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Cosmic Reading Journey

Sunburst Communications Inc., 800-338-3457, Grades: 2-3 Teaches: Reading comprehension, parts of speech, vocabulary, spelling Platform: Win, Mac $89.95

This new, straightforward program provides reading comprehension exercises for 100 popular second and third grade books such as Caps for Sale, Blubber, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and Charlotte's Web. The selection of titles is good, but you should be aware that the books are not included in the price. Students first type their name, and then see a menu of titles. Once a title is selected, kids have seven options, including a 10-question multiple choice quiz, an essay-writing activity and an excellent crossword puzzle (with hints and typing clues). Other choices include a fillin-the-blank decoder puzzle, a fastpaced word sorting game called Moon Magnet, and Space Chase, a game dealing with synonyms and antonyms.

The excellent, easy-to-use teacher options let you customize the presentation for individual students. For example, you can require that certain students pass the comprehension quiz first with a specific percentage, before they may play the games. Other students can work toward a different percentage, or by-pass the quiz all together. Detailed records are kept for each student.

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