The Learning Company

The Learning Company
The Learning Company
Type Subsidiary
Parent Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The Learning Company (TLC) is an American educational software company, founded in 1980. It produced a grade-based system similar to Knowledge Adventure's JumpStart series. The products for preschoolers through second graders feature Reader Rabbit, and software for more advanced students features The ClueFinders. The company also purchased the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium. The company has corporate offices in San Francisco and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.[1]

The original The Learning Company was founded by Ann McCormick, Leslie Grimm, and Teri Perl, three educators who saw the Apple II as an opportunity to enhance the ability to teach young children concepts of math, reading and science, along with Warren Robinett, fresh from a stint at Atari. Part of the original funding for the company came from a National Science Foundation grant. Additional funding was provided by Jack Melchor, and Melchor Venture Partners, among others. The Learning Company first went public on April 28, 1992 - Morgan Stanley and Robertson, Stephens & Co. served as the lead underwriters. In 1995 TLC became the target of larger software firms interested in purchasing it. In that year a "bidding war" took place between Brøderbund and SoftKey, with the latter eventually acquiring TLC for $606 million in cash. SoftKey took up The Learning Company's name and continued acquiring other software companies including Mindscape, Inc. in March 1998 for $150 million and, ironically, former rival Brøderbund in June of the same year for $416 million. Mattel purchased the company in 1999 for $3.8 billion from the Canadian Entrepreneur Kevin O'Leary,[2] renaming it "Mattel Interactive", in what has been called one of the worst acquisitions in corporate history.[3] Mattel sold Learning Co. to Gores Technology Group, receiving $27.3 million for the unit. TLC, along with Brøderbund, is now a subsidiary of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; however, some of the acquired entertainment holdings were sold to Ubisoft.



Logo of the Learning Company used from the mid-1990s until the late-2000s.

Reader Rabbit/ClueFinders series

  • Grade-based titles
    • Reader Rabbit Baby
    • Reader Rabbit Toddler
    • Reader Rabbit Preschool
    • Reader Rabbit Preschool: Sparkle Star Rescue
    • Reader Rabbit Kindergarten
    • Reader Rabbit 1st Grade
    • Reader Rabbit 2nd Grade (now sold as Reader Rabbit 2nd Grade: Classic)
    • Reader Rabbit 2nd Grade: Mis-cheese-ious Dreamship Adventures
    • The ClueFinders 3rd Grade Adventures
    • The ClueFinders 4th Grade Adventures
    • The ClueFinders 5th Grade Adventures
    • The ClueFinders 6th Grade Adventures
  • Other titles


Super Solvers series

Treasure/Super Seekers series

Carmen Sandiego series

Other games

  • Real World series
    • Time Riders in American History
    • Operation Neptune (briefly added to the Super Solvers series)
    • Math For The Real World
  • Adventure/puzzle games
  • Trail games
  • Tools and other programs
    • All-Star Typing
    • Read, Write, and Type
    • MetroGnomes' Music
    • The Children's Writing & Publishing Center
    • The Writing Center
    • Student Writing Center
  • Other early educational programs
    • Magic Spells
    • Bumble Games
    • Bumble Plot
    • Moptown Hotel
    • Moptown Parade
    • Wordspinner
    • Juggles' Rainbow
    • Juggles' House

Reference: The Gizmos & Gadgets! user's guide back outside cover

Continuity within game universes

While it may not seem like it at first, many of the series of games do, indeed, involve each other in subtle ways that the developers may just want to sneak in, or otherwise. The ClueFinders games, although part of the same product line, appear to be set in their own universe.


The primary locations of the Reader Rabbit series are in Wordville. On the Wordville map in the front of the Reader Rabbit 3 User's Guide, Treasure Mountain can be seen. This seems to suggest that the two worlds are located relatively close to one another. Another location is Shady Glen, at which all the Super Solver games take place.


  • One of the prizes in Math Rabbit as well as in Treasure Cove! is the Neptune, the submarine used in Operation Neptune.
  • One of the data logs found in Operation Neptune contains a reference to Ancient Empires as one of the ways the scientists on the space exploration journey like to pass the time.[4]
  • The map shown on the Reader Rabbit's user manual depicts Treasure Mountain.[4]


External links

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