A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this software for the Leapster handheld gaming system targeted at ages 4 to 6 is a fun way to introduce kids to early reading activities. Kids will learn about the alphabet, letter recognition, writing each letter, spelling using word families, rhyming, phonics, and other important early reading skills -- all in the context of games. Automatic help appears when kids are struggling and additional help is available by pushing the "Hint" button. This game will play on any of the Leapster systems.
What's it about?
Children can practice their early reading skills with Clifford in Leapster's CLIFFORD READING. When Clifford, a dog the size of a house, accidentally sneezes on Emily Elizabeth's favorite joke book, the pages scatter throughout Birdwell Island. Kids join Clifford and his doggy friends, Cleo and T-Bone, as they play five reading games to earn back the missing joke pages.
To earn a joke page, kids must play four rounds of any of the five games. There are 50 joke pages to collect; each time players earn one, Emily Elizabeth reads the joke out loud as the words highlight for the players. The games help kids ages 4 to 6 practice alphabetic knowledge, letter recognition, writing each letter, spelling using word families, rhyming, phonics, and other important early reading skills. The software monitors a child's progress, and automatically adjusts the difficulty of content depending on how the child is performing.
Is it any good?
Since children will be playing the same five games over and over again to earn jokes, the key to this title's success is the edu-tainment value. Kids get to pop balloons that have a requested letter, drag letters onto an easel to spell words, trace letters on the Leapster screen to fill a movie marquee, scan a store window to photograph specific objects, and direct Clifford through a maze of streets to find objects that rhyme. While clearly educational, the games are fun because of the interaction with Clifford and his friends.
Clifford Reading starts young children down the path to reading. The animations are clean, crisp, and charming. Kids will experience success because the software recognizes when a child is struggling and offers immediate help. And because the games automatically pick a level for the player, the content constantly changes and adjusts as the child learns.
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