My boys have some absolutely amazing educational toys and almost all of them are from LeapFrog. When Zackary was just a few months old, we bought our first LeapFrog toy, the now discontinued LeapFrog Learning Drum. Zackary just loved it and I am sure that it was largely responsible for helping him develop his ability to recognize letters and numbers. Our collection of LeapFrog toys continued to grow over the years and I never cease to be amazed by the educational content and the advanced technology of LeapFrog’s toys.
But though I am very familiar with LeapFrog’s products, the company’s revolutionary Tag Reading System was a toy that I had yet to test out. Zackary is just the right age for the Tag system and when we were given a chance to review it I was absolutely elated.
The Tag Reading System consists of the Tag Reader, a pen-like stylus, and special Tag Books that work with the Tag Reader. Zackary received the Tag Reader complete with a demo book that lets kids explore some of the Tag Reading System’s features. He also received the Tag Book The Amazing Spiderman: The Lizard’s Tale, so my first step before using the system was to plug the Tag Reader into my computer’s USB port to download the appropriate audio file so that Zackary could have the entire book read aloud to him. The process took mere minutes and I was soon sitting down with my son to test out the Tag system.
Every page in any Tag Book contains icons near the bottom that activate different features. By pressing the Tag Reader down on the icons, children can listen to the page being read, play a game, have a direction repeated or stop the current action. But the magic of the Tag Reading System doesn’t stop there!
By clicking on the text itself with the Tag Reader, children can listen to single words or complete sentences within the story. By pressing the stylus down on pictures, children can listen to fun phrases from characters or exciting sound effects!
I must confess that I have absolutely no idea how the Tag Reading System is able to do what it does. I spent some time playing around with the stylus and at one point, I clicked on three individual words in the demo book and then immediately flipped to the centre of The Lizard’s Tale and clicked on a game icon and somehow the Tag Reader knew what I was clicking on every time. The books look exactly like ordinary books, but there is nothing ordinary about the Tag Reading System!
The games were a big part of the appeal for Zackary and he spent lots of time making secret formulas and tagging pictures of Spiderman. I liked the fact that many of the games asked questions to test his comprehension of the page’s content. I also appreciated the way that the Tag system didn’t just focus on reading. For example, The Amazing Spiderman: The Lizard’s Tale, in addition to building reading skills, also introduced science vocabulary, memory skills, cause and effect and concepts of plot and setting.
Zackary reads approximately forty sight words and over the last three or four months he has started sounding out words he doesn’t know, a skill that I believe is the most important step in learning to read. The Tag Reading System is absolutely perfect for him because he can read the words he knows out loud as he tags them with the Tag Reader and when he gets to a word he doesn’t know, he can try to sound it out and then tag the word to see if he got it right. It was a phenomenal way to progress his reading skills in a fun and interactive way.
I was blown away by the Tag Reading System, but if you have a baby or younger child that isn’t quite ready for this system, don’t despair! LeapFrog has learn-to-read products for children as young as six months! In addition to the Tag Reading System, I also received the LeapFrog My First Book: Good Night Scout electronic book featuring the adorable LeapFrog puppy. This book is just perfect for a toddler and has some great features for young children. When the electronic book is first turned on, the story reads out loud automatically as each page is turned. By then pressing the easy-to-push button after reading each page, children can enjoy extra fun elements including songs, phrases, rhymes and questions.
Once the book is complete, pushing the button activates five or ten minutes of lullabies for bedtime while also letting it act as a nightlight. But most incredible of all, the book is also compatible with the Tag Jr. system, LeapFrog’s learn-to-read system designed for children between two and four years of age!
Benjamin loved his My First Book and especially enjoyed the music on every page. He loves singing and dancing and I often found him with his book in his lap as he rocked back and forth to a song and sang nonsense words as the music played! The book is a great way to start to introduce babies to first words and routines and as an added bonus, there are no paper pages to accidentally get destroyed!
Considering my past experiences with LeapFrog products, I expected to be impressed by the learn-to-read educational toys I received, but the Tag Reading System far exceeded my wildest expectations. I am so glad I got the chance to experience LeapFrog’s literacy-building toys for myself and I am sure that my sons will be reading in no time, thanks to LeapFrog!
Buy It: To purchase any of the amazing learn-to-read toys and systems from LeapFrog, check your local toy store or shop online now
Win It: One incredibly lucky reader is going to win a Tag Reading System and a Tag Learn to Read Phonics Short Vowels Book Series, a $75 value, from LeapFrog
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Giveaway ends 11:59 pm CST on June 21, 2011. Open to Canada Only