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AceReader Pro Deluxe Version Review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright

StepWare, Inc.
320 Dakota Drive
Grand Junction, CO 81503
800-ACE-READ (223-7323)
http://www.stepware.com/

Eye fixation time and re-reading! Who knew? That's why it seems to take me longer than it should to read sometimes, especially if the material is not particularly fascinating or I'm worried about remembering the details. In reviewing AceReader Pro Deluxe Version ($99.95), we've learned all kinds of helpful information about reading faster and better. AceReader is a "reading improvement software" program for grades 4 through adult that helps increase your reading speed and comprehension through a wide variety of computer activities, tests, drills, and games. There are too many bells and whistles to cover everything in a short review, but here are some of the highlights to help you determine if this great product would be helpful for your family.

AceReader can either be downloaded from the website (www.acereader.com) or ordered in CD format. The user first sets up an Administrative Account, which allows you to control many aspects of the program. Next, a User Account is set up for each person (up to 5) so that the program can keep statistics and tailor the material for each user. To use the program, you can choose between Course Mode (where the program runs through a set course of activities designed to increase your speed and comprehension), Menu Mode (where you can choose which activities to complete next), or Expert Mode (which lets you load your own content with a variety of tools to increase your reading speed). It is recommended that you first work through the Course Mode and then dabble as much as you like in Menu Mode and Expert Mode to continue your progress. Each Reading Comprehension Test establishes your Base Reading Rate, which is used to determine the speed of many of the activities. AceReader uses a range of interesting activities to train your eyes and your brain to read faster and better. I learned that I often let my eyes rest in one spot too long or let them wander back over material that I've already read. How inefficient! To the rescue are moving shapes, expanding balls, reading drills as fast as the speed of light, vocabulary drills, zig zags, eye fixation drills, lions and tigers and bears, oh, my!

If you want to choose your own activities in Menu Mode, the company recommends spending 15-20 minutes per day, starting with a Reading Comprehension Test, then on to some drills, followed by games. Or you can set the Course Mode to double or triple your reading speed as you work through the 61 activities. Even with less-than-perfect consistency in using the program every day, I was able to almost double my reading speed in about a month just from working through the Course Mode. That will likely continue to increase as I work through more activities in the Menu Mode and the Expert Mode. Not bad for an old homeschool mom! The Expert Mode provides some very clever options for increasing your reading speed as you read your own material, such as reports, Internet pages, or perhaps the classics. Reports and graphs are available for the Reading Comprehension Tests. While this is not intended to be a flashy program, using rather simple graphics, the number of options available may leave you as dizzy as some of the activities! There are also several add-ons that can be purchased separately, such as four subject Test Sets (American History, Earth and Space Science, Fun Facts, and Famous People), Spanish, and Text-To-Speech. And your child can use AceReader to practice vocabulary words!

Reading opens up the world to our children and is foundational in nearly every subject they will ever study. What a gift to help them become efficient readers! I highly recommend that you try AceReader for your child or yourself, and find out why this excellent program has won over 50 awards and honors!

Product review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2011

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