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Child's play;Reviews;General;Primary

EASYPAGE. Porters Primary Software, 138a Harvey Clough Road, Sheffield S8 8PG for Acorn RISCOS and PC Windows95. Tel: 0114 258 2878E-mail: Three-computer licence pound;49.95+VAT Full site licence pound;75.95+VAT.

EasyPage is simple desktop publishing software for key stage 1. Children use the computer to draw a picture, write a story and put them together on a page along with a title and their name, and then print it out.

The story is written on the EasyPage story window, displayed in the large, easy-to-read font supplied or another of your choice. The picture window has a variety of on-screen tools for drawing, including a pencil, a brush (with three brush sizes and a spray), fill, outline and filled shapes, lines and text tool for writing on to the picture at any size. EasyPage can import files from a range of graphics formats, which can then be coloured using the fill tool. And pictures can be saved and printed separately.

The program's page window places the picture and story on a page and allows children to add a title and a name. A border can be put around the picture and there is a choice of page layouts. The completed page can then be saved, printed and read by the computer. The Windows version works in the same way, providing a consistent writing environment.

Where does EasyPage fit in? It is certainly far simpler than Granada Learning's Pages or SoftEase's TextEase, so it falls in the same category as BearWords2 from Eric International. But BearWords2 is just a little more sophisticated than EasyPage and offers a further developmental stage. It is an ideal way for young infants to get to grips with ICT and produce a pleasing page with the computer. For the teacher it offers a low-intervention, computer-based activity for reception or Year 1 - and that can't be bad.

Chris Drage is a teacher at John Betts primary school, west London

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