Are you a young person? Are you having trouble getting your folks to spring for a sound board for the home IBM-compatible? Just show them Davidson's Spell It 3 on a friend's (or a local computer store's) "multimedia" machine.
Okay, so we rarely find a Davidson program we don't like. But this one's special. Put anyone from six to six dozen at the keyboard, load the program, and within a week of mesmerized playing they'll be spelling right and loving it!The disk teaches through five activities. The first one looks most like schoolwork. You get to see and hear a word, type it out a bunch of times (for spelling reinforcement), and read it in a sentence.
Next, there's a crossword puzzle that works two ways. You can unscramble letters to make a word, or fill in missing letters.
The next three games use the same words again. In one, you're shown four spellings and asked to pick the right one. In another, you have to fill in missing letters.
The fifth game is our favorite: It teaches how to notice and correct your misspellings. This knack is rarely taught in school, yet it's the most valuable spelling skill we can learn.
Croaking frogs, swimming worms, and menacing alligators turn all the activities into entertaining challenges. You're never "out" and always a winner - even when you have to find an answer through elimination. When you've learned a spelling list thoroughly, you can take a dictated test. It runs like a spelling bee.
Spell It comes with 190 word lists on six levels from beginner to advanced - 3,600 words in all. Each list teaches a specific spelling facility. One focuses on the long-a sound. Another teaches compound words - long ones made up of two short words you already know how to spell.
As with Davidson's predecessor to this version, Spell It Plus!, it's easy to add your own spelling demons - and teach the program to say them. You can even put in foreign words. And you don't need to own Windows to run it. Just a sound board, please. Davidson: 800-545-7677.
All work and no travel make a pretty poor summer. But you needn't pack a bag if your computer has a CD-ROM drive. You can take the whole family on a trip without leaving home. Apple's StarCore Division has a winner in the Travelrama USA CD-ROM game.
The game's "playing board" is an onscreen road map. On it are shown the major routes between the biggest cities in the U.S. Playing alone or against up to three other players, you win if you collect five picture postcards randomly selected by the computer.
You get each card by traveling to the state where you think it can be found. If you pick the "learner" level of play, you can peek at a list that tells where to find Monument Valley, cowboys, or whatever.
Once you're in a place, you can view its four postcards. If you see a card an opponent needs, you can trade. At each new turn, you get to spin a wheel for bonus miles or airplane tickets. Other challenges are built in, too.
Like any good board game, Travelrama shuffles its deck and brings up different postcards for different games. So there are many hours of fun - and a lot of incidental learning about our states, cities, and natural wonders.