Early World of Learning

Article excerpt

Company: World Book, Inc., 233 North Michigan Ave., Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60601. Phone: (800) 975-3250; Internet: www.worldbookonline.com.

Price: Annual subscriptions begin at $199.

Audience: Preschool through early elementary school students.

Format: Web-based early language arts learning resource.

Minimum System Requirements: A computer with a current internet browser and an internet connection.

A printer will be useful for the classroom; headsets to control noise would be helpful. Most of the nursery rhymes, songs, and classic stories can be downloaded to an MP3 player and played independently of web access.

Description: Early World of Learning, the newest addition to the World Book Classroom series, focuses on preschool and early reading education. The online program supports educators as they help students build vocabulary, comprehension, phonics, and reading fluency.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation/Setup: No installation is needed for this online program. Users log in with a username and password. I had no difficulty accessing the site. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: The Early World of Learning homepage provides access to three interactive learning environments: Trek's Travels, Welcome to Reading, and Know It. Each section features many activities designed to reinforce and allow practice of reading skills.

The Trek's Travels homepage looks like a fantasy map with 11 themes represented by fun places. From the Welcome Center, students can travel to Color Castle, Number Geyser, Taste and Smell Kitchen, Places Oasis, Sound Circus, Moving Around Playground, Texture Desert, Opposite Island, Size City, Shape Jungle, and Time Tower. Each place offers stories, games, and videos.

The Welcome to Reading section includes 48 stories at four reading levels. All of the stories are matched to Lexile reading measurements; the range of levels can help teachers meet varied student needs. The Lexile-leveled material helps to place students with material that does not frustrate them as readers and fits their progress in building comprehension and fluency.

The stories can be played in audio versions or they can be read by students. Songs and rhymes are available for each story; the text is highlighted as the song is sung.

Games and activities are available to reinforce phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. Students can work on "concentration" activities, matching words with pictures or pictures with pictures. Phonics practice includes matching sounds by dragging a sound-alike picture into a labeled bucket. In other games, missing words are filled in and compound words are created by sliding words together. All of the games are great fun.

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The Trek's Travels and Welcome to Reading homepages provide access to a range of activities, including Story Corner, Games, Videos, Print & Do, and Sing-along.

The Story Corner features stories, nursery rhymes, and songs with read-aloud features. These resources can be downloaded in MP3 format and copied for use in a listening center or for students on-the-go. As learners listen to the stories on a computer, the words are highlighted as they are read. The reading voices are clear and expressive. …