Bone up on basics

14th November 1997 at 00:00
JUMP AHEAD YEAR 1. Random House. CD-Rom for Multimedia PC and Apple Mac, Pounds 29.99 from software suppliers.

this is part of a series supporting the curriculum in primary schools and is designed to expand core skills in maths, reading, listening, music and art.

Previous discs have been very successful and this one is certainly good value as it is packed with activities. The maths modules are strong, with games to support an understanding of money, simple fractions and telling the time. I especially enjoyed a game where children have to dole out appropriate amounts of food to children in the dinner queue in fractions, with unlikely combinations such as a quarter of a plate of strawberries, half a plate of asparagus and quarter of a plate of ice-cream.

However, I was less impressed with the reading modules, which centred on stories read to the children, with answers at the end to test their comprehension. If you get the answers wrong, there is no opportunity to have another go. The type was too small and the text often too complicated for beginner readers.

Many of the stories were in rhyme, which does help, but a line is highlighted as it is read, rather than a word. Since many of the stories were quite long and the reading was quite fast, some children are likely to get lost. I even found some spelling mistakes.

As they work through the activities, the children are rewarded for their progress by winning milk caps, which they can use to play a game. Each child's progress can be monitored by a system which allows individual log-ins.

Jump Ahead also comes with a pack of teacher materials to support the series, a welcome addition for busy teachers. The Year 1 materials support the activities on the disc and are clear and well thought out. There is also guidance for parents so that they are supported in working with their children to consolidate learning away from the computer.

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