GeoSafari Phonics Lab

By Drag, John, Jr. | MultiMedia Schools, March/April 2002 | Go to article overview

GeoSafari Phonics Lab


Drag, John, Jr., MultiMedia Schools


GeoSafari Phonics Lab

Company: Educational Insights, Inc., 18730 S. Wilmington Avenue, Rancho Dominguez, CA 90220; Phone: 800/ 995-4436; Fax: 800/995-0506; Web Site: http://www.educationalinsights. com/.

Description: The GeoSafari Phonics Lab is an electronic learning tool that uses lights, sounds, and music with interactive games to help students build reading readiness, alphabet, and phonics skills. The unit covers early reading skills such as recognizing and naming all of the letters of the alphabet, saying the alphabet in order from beginning to end, identifying the sound each letter makes, and learning to read and spell more than 500 three-letter words. Word cards and a reproducible book with sight word cards and assessments are included at no extra charge.

Audience: Grades Pre-K to 2; ages 3 and up.

Specifications: Phonics Lab is a brightly colored, heavy-duty plastic keypad with raised buttons, a speaker unit, and headphone jack. It is approximately 8 inches by 6 inches in size.

Price: $50-includes the Phonics Lab Learning Center, Instruction Guide, reproducible book that permits children to practice newly learned skills, and 20 two-sided word cards to reinforce familiarity with important word families.

System Requirements: Four AA batteries or EI-2642 Power Adapter (neither comes with the unit). Use of any adapter other than the EI-2642 will void the warranty.

Warranty: The unit comes with a 1-- year limited warranty. While under warranty, units will be serviced or replaced if sent to Educational Insights with prepaid postage and $3. If the limited warranty period is expired, Educational Insights will service a unit or replace it with a reconditioned unit for $12.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: None required, except the batteries. You will need a small Phillips screwdriver. Total set-up time: 3 minutes! Installation Rating: A+

Content/Features: Phonics Lab features seven games, ordered in terms of difficulty, beginning with "The Alphabet Song." In this learning activity, students hear the song and watch as each letter lights up.

Next is "Let's Learn the Alphabet." Here, students press letter buttons to learn each of the letters. As a button is pressed, the Lab lights the letter and the student hears the name of the letter. The game ends when all 26 letters have been pressed.

"Lights Out" allows students to identify letters as they are named aloud. Initially, all of the letters are lit up; the appropriate light goes out as the students correctly identify the selected letter. This game ends when all of the lights are out and the student has identified all of the letters of the alphabet.

In "Let's Learn the Sound Alphabet," students press the letter button of their choice. The Phonics Lab names the letter, pronounces its phonetic sound, and provides a word that begins with that letter. The game ends when all of the letters have been selected and the entire unit is lit. Note that the makers of Phonics Lab have programmed the unit to teach the sound most commonly associated with each letter.

The "Lights Out Sound Search" tests students on their ability to identify the phonetic sounds of the alphabet. The exercise starts with all of the lights lit. Students listen and identify the letter associated with the sound they hear. Correct answers cause the light of that letter to go out. The game is over when all of the lights are out. …

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