A taste for verbs

Scally's World of Verbs

PC CD-Rom with handbook, storybook, Intellikeys keyboard overlay for literacy activities for ages 3-10

Topologika Software, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 8LR

Tel: 01326 377771

Web: www.topologika.com

Price: pound;39.95 (single user); pound;59.95 five-user; pound;119.85

unlimited site licence

Pam Turnbull is ICT co-ordinator at The Heys Primary School, Tameside

Fitness for purpose *****

Ease of use *****

Features *****

Quality *****

Value for money ****

They say what goes around comes around... Just as we hear that Podd is about to embark on his comeback tour next month, Topologika pip him at the post with Scally's World of Verbs.

This is a bulging package with CD-Rom, handbook, cross-curricular links, storybook (also available on CD-Rom) and the music for Scally's catchy song, plus flashcards and an Intellikeys overlay. All of which are very nicely produced and finished and you'll find more extras on the disc and the website. The storybook is suitable for children with a reading age of seven to eight (and the program will read it to them), while the World of Verbs can be used from pre-school onwards.

For those of you not teaching in the Eighties, Podd was a blob who would try to do what a child typed into the computer. It was simple but effective and Scally has taken this concept and flown with it.

You are initially presented with a range of user profiles - not the most user-friendly approach - but in essence these are selections of the 422 verbs available. You may opt for the present-tense verbs in the MacArthur Vocab list or access the relevant verbs from the National Literacy Strategy for Reception to Year 5. You can edit any of these to suit your children or create a totally new one.

Once set up, children can choose between five activities: Watch and Say, Click and Watch, Watch and Click, Watch and Write or Write and Watch. For example, in Watch and Say Scally animates and the verb is displayed and read in a sentence, with or without a symbol - you decide. The same verbs are used in the other activities which allows children to build their comprehension, reading, writing and spelling skills.

A control pad and password option screen allow teachers to decide when sentences will be read, which verbs you want a child to access, which letters are missing in the writing activities and so on. The end result is a beautiful program which children enjoy and which can be configured easily to meet their needs.

Pam Turnbull

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