Review: Teach todders their ABCs with Talking Alphabet | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

Review: Teach todders their ABCs with Talking Alphabet

Speak your ABCs out loud with this preschool educational freeware.

Catzware's improved Talking Alphabet can help you teach your toddler the ABCs and more. This freeware is safe and easy enough for youngsters to use unsupervised. It speaks letters and numbers out loud in a clear, pleasant male voice that's a big improvement over the voice sims we usually find in talking software for youngsters (usually Microsoft Anna). Talking Alphabet includes a Picture Matching Game, a fun rendition of The Alphabet Song, and a cool bouncing basketball that makes realistic sounds. Speaking of sounds, you'll obviously need speakers or some means of voicing Talking Alphabet. We had no trouble understanding Talking Alphabet's speech in any output mode.

Talking Alphabet's toddler-friendly user interface displays the A-B-Cs in colorful squares that you click to hear the letter spoken. Surprisingly, typing in a letter didn't voice it. As we mentioned, the voice is clear, articulate, and neutral in pronunciation and accent. A row of buttons along the top lets you switch between uppercase and lowercase letters and open the Talking Numbers and other extras. We said we'd had no trouble understanding Talking Alphabet's voice. That's not quite true for the Talking Numbers, which we couldn't make talk at all. The Basketball falls to the bottom of the desktop and bounces with realistic motion and sound. It's a fun break when little learners get fidgety.

The Talking Numbers needs a bug fix, but the clear, sustained and unexaggerated enunciation of Talking Alphabet's voice is a big improvement over similar free apps, some of which are so clipped and curt that adults have trouble understanding them, let alone kids learning their letters. Talking Alphabet's overall performance and upgrades make it a top choice in preschool educational tools.

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