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2007 Notable Computer Software for Children

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Link to Past Notable Children's Computer Software Lists



Bookworm Adventures. PopCap Games. Windows. Rated E for Everyone.
A graphic-novel type opening sequence starts the story of Lex, the bookworm, whose mission is to save the Great Library by traveling through various islands and defeating the bosses at the end of each chapter.   Children role play, fight mythological monsters, level-up, and earn potions and treasures by spelling out lengthy words.   Given only a palette of letters in a 4x4 grid, players spell out words to the best of their ability.  Lengthy words, words with metallic qualities, and with X, Y and Z in them, offer kids special challenges to wordplay.   This second installment of Bookworm rewards the wordsmith and brings together gaming, education, and family fun with original music and exciting graphics. Disk is not required to run. 

Bookworm Deluxe. PopCap Games. Windows and Mac. Educational. All ages.
Bookworm Deluxe is fun and family-friendly. This interactive game is visually inviting and has strong educational value. The learning challenges range from spelling and typing to special recognition. The different activities include an action mode with shining jewels and burning tiles. Novice and mature gamers will clamor for this game.

Dr. Peggy Healy Stearns' Stationery Studio. FableVision. Windows and Mac. Network license available. Ages 5 and up. 
Designed and narrated by Dr. Peggy Healy Stearns and illustrated by Peter Reynolds, this updated version of Stationery Studio includes many new designs.  Inspirational stationery helps children and even the most reluctant young writer to create books in the shape of “animals and insects, holidays and seasons, earth and space, people and places, imagination, among others.  Offers cursive handwriting practice in the form of attractive and printable stationery with dotted lines. Disk is not required to run. 
Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional 9. Nuance Communications. Windows. Elementary and up.
This powerful program will give students the ability to use voice commands to accurately control any Windows PC function. Integrating easily with email, Web browsers, Microsoft Office programs, or the DragonPad program, this is the ideal tool to give students with writing or keyboarding disabilities the freedom to create and edit materials.  In less than 30 minutes, a student can easily complete the tutorial and train the software to recognize his/her voice and speech patterns, and the program can be trained to recognize multiple users.  Purchase includes a headset microphone, but nearly any cordless, array, or headset microphone will work.

Gary Gadget: Building Cars. Viva Media. Windows and Mac. Rated E for Everyone.
Gary Gadget spends his time building cars using old items from a junk pile.  Players will help Gary by choosing parts of the cars and correctly positioning them on an empty chassis.  Problem-solving skills are reinforced as players construct vehicles to help Gary complete a variety of tasks such as helping a cat stuck in a tree. Situations sometimes require altering parts in order to create a vehicle that will meet Gary’s needs.  Successful completion of the tasks is rewarded with certificates and medals.  More parts are available for download on Gary Gadget’s Web site,  Gary Gadget: Building Cars is a creative game that will appeal to children who enjoy building and designing.

Giggles Computer Funtime for Baby – My Animal Friends. Leveractive. Windows and Mac. 6-24 months.
Giggles Computer Funtime is designed with the youngest user in mind. Babies are curious and exploratory by nature. Giggles makes key tapping fun and satisfactory for them while keeping your files safe. There are 14 activities and more than 60 songs to delight your baby. Users are introduced to cause-and-effect relationships. Each touch of the keypad or mouse results in cute animation with loveable characters. Other themed games are available.

I Spy Mystery. Scholastic, Inc. PC and Mac. Elementary.
I Spy Mystery combines Walter Wick photographs of familiar objects with Jean Marzollo rhymes and riddles.  Players earn mystery clues by completing 56 riddles and then move on to uncover the secrets behind the game’s 13 mysteries.  This game encourages players to “look at the world more carefully, use language more vividly, and think creatively.” Children’s reading, writing, and rhyming skills as well as problem-solving skills can be improved by completing these engaging riddles and challenging mysteries.

Instant Immersion American Sign Language v.2.0. Topics Entertainment. Windows. Elementary – Adult.
This sign language program is accessible to beginners yet appropriate for the intermediate user. The 5-CD set is based on immersion techniques often used to learn spoken languages. The set includes Signing Avatar Friends, Personal Communicator, SignLink, and HyperSign Kids. It focuses on building vocabulary through the use of full-motion video, word and phrase translators, and interactive games. The condensed dictionary and signing avatar have the most outstanding features in the set.

Key Skills Phonics Mastery K-1. Sunburst Technology. Windows and Mac. Elementary.
Through 80 sequenced and animated activities, students are exposed to a wide range of phonics skills including long vowel sounds, short blends, and rhyming sounds. Students begin with quick movies that introduce the purpose of their task. There are read-aloud options for young students to follow the text and the instructions. There is instant visual and verbal feedback. All activities align to all 50 states’ standards and assessment tools will help teachers (or parents) assign activities or identify at-risk students.  This program can solidify a young student’s knowledge of the alphabet as well as provide a foundation for reading and spelling.

LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy. LucasArts. Windows. Ages 10 and up.
Based on Episode IV-VI of the popular Star Wars series, this game continues the saga of the first LEGO Star Wars game.  Players can unlock new vehicles, characters, and scenes as they proceed through the game.  An especially fun component is the ability to create new characters by combining LEGO parts, and each character has unique abilities. This is useful because parts of the game require the player to switch between characters to complete tasks.  As the story proceeds throughout the game, players have the option of choosing which episode to play, acting out scenes from the films such as blowing up the Death Star.  Fans of Star Wars and LEGOs and those who enjoyed the first game will enjoy LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy.

Letter Olympics. Tool Factory, Inc./SEMERC. Windows and Mac. Elementary.
This program is designed for use in the inclusive classroom, specialized instruction, home schooling, and for students who have difficulty distinguishing between the letters “b” and “d.” Fun, Olympic-themed activities develop and reinforce the auditory and visual differences for the learner who is having difficulty. Fun graphics and increasingly difficult games makes this a winner with kids.

Grolier Online. Scholastic Library Publishing. Web-based. All ages.
Grolier sets a new standard with the 2006 additions to Grolier Online. The most notable enhancement is Amazing Animals of the World, a new database for grades 2 and above, which contains engaging articles, superb photos, and pre-selected Web links to accompany the text. Articles are Lexiled (leveled) and the articles can be printed, emailed, and bookmarked. The biggest “wow” goes to the multimedia feature showcase on Animals of Africa that takes students on a virtual tour of the Serengeti.

Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2007. Microsoft., Windows. DVD-ROM for individual licenses, DVD-ROM or CD-ROM for institutional licenses. Middle/High School.
Middle and High School students will find an enormous amount of research and project help from the extensive features of this product.  The Microsoft Math module includes step-by-step solutions to problems in pre-algebra through trigonometry, a 3-D graphing calculator with support for calculus, an equation library, unit conversion tool, and online help for specific problems from more than 100 textbooks.  The Learning Essentials module integrates with Microsoft Office (available separately) to create student-oriented templates for projects, reports, presentations, scientific analysis and graphic organizers and also creates topic-specific toolbars. The Encarta Premium module provides the familiar, reliable encyclopedia, and the Web Companion module provides a list of Encarta content alongside any Web search results. Additional modules are Book Summaries with author information and critical analysis of literature, and Foreign Language Help with translation dictionaries for French, German, Italian, and Spanish and verb conjugations for French, German, and Spanish. 

Music Ace Maestro: Music Educator’s Professional Edition 4.0. Harmonic Vision. Windows and Macintosh. Stand-alone, lab, or network versions available. Elementary/Middle.
This easy-to-use music theory software gives students the ability to learn independently and at their own pace while having fun with a new game for each lesson.  Skills are logically scaffolded and will suit the novice or those looking for a refresher equally well.  Combining the 48 lessons from Music Ace and Music Ace 2, Maestro includes new student assessment and curriculum management tools for teachers as well as Music Doodle Pad, a program that allows students to compose and hear their own music.  This entertaining and educational software will be one that students choose to return to whether it’s assigned or not!

Pirate Poppers. Brighter Minds Media. Windows and Mac. Elementary.
With eye-catching graphics, players begin this game as a Lowly Landlubber and work their way through increasingly difficult levels.  On the way, players must strategically aim cannonballs to clear ever-increasing and menacing chains of cannonballs. As players clear levels, coins, jewels, and other prizes accumulate in the Treasure Cove.  The Adventure is the main component of Pirate Poppers, but there is also a Puzzle mode as well as an Arcade mode.  Visually appealing graphics and a lively soundtrack make this an engaging game of strategy and logic.

The Secrets of Da Vinci: The Forbidden Manuscript. Tri Synergy/Nobilis. Windows. Ages 10 and up.
Adventure fun in nonlinear fashion can be had roaming around the Renaissance World of Leonardo DaVinci as Valdo, the young apprentice to Francesco Melzi.  Five players can play at a time with the object of the game being to find the secret notebook while investigating key characters.  The setting is rendered in the historically accurate mansion of Leonardo DaVinci with stunning period dress and works of art.  Impeccable graphics, use of logic and intuition to progress, and hours of gameplay make this title stand out among other adventure games.

Tool Factory Keyboarding Adventure. Tool Factory.  Windows and Mac. Elementary.
Who says that learning to type has to be dull? Take a trip down under and meet interesting characters who may gobble you up if you don’t pay attention to your keyboard! From basic posture/home row skills through speed and accuracy checks, Keyboarding Adventure provides a comprehensive learning platform that is effective and entertaining while you travel a path around Australia.

2007 Notable Computer Software for Children:
Diana M. Berry, Chair, Oakview Elementary, Decatur, Ga.
Rebecca B. Bishop, Campbell Court Elementary, Bassett, Va.
Ann Crewdson, Valley View Library, Seattle, Wash.
Cheri Dobbs, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, Mich.
Anna R. Healy, Rochelle Lee Fund, Chicago, Ill.
Jane S. Ritter, Mill Valley School District, Mill Valley, Calif.


This is the current list of ALSC Notable Computer Software for Children.