A-N-I-M-A-L-S From letters & Sounds to Reading!
A-N-I-M-A-L-S helps young children learn to read, in a hands-on and playful manner that works wonders. A few minutes of play from time to time, while they're sitting on your lap, is all it takes for children to gradually grow more experienced at:
- Recognizing the letters they see, and matching them to sounds.
- Recognizing the words they see on the screen, and remembering their meaning.
- Typing the letters needed to spell the words they see.
The computer's instant feeback makes it easy for children to practice the basics of reading and writing, and your cheerful support makes it even more fun and rewarding. Just remember to keep the sessions short and to stop before your child's attention turns to something else!
Three game levels are available so each child can find the right challenge, as soon as s/he can bang on the keyboard!
- The beginner level is a keyboard banger with pictures of animals, as well as their name (spoken and shown).
- In the intermediate level, children choose the name of an animal and type its initial to see its picture. Soon they'll know all the letters of the alphabet!
- Children playing the advanced level get to
choose a word and type all its letters, while
the game helps by providing visual feedback and
reading aloud as children type.
Based on research
A-N-I-M-A-L-S is based on the results of decades of research by leading scientists and educators. The game is specifically designed to develop the constituent skills of the act of reading, by putting children "in control", encouraging free exploration, and providing extensive and appropriate feedback for every single action.
All the while, to children it appears as if they are just hitting a few keys for the fun of seeing pretty pictures. This is "learning by doing", or rather "learning by playing": the most effective, best possible way to learn.
Previously, this type of language learning required dedicated hardware and was only available in experimental school programs. A-N-I-M-A-L-S is the first program of its type available for home use.
Find out more by reading Why this game?
Hundreds of illustrated words
Hundreds of words, hundreds of photographs and recordings make the game rich enough for children to want to explore over many sessions.
Picture Pack 1, which is included with the game, holds over 400 photographs of animals and everyday objects:
Horse, Lion, Rabbit ...
Ant, Caterpillar, Spider ...
Barracuda, Clown Loach, Jellyfish ...
Box, Door, Pebble ...
Picture Pack 2 adds over 300 photographs in these categories and more:
Azalea, Cactus, Clover ...
Lemon, Papaya, Yogurt ...
Ball, Robot, Swing ...
Bicycle, Helicopter, Tractor ...
"The student who has mastered algebraic concepts has gained a vantage point from which arithmetical concepts are seen in a broader perspective." -- L. S. Vygotsky
Becoming familiar with other languages not only gives children a broader perspective, it also helps them reach a heightened understanding of their own language. Language Packs add the digitized voices of native speakers of a number of languages to the game. The following Language Packs are available now, with more to follow:
click to view contents:
Language software is typically meant for 9 to 12 year olds, but A-N-I-M-A-L-S lets younger children play and learn, because that is the time when learning is easiest (no unrealistic expectations yet and no pressure to perform). Their curiosity is aroused by the sound of words pronounced in other languages, and they type the words just to listen to those funny voices!
Click to hear "Fire Engine" as it is said in each of these languages:
This game may be played on any Macintosh running Mac OS 7, 8, 9, with a minimum of 100 MB of free disk space and 1MB of RAM.
For an Intel-based Mac, download and install SheepShaver and the associated files first (instructions here) to emulate a Mac OS 9.0.4 computer.
For a PC, a Mac OS 7, 8 or 9 emulator such as the ones described here should let you run the game.
Or you can get a working, used Mac from the 90's or early 2000's (like the candy-colored iMacs) complete with keyboard, mouse, hard drive and a color screen, typically for $50 or less. This way your child can bang on the keyboard while your own computer stays safe!
MacinTalk Text-to-Speech is required for English and Spanish syllable feedback in the advanced level. If the version of Mac OS you're using doesn't include Speech software, you may download it from Apple's website.
Updates are free to registered users. Buy now
Large/special purchases please enquire by email.
A-N-I-M-A-L-S game for one household
(includes Picture Pack 1 and the first Language Pack)
Picture Pack 2
Language Packs (each)
A-N-I-M-A-L-S 10 Pack, for up to 10 classroom computers
(includes both Picture Packs and all Language Packs)
After placing your order, you'll receive an email with your license code, titled "Thanks for your purchase". This email also specifies the personal Download Links that you use to download the game and its accompanying packages.
Once all components are downloaded and expanded, just assemble them as shown on this diagram (move expanded Language Packs to the Data Folder and expanded Picture Packs to the Pictures folder).
- Advanced level: in addition to hearing each letter as it is typed and the whole word at the end, children now also hear the word spoken as they build it. Currently for English and Spanish, requires MacinTalk.
- Add children's favorite people (or animals, objects, etc.) by simple drag-and-drop.
- Misc. enhancements and fixes.
Registered users may use their download link for the program folder and files to download the new version. Just replace your copies of the A-N-I-M-A-L-S Letters & Sounds and Translations files with the new ones, and the rest is automatic.
- More Language Packs: Dutch,
Finnish, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian,
If you wish to help with development in your language, please email.
- Voice feedback for syllables in French, and possibly also German.
- Children playing in the Advanced level will be able to switch languages by themselves and switch letter names/sounds.
- A scale display to give an idea of the real size of each animal, plant or object photographed.
- Native Mac OS X version.
- Prevent access to the Mac OS X Dock when running in Classic, other than by temporarily disconnecting the mouse.
Space photographs courtesy of NASA. Yak photographs courtesy of 'Yakman' Phil Wykle and 'Yellow Yak' René Sagot. All other material by Marc Moini.