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Review

SV Builder

Intouch Magazine -December 2004
When contemplating the review of this CD ROM, the advertising phrase, 'It does exactly what it says on the tin' kept coming to mind. SV Builder is exactly what it claims to be, a computer program presenting sight vocabulary, with a data base of 220 Dolch list words and 580 sight vocabulary.

SV Builder presents the Dolch list in order of descending frequency in 11 lists with 20 words per list. As well as seeing the words, the pupil can hear the words spoken in the context of a sentence. The voice is remarkably clear, the speed of delivery is good and the accent just perfect for the Irish classroom. There is also a facility to see the words in random list.

The 580 social sight vocabulary words are taken from the Irish environment presented under the titles, At Home, Signs, Shopping, Packaging, Food, Number/Money, Time/Travel and Services. These lists, together with the Dolch lists, can be printed out - two groups of 20 words on A4 size page.

The words are presented with the same font and size throughout. I would have liked a teacher option to change the font, as many of these words appear in capitals in the social context, eg, 'STOP'. The font 'built in' uses the letter 'a' whereas younger children will more easily identify the 'comic sans' version 'a', given that it is the version that they will be writing and that will appear in their readers.

SV Builder does not have the frills of a performance-tracking database, nor does it offer a fanfare for correct responses. Nevertheless, it is a valuable teaching resource that will be useful to teachers at primary level, particularly to special needs teachers and resource teachers. It will also be invaluable to teachers in special schools where much emphasis is placed on the teaching of social sight vocab. SV Builder is designed and developed by Donal Horgan and costs 45 (site licence) plus 3 p+p. It is available from Donal Horgan - contact donalhorgan@eircom.net or write to Donal at 6 Sheldon, St. Patrick's Hill, Cork.

Reviewed by Jim Ryng, St. Mary's Special School, Rochestown, Cork.

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