CD-ROM Characters from 'Dragon Tales' help preschoolers master skills



By HOPE KATZ GIBBS
SPECIAL TO WASHINGTON POST
A lot of preschoolers know the story, characters and voices of the affable dragons in the enchanted Dragon Land, so the odds are good that Scholastic's new math and logic CD-ROM "Dragon Tales: Learn & amp; Fly with Dragons" will get a friendly reception. Things start when a young dragon, Cassie, and his siblings want to learn to fly. To get them aloft, kids must master a series of 11 activities that include rounding up Royal Horseflies (by recognizing numbers), finding toys for lovable twin dragons Zak and Wheezie (by identifying colors and patterns), and helping Mr. Dustfree sort his peanut butter sandwiches (by working on patterns and sequencing).
Success wins Dragon Badges, which in turn mean our dragon friends learn fancier flying skills. Collect enough badges, and eventually they glow -- giving players access to a relay challenge game. My 5-year-old son, Dylan, made it his mission to score at this level; he already felt confident counting, adding, sorting and following directions in the earlier stages of Dragon Tales.
Children age 4 and 5 should get the most benefit from this software, as its games reinforce the math they've learned in preschool while familiar characters and voices from the PBS show guide and entertain them.
X"Dragon Tales: Learn & amp; Fly with Dragons," for children ages 4 to 6, is for computers with Windows 95 or newer and Mac OS X.

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