My Personal Tutor
© 1997 Microsoft Corp.
Win 95, Win 3.1 (CD-ROM)
Teaches: Early reading, early math
While the quality of the activities in this bundle of four CDs ranges from outstanding to fair, and tutorial features are oversold (we expected, but did not find systematic, sequential teaching) considering the price, it's a good buy. One of our favorite CDs is Mathopolis (for 5-...
While the quality of the activities in this bundle of four CDs ranges from outstanding to fair, and tutorial features are oversold (we expected, but did not find systematic, sequential teaching) considering the price, it's a good buy. One of our favorite CDs is Mathopolis (for 5-7 year olds), a set of five fun arcade style games in which kids solve math problems to get a rocket launched. We also like Preschool Workshop, which features five solid activities where kids practice their logic and listening skills, for instance, by following directions to color shape pictures, or by dressing bears according to patterns. The other two CDs, Reader Railway and Alphabet Playhouse, have some good components, but are rather disjointed in approach. In each program, kids choose from five activities for each letter of the alphabet. While these games vary, there are approximately eight types: word creation, matching, sentence makers (fill in the blanks), concentration, music videos, storybooks, stickers, and story makers. Kids particularly enjoyed the music videos with their appealing music and graphics, and the concentration games. Our favorite game is the word making activity in Reader Railway, in which kids combine beginning, middle and ends of words to create their own. For all of the CDs, detailed records of kids' progress are kept. Also, when children are having trouble they get help from a little professor character who demonstrates concepts (kids were sometimes placed into the tutorial mode by accident, but generally this was a valuable feature). On the downside, the product suffers from non-interruptible instructions on two CDs, excessive verbal prompting, and, in spots, dry presentation (the story activities). Despite these weaknesses, our test families liked the programs and felt this was a worthwhile purchase. See My Personal Tutor 1st and 2nd Grade.