Encyclopedia services convenient and thorough; School: Pupils can delve into their work with online offerings from World Book and Encyclopaedia Britannica.


I know we are past the back-to-school rush when the calls to mom at work are no longer about needing pencils and notebooks. Now the phone calls are about "This report I need to do for tomorrow ... can we go to the library when you get home?" These calls only happen on the days I'm pressed for time and/or the library isn't open.

Fortunately, technology offers me a solution. I have a number of encyclopedias on CD-ROM. We have used most of them but by far our favorite for years has been the IBM World Book (about $50 at www.ibm.com). Now IBM has moved the World Book to the Web.

World Book Online is at www.worldbookonline.com. A subscription is $9.95 a month and includes all the material on the CD as well as every other learning tool we could need. A Research Helper/ Writing Helper guides students through organizing and presenting reports. The atlas offers endless maps to the world.

World Book is aimed at kids 10 and older. For college students, the Encyclopaedia Britannica at www.eb.com is a similar yet more in-depth service. EB has less high-tech graphics, but it is less expensive, at $5 a month.

Technology has also helped me address other learning issues with my kids. Parents all worry about kids that can't read well. There are a number of excellent software programs to build reading skills in kids.

The children's software review at www.childrenssoftware.com is the ultimate resource for learning about products. The editor of this e-zine has been an educator and software reviewer for years. Take the time to know all you can about software before putting kids in front of it.

Pub Date: 09/13/99

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