This kit is essentially a small microreader with an IC attached to it, which gives it data to read. The microreader displays text one letter at a time in a loop. Whenever you restart it, it picks a new phrase from its software at random.
The Microreader kit comes with pretty good, colorful instructions. For the sake of this instructable, an IC socket will be used to promote easy removal of the chip for programming. An IC socket is a bed the integrated circuit (IC) can sit in. This way you can take it out and program it or pet it if you want. You can get it from the Makezine Store
You can use the MiniPOV as a programmer. No it's not a cheap trick to get more people buying them -- using the MiniPOV to program the Microreader is actually cheaper than buying a standard IC programmer. Alternatively, you can make your own programmer using this instructable.
Using an IC in this project makes it more difficult (annoying) to put together. I bought a cheap 20 pin IC from Radioshack, which I've heard isn't very good. It works fine for this project though. Also, you may consider an IC because this eliminates the possibly of accidentally destroying your IC.
This kit is great for soldering beginners. To learn the basics of soldering check out this great guide
by noahw. Also, here's a good video tutorial
from the MAKE blog.
Idealy, you can put this little reader on all sorts of stuff. Eventually this guide will illustrate how to temporarily attach this to a piece of clothing.