A Day At The Seaside
A Day at the Seaside is a spelling story tape for young children which should be used with a stereo system as mentioned previously. The detailed instructions included in the pack clearly explain how to set up the equipment, using the connection lead supplied. Side One of the tape contains the instructions for the story itself in software, and while the program is loading the user is treated to an explanatory commentary. This is particularly useful for a parent running through the program before using it with the child.
Side Two contains the story itself, A Day at the Seaside, which is read very clearly by a female voice. At specific points in the narrative, the child is asked to spell some words. The words can be introduced to the child before the program is used, using the flashcards provided in the package. Twenty words, such as 'beach ', 'sea ', 'crab' and 'pier' are clearly printed on one side of the card, while a writing tutor for the word is on the other. A parent or teacher can decided how to use these flashcards to best advantage before, during or after the story.
One very useful feature of the program is that, after the child has typed in the fifth word, there is an assessment of progress. If reasonable progress has been made, a further assessment and score is given after every other subsequent picture displayed on screen. If the child has made a lot of errors, however, the computer may advise the user to stop and do some preparation before starting again. In this case, the computer will empty its memory and refuse to continue. Another excellent feature is that the parent can alter the normal lower case spelling to upper case (capital letters) if required.
This program has been very well thought-out and is professionally presented. The sound is excellent and the speaker's voice is clear and pleasant to listen to. The music and sound effects contribute to the child's enjoyment of the whole. The five-year old who tested the program for me loved the story and was particularly amused by the humorous touches in it for instance the family forgetting to put the baby in their car when they set off for their day at the seaside.
My assistant was totally motivated to spell the words correctly so that the computer would show him the picture of the word, and allow him to continue with hearing the story. His final comment when we had completed the program was 'When can we do some more stories like that?' Faced with such an enthusiastic reaction, I highly recommend A Day at the Seaside for use both in the home and in schools.
Control keys: words to be typed in by the child. No need to use ENTER
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: simple, but bright and attractive
Graphics: clear and effective