Reading Galaxy: Featuring Alien Tales
For some reason the Hollywood Squares have outlasted Paul Lynde and the ’70s, and have made the jump to – of all things – CD-ROM. There’s no logical explanation, but a tic-tac-toe board filled with minor celebrities has been a feature in discs ranging from Muppets Inside to Beethoven Lives Upstairs to the latest installment in Broderbund’s Active Mind Series, Reading Galaxy: Featuring Alien Tales (ages 8-12). The disc uses a game show format to teach kids about works like Charlotte’s Web, Secret of the Andes, The Wizard of Oz, and more. The questions asked by the (fictional) minor celebrities concern whatever book is being discussed at the moment. Each work is represented by a synopsis, some excerpts, and a biography of the author. Although this is not the most exhaustively comprehensive way to teach literature – the books do not get read in their entirety by your child – we believe that it works, at least to pique your child’s interest. The game show format keeps things zipping along, and the fact that you never need to read a piece of text longer than a cereal box blurb guarantees that you won’t get bored. In addition to the Hollywood Squares there are crossword-type puzzles and What’s Wrong With This Picture? Purists may be offended by the concept of teaching literature without actually reading the work. Teachers and parents, however, will recognize the value of firing a child’s imagination any way possible. The books themselves are as close as your local library.
– August 1996