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Resource File: Early Childhood -- Tools

Annotated List of Early Childhood Software

Below is a comprehensive listing of early education software products, including descriptions of each product. Inclusion in this list does not mean that NCIP is endorsing any product or manufacturer. NCIP strongly encourages readers to explore a range of products with qualified personnel in their area.


Amazing Writing Machine
Broderbund
$40.00
Macintosh

This program offers templates for writing poems, stories, and journals. Children can either fill in blanks or write from scratch. Stories can be illustrated and there is a text-to-speech function. This program is geared for children aged 8-12.

Bailey's Book House
Edmark
$34.95
Macintosh/IBM

This emergent literacy program was designed for preschool and early elementary school children. It is a point and click program which lets children explore rhymes, the alphabet, stories, making cards, and word concepts. Scanning is built in so the program is accessible for single switch users.

Beauty and the Beast
Pelican/Toucan
$49.95
Macintosh

This is a story geared towards elementary school students. Children can create new stories using characters, text bubbles, and scenes. It's a writing tool using a familiar theme.

Big Book Maker
Pelican/Toucan
49.94 Mac
35.95 Apple IIGS

This is a program that children and teachers can use to create big books. Books from standard size to extra large can be created and then printed. A variety of clipart is included so the story possibilities are endless.

Circletime Tales Deluxe
Don Johnston, Inc.
$59.00
Macintosh

This is a collection of three nursery rhymes. Simple animation and text which highlights word by word make this a great early literacy software program. Built in scanning and speech options are wonderful.

Create with Garfield
DLM
$25.95
Apple IIe
Apple IIGS

This program is designed for preschool aged children and allows them to create stories and pictures using a favorite comic book character.

Electric Crayon: Holidays and Seasons, Dinosaurs are Forever, Letters for You
Merit Software/Potarware
$9.95, 20.95/11.95
Apple IIe
Apple IIGS

These simple painting programs are nice because they're an inexpensive way for children to draw using point and click paint fill. They're appropriate for preschool and elementary school children.

Explora-Story Programs
W.K. Bradford
$75.00 each
Apple IIe
Apple IIGS

These programs offer familiar fables like Stone Soup to children to read, do activities, and recreate. They're wonderful writing tools. Children can create new scenes and text. There is no speech output for these programs.

Facemaker, Golden Edition
Pelican/Pelican/Toucan
$39.95
25.95 Apple IIe
Apple IIGS

This is a program that lets children create funny faces. The faces can be programmed to wink, smile, wiggle ears, etc. Facemaker can be operated using a TouchWindow. It's a motivating program to get children going on the computer.

Gingerbread Man
Center for Literacy and Disability Studies
$19.95
Macintosh

This is a story recreated with simple graphics and text to speech functions. Children can have the story read to them, click on characters to see them talk and move. It's a nice program to accompany book reading in class. It's designed for preschool and early elementary school children.

I Can Play Too
Mayer-Johnson
$89.00
Macintosh

This program gives nonspeaking children a way to communicate during traditional games. It uses pictures and text to help children interact. This program has a built-in scanning feature.

Imagination Express (Oceans, Rain Forest, Neighborhood)
Edmark
$39.95
Macintosh- CD ROM

These programs are wonderful for older elementary school students who want to create multimedia stories. Clip art, animation, and information about aspects of these themes help children create wonderful stories and reports.

Just Me and My Dad
GT Interactive
$44.95
Macintosh/IBM

This is an interactive storybook that operates much like the Living Books series. It's great for preschool and early elementary school students. It offers a way for children to engage in independent readings of books.

Kid Pix
Broderbund
59.95
Macintosh/IBM

Kid Pix Companion
39.93
Macintosh/IBM

Kid Pix2
Broderbund
Macintosh/IBM

These series of children's drawing programs have lots of uses. They can be used for drawing, writing stories using the slide show feature, or creating activities with the help of Clickit!. It's a great program for children of all ages.

Kid Works 2
Davidson & Associates
$39.95
Macintosh/IBM

This is a program that offers drawing, writing, icon creating, and recording options. Each of the four components can be melded together to create a multimedia story. Stories can be composed using pictures and text. The text-to-speech feature is wonderful.

Kids Studio
CyberPuppy Software, Inc.
$35.00
Macintosh

This is s multimedia program for elementary school students. They can use really great clipart, sounds, and text to create stories that operate in a slide show type of sequence.

Living Book Series: Arthur's Teachers Trouble, Just Grandma and Me, New Kids on the Block, Tortoise and the Hare, Dr. Seuss' ABCs
Broderbund
$49.95
CD ROM for Mac or IBM

These interactive storybooks are great. Kids can listen in different languages, reread text by clicking on words, and animate the story by clicking on objects. Each CD comes with a book. These CDs are a wonderful way to give children with disabilities independent access to books. Intellikeys, Edmark, and Don Johnston offer overlays for use with these books.

Muppet Slate
Wings for Learning/Sunburst
$75.00 Apple IIe
Apple IIGS

Muppet Word Book
Wings for Learning
$65.00
Apple IIe
Apple IIGS

These programs offer preschool children an opportunity to play with letters and numbers, and write stories. They work with an alternate keyboard.

My Own Stories
MECC
$29.95
Macintosh

This is a writing program which allow kids to customize background scenes, add lots of characters and objects, and write text. Sounds can be recorded as well. It's a great way to create picture books using realistic scenes and people. Stories can be printed or read onscreen using the slide show format.

My Words
Hartley

This is a writing program which has a text to speech function, collects words in a word bank so children can click on them to hear them or double-click on them to place them in their composition. It's got lots of icons to help children perform functions like print and save.

Peter Pan: A Story Painting Adventure
EA*Kids
A Division of Electronic Arts
$32.95
Macintosh/IBM

This is a program that takes children though the Peter Pan story but allows them to modify the story, characters, and scenery. It's fun to use and the graphics are fantastic.

Reading Magic Library - Flodd, the Bad Guy
Reading Magic Library - Jack and the Bean Stalk
Robot Writer

Tom Snyder Productions
Pelican/Pelican/Toucan
$31.95
Apple IIe
Apple IIGS

These are writing programs using theme-based clipart. The stories can be printed out in color or black and white in a variety of sizes. These programs are great for kids ranging in age from preschool to early elementary.

Sheila Ray the Brave
Living Books
$39.95
Macintosh/IBM

This is another title by Living Books. In this program, children can sing songs, read the text, and see animation. Great for preschool and elementary school children.

Speaking Dynamically
Mayer-Johnson Co.
$299.00
Macintosh/IBM

This is a communication program for the computer. However, teachers can easily create stories using a combination of picture communication symbols and text, students can create journals or stories, and children can use the program to communicate during school activities. The possibilities are endless.

StoryBook Weaver
MECC
$29.00
Macintosh/IBM

This is a program very much like My Own Stories. It just has different clip art and is designed for students a little older - upper elementary. Again. The stories can be printed out or viewed onscreen in a slide show format.

Storytime Tales
Don Johnston, Inc.
$65.00
Macintosh

This is another collection of stories written by Pati King DeBaun. Like Circletime Tales, these stories have clear, uncluttered graphics and the stories have predictable text which can be read word by word or a sentence at a time. Scanning features are built in.

SuperStories
Titles include:
Sarah's Surprise, Andy Finds A Turtle, Andy Opens Wide, Patrick & Emma Lou, A Smile From Andy, Fair and Square
Jason & Nordic Publishers
$34.95
Macintosh

These stories have a disability theme. The main characters all have disabilities. The graphics are clean and the stories can be read using the text to speech feature.

The Backyard
Broderbund
$30.00
Macintosh
IBM/Tandy
Windows

The Children's Writing & Publishing Center
The Learning Company
$56.95
Apple IIe, Apple IIGS

The Little Mermaid
Macintosh
$49.95
Pelican/Toucan

The Manhole
Cyan, Inc.
$29.95
Macintosh

This isn't really story-based software but it does provide a neat tool for exploration. Children learn to use the mouse or Touchwindow while going on a fantasy trip down a manhole. There is a little bit of animation and lots of perspective-taking. It's a great virtual reality sort of experience for children.

The Playroom
Broderbund Software
$49.95
Apple IIGS
Apple IIe
IBM
Macintosh

The playroom is an early learning program that operates much like Treehouse and Backyard. Children see a bedroom and click on items. There is a book and a typewriter so children can explore print as well as other nonprint activities. This is designed for preschool and early elementary-aged students.

The Print Shop Deluxe Mac & The Print Shop®
Broderbund
$49.00
Macintosh
Apple IIGS
IBM

The print shop is a useful tool for helping children create great looking cards, banners, invitations or signs. Different fonts, colors, and graphics can be used. Templates come with the program so that children can basically fill in blanks and still get a professional looking product.

The Treehouse
Broderbund
$44.95
Macintosh
IBM

This is an early learning program which helps children with such concepts as cause and effect, and using the mouse while teaching them about math, music, and time. There are lots of funny things children can do in the treehouse and a few opportunities to read as well.

The Whole Neighborhood
Pelican/Toucan
$49.95
Apple IIGS
Apple IIe

This is a writing program that offers clipart to illustrate stories. The clipart is of people and objects one might expect to find in a typical neighborhood. It's a nice authoring alternative for people who have difficulty illustrating their work. The clipart can provide inspiration for story content.

The Writing Center
The Learning Company
Macintosh

This is a pretty traditional and widely used writing program for elementary-aged students. Children can choose different formats like newspaper, flyer, or standard writing. Graphics can be imported or students can choose clipart that's included in the program.

Thinkin Things, Thinkin Things2, & Thinkin Things3
Edmark
$69.95
Macintosh
IBM

These are early learning programs that help children develop problem solving skills. As in most Edmark products, scanning is built in so even single switch users can use this program. Each program targets a different age group. Teachers can customize the learning activities to meet children's skill levels.

Three Princesses
Pelican/Toucan
$49.95
Macintosh

Wiggle Works
Apple
$40.00
Macintosh

This is the home version of a trade book based literacy program available to schools. Each of the home versions has three computer books (print books are included as well) students can read or have read to them. In addition, there are writing tools that let the children use existing graphics to create new stories, change the coloring of the original stories, or play with letters and numbers. New books can be printed out for reading. Sounds can be recorded so that new books can also be read.

Word Tales
Time Warner Interactive Group
$39.00
Macintosh
MPC (IBM)

This is a program that uses a game type format to teach children to see patterns in words. As children progress through activities they earn points towards playing games.

Write Outloud
Don Johnston, Inc.
$125.00
Macintosh

This is a talking word processor that has built in scanning, speech, and a talking spell check feature. Text font, size, and color can be changed as well as the background color to accommodate for visual acuity problems.

ZoomBooks & Four Footed Friends
T/Maker Company
$35.00
Macintosh
Windows (IBM compatible)

This program offers rhymes and stories about different animals. Text is highlighted as it is read and the program can speak in several languages. Children can alter the pictures by painting characters if they wish.


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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP)  in collaboration with the Center for Literacy and Disabilities (CLD)  at Duke University.   NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by CLD, NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998. 

© Education Development Center, Inc.