island, Shark Island, Cheese Island, Monster Island, or Candy Cove as they tune up their reading comprehensive skills. Each island is cleverly loaded with activities that test child’s reading comprehension on a certain book they have selected. There’s a 10 question multiple choice test to take, an essay to complete, a fill in the blanks vocabulary builder, a domino’s game, and decoder game. Activities are provided for intermediate-levels books, which cover a wide variety of books from classical children’s literature to modern-day favorites. Kids can practice their test taking skills by using this program and learn how to review and retest for better test results. Software “must have” for teachers and parents. This program teaches children to develop important reading comprehension skills for 4th and 5th grade students.


For ages 3-6 years, Win 95/98 or Mac

The new Reader Rabbit Preschool is an animated adventure experience exploring the planet “Sparkalot” where the player joins Reader Rabbit in helping put the sparkle back in all kinds of objects that have lost their sparkle. The six activities areas within this adventure story; develop skills in basic numbers, letter and word identification and attribute identification. The child is introduced to the various activity areas on the planet “Sparkalot” where he or she can earn special gemstones that will eventually enable your child to bring the sparkle back to the stars. The child is free to choose which activity to start with and can easily move from one activity to another through the guide map of the planet. The program allows the player to stop anytime and when restarted will pick up where they left off. The program has three levels of difficulty that will scale up and down automatically to match the skill level of the user and provide a challenge to the child who gets better as they play the game. As with all Reader Rabbit programs, this one will track the progress of up to 99 children; which makes it useful for parents and teachers who want to know how the child is progressing. This is an exceptionally well-designed program from the learning company.


For ages 7-8, grades 2-3, Win 95/98/Power Mac

This is the most challenging Reading Blaster; kids 7-8 can put their heads together with the Blaster pals to solve a mystery.
The object of this game is to increase reading and grammar skills by heading to Islandia. It’s not paradise as children help foil the book-napping Mumblers who are about to leave the entire planet at a loss of words. The mission is to catch the cunning crooks and bag the books. This software is redesigned and it’s one of the best reading programs there is for kids ages 2-3. The games are great and are a big departure from the old Reader Blaster, which appealed to mostly boys than with girls. There are mega-mazes, puzzles, and activities loaded suspense such as the Volcano climb, where kids identify beginning word sounds as they try to climb a Volcano Drop, is clever fast-paced arcade-like game which involves identifying words in alphabetical order while encountering winding tunnels and dodging characters.

Once a child has mastered an area, he or she can try to find the hidden Mumbler character based on similar and pattern recognition skills. Children collect clues putting them together to find the missing Mumbler, who is disguised as in funny shades, tacky clothes, or strange shoes. This program is also equipped with special activities and programs. Kids can send Blaster-mail to and from a Blaster pal. It contains 25 storybooks. There are printable crosswords and word search puzzles. Fun-filled message boards with words and stickers. There is a special tracking program for teachers and parents to track child’s progress. Children can opt to learn “Smartpoints” as a reward system. It also has 200 lessons and 50 skills where children can master reading by playing the challenging activities which self-adjust to your child’s needs. Very highly recommended.


For ages 5-7, Win, Mac

Children brush up on their reading by playing challenging arcade-like and thinking games. This program is perfect for kid’s ages 5-7 years; Jumpstart Grade Reading is an entertaining educational program that teaches children vocabulary, phonics, and reading comprehension. The object of the game is to save the circus. The Amazine Mel, the mean magician has turned all the circus performers of the Big Top into picture puzzle. It’s up to the child to earn game tickets by playing carnival games and reading activities in order to find the 20 missing pieces and put the puzzle back together. Each time kids earn four tickets; they’ll visit the Lost & Found Wagon, where they’ll arrange the clue in the correct order. Once a clue is unscrambled, kids use a virtual flashlight and move the flashlight beam with the mouse to find the correct object that matches the clue. There is a Skill Notebook, which will pop periodically if the child needs extra help.

The notebook is well organized and targets potential learning problems. For example: if the child is showing difficulty understanding word blends, the notebook appears on the screen with a picture of a crab. It then proceeds to explain that a blend is made up of two consonants that are seen and heard together like the “cr” sound in the word crab. The main screen is of a carnival fairway, which kids can explore. There are many things your child can do and explore with sing-along-songs and pathways that lead to some of the best educational arcade I’ve ever seen. This CD-Rom has challenging content (3 skills levels). It has the ability to save games, and the Kid’s Tutor feature. This is a full content CD-Rom, which your child will never be bored with. Perfect for home or home schooling

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