Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Webber HearBuilder Phonological Awareness - Home Edition

Webber HearBuilder Phonological Awareness - Home Edition

Spring 2011 Software
Ages: 4 - 11 yrs.
Price: $69.95

Most educational software designed for classroom use does not translate well for home use-despite the best efforts by classroom software manufacturers to convince parents that it does. One reason is because classroom software is typically created expecting that a teacher will be looking over the student's shoulder and lending a hand. Another reason is that, in this day of truly incredible videogames, classroom software pales in comparison with the graphics, animation and attention-grabbing standards that the industry has evolved in recent years. So, as a rule, classroom software doesn't translate at home and it's almost always overpriced compared even to the most popular videogames.

"Webber Hearbuilder Phonological Awareness" and, as a parent, you already know this software is all about listening "really well," as the animated cartoon band members tell you at the beginning. Each activity you finish brings on a new band member, with the goal being to create an entire band that's ready to rock! Cool? Not really. Click the "Sentence Segmentation" lesson and you're suddenly listening to differentiate phrases with one word from those with two. In "Syllable Blending," on-screen characters pronounce a word in its syllables and players identify the word spoken normally between it and another totally different word. Yawn. The "Syllable Segmentation" drill wants players to choose between spoken words that have two syllables verses words with one syllable.

While this program may help very young students improve their phonological awareness and auditory processing skills, and increase their awareness of words, syllables and phonemes, it'll be best under a teacher's watchful eye. Despite the home-edition moniker, this software is best to the classroom.

Don Oldenburg   ©2011 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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Super Duper Publications

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