Review: Pass on Talking Flash Cards Toddlers since better tools aren't hard to find | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

Review: Pass on Talking Flash Cards Toddlers since better tools aren't hard to find

Look for something more in educational flash cards than this stripped and clipped offering.

Talking Flash Cards Toddlers from PapaTsoftware is a basic educational program aimed at a basic set of learners -- toddlers. While TFCToddlers has some advantages (mainly that it's free as well as ad-free) it also has some disadvantages -- chief among them the clipped, unnatural, and difficult-to-comprehend audio prompts voiced by Microsoft Anna.

TFCToddlers has a full-screen interface, which helps reduce distractions so your inquisitive youngster can focus on the cards. Unfortunately, program options such as Timer Value, Sound, and Case are also a part of the interface, just to the right of the main screen, or exactly where they're the most distracting. This makes no sense: Your child may not be able to read and understand the options, but he or she can certainly find them fascinating and possibly even change them, accidentally. The interface, itself, is colorful and uses a preschool-style font, and the onscreen cards are similar in size to real flash cards, which may help youngsters associate the software version with the real thing. Microsoft Anna announces the program's name. The premise is basic: Select Numbers, Letters, Colors, or Shapes. Press the spacebar once to change the image displayed in the onscreen card, and again to hear the answer. But Microsoft Anna's clipped, mechanical syllables seem to be exactly what toddlers don't need. Your child will better connect the number 4 with the word "four" instead of the sound "fr." You can't change the speed, pitch, or TTS voice, either. And TFCToddlers suffers from the same limitation as paper cards, a limited selection that can't be extended or updated.

Talking Flash Cards Toddlers is worth trying, though you'll need to emphasize the proper pronunciation; but in our opinion, better tools that are also free aren't hard to find.

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