Davidson's "Blaster" educational software titles have been favorites of kids, parents and teachers for over a decade. Kids just can't resist the invitation for adventure extended by the Blaster Pals, Blasternaut, Galactic Commander and Spot. And these characters have made learning math and reading a blast for millions of children worldwide in both home and school.
The newest in the "Blaster" series is "Reading Blaster(TM) 2000," designed to build critical reading skills for children ages 6 to 9. "Reading Blaster 2000" picks up where "Reading Blaster Jr." (ages 4 to 7) leaves off, providing progressive challenges in reading comprehension, vocabulary building and phonics.
"With `Reading Blaster 2000,' children will build critical reading and vocabulary skills, while also developing a lifelong love of reading. These are skills that will influence their success in the 21st century," said Jan Davidson, president and founder of Davidson & Associates, Inc. "At the same time, children will have so much fun, making their own commercials, playing arcade-style games against their friends or the computer, and creating personalized books."
Meet Your Hosts and Let's Start Learning!
Tune into "Reading Blaster 2000" and meet Ike & Rita Cuecard, your hosts for the popular Challenge of the Reading Gladiators! You and the Blaster Pals join forces in this space-age game show to complete six activities covering phonics, vocabulary and reading comprehension. Over 2,000 words, nine levels of difficulty and 100 pages of printable adventure stories challenge readers and move them along on the road to reading success. Numerous bonus rounds and reward certificates for star performers ensure that children will play Reading Blaster 2000 over and over again.
Children choose the character they'd like to be -- Blasternaut, Spot or Galactic Commander -- then prepare for reading challenges in:
Word Zapper -- Children complete words by protecting certain letters from falling meteors, filling in the blanks with the correct letters. The challenge gets more exciting as the child's skill improves -- the words increase in difficulty, and the meteors fall faster and faster! Players learn to build words based on phonic sounds and spelling rules in this fast-paced challenge.
Media Madness -- Players build bigger vocabulary and deeper reading comprehension skills, using a mix of media including sound, images and text. For example, kids pair the images of a stick of butter and wings to form the word "butterfly."
Get A Clue -- Kids read for understanding as they follow clues to determine which member of the studio audience is hiding the key to the Puzzle Room. This game helps kids develop analytical skills such as drawing conclusions and reading for detail.
Puzzle Room -- Players solve word puzzles by using their reading skills to beat the clock. This is a great way for young readers to explore relationships and similarities between words.
The Commercial Studio -- Kids put their creativity to work by developing their own zany commercials. They'll select the product they're advertising and its name, and choose from a variety of graphic backgrounds and musical scores.
By then selecting the copy that best describes or persuades, players learn more about sentence structure. They'll be delighted when their commercial appears later in the game.
The Reward -- Choose Your Own Adventure in "Cliffhanger" Books
As they complete each game, children earn enough points to add the next exciting chapter in their own interactive storybooks. In each of these chapters, players choose the direction they want the story to take, and each decision will lead to a different conclusion. These "branching books" build children's curiosity and motivate them to read more.
Says Davidson, "In usability testing, we found that kids loved to determine the direction of the story at the end of each chapter. We designed this part of the game to encourage them to play more and more, improving each time -- they have to learn their chapters by reading well and advancing through the game."
Lots of Extras to Help Children Become Successful Readers
Outstanding features and benefits of "Reading Blaster 2000" include:
* Three distinct areas of focus: reading comprehension, vocabulary and phonics.
* Progressively challenging activities and nine different learning levels -- the computer tracks the child's progress and automatically advances them as their skills improve.
* A kit to print the adventure stories presented in the program. Children can practice reading away from the computer and enjoy sharing the experience with family and friends. Children can print the pages from these books as often as they'd like.
* Parent options to track a child's progress and select which reading skill to emphasize.
* Two modes of play: the directed sequence mode allows children to build their reading skills progressively, while the free-play mode allows children to learn through exploration and discovery.
* Parents Tips that offer suggestions for learning opportunities away from the computer.
* Certificates of accomplishment from the hosts of the game show reinforce a job well done.
* One- and two-player modes, so children can play with their friends or against the computer.
* Great music and sound effects to add to the learning experience.
"Reading Blaster 2000" is immediately available at most major computer stores, mass merchant chains and toy stores nationwide. The Windows 95/Windows 3.l/Macintosh CD-ROM is expected to be priced at approximately $35. The software will include toll-free technical support, available from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time every business day. Customers can call (800) 545-7677 for sales and ordering information.
System requirements for "Reading Blaster 2000" are:
Macintosh CD-ROM: A Macintosh 68040 series (33 MHz or faster recommended); System 7.1 or higher; 256 colors; 12 MB of RAM with 8 MB available; and a double-speed CD-ROM drive.
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