Lately on the blog, we’ve been looking at different products to help with children’s literacy. The LeapFrog LeapReader is one that I was really interested in trying out with the boys.
The LeapReader is an electronic reading and writing system in the form of pen which is compatible with a wide selection of books. The LeapReader interacts with the books when your child places the tip of the pen down onto certain parts of the page, this allows the child to get a hint or prompt on words they are finding difficult as they can touch those words and hear them read. It’s great for very early readers as they will need more support and can get it easily through the LeapReader which should help to feel less frustrated with their reading.
All of the children have been using this. I initially thought it would be more for Z (age 5) but they all really like it and depending what books you buy it can be well suited for a wide age range. The LeapReader is recommended from 4-9 and there is also a junior version for age 1-3 years which works on board books.
The LeapReader comes with an activity sampler book and one sheet of Learning Paper for writing. The sampler book gives you an idea of all the different books available as it has a sample from a different book on each page. They are all fully functional pages so it gives you an idea of what level each book is at and the kind of activities included. The boys actually quite liked the variety within this but did have a few clear favourites within the book, one being the Cars Early Reader book. This level is quite easy for Mr Z to read now so he can do it confidently, and Mr T and Mr R get quite excited with their favourite characters like Lightening McQueen!
As well as reading the story, these books also include reading comprehension quizzes which is brilliant to keep the children engaged for longer and to make sure that they have processed and understood what they are reading. This is a really important literacy skill, and it’s great for the children to have a chance to practise in a fun way. I did find with Mr Z in the past, when he was newer to reading, he would be concentrating so hard on decoding the words that he would not always actually know what he had read or pick up the meaning of the story – so after reading a book to me he would want me to read the same one back to him as he wasn’t sure what had actually happened! I think that is quite a common stage that young children would go through as they learn and the LeapReader is ideal for that as they can decode the words themselves and read the sentence, and then use the LeapReader to read it all back to them to reinforce what they have read and using this tool allows children do to all of this more independently.
The reading comprehension quizzes come when the the LeapReader touches the star logos near the bottom of some of the pages. There are also logos to tell the LeapReader to read the whole page, to read one word, to sound out a word, spell a word, and more. When any of the characters are touched then the characters will say phrases and certain areas of the page may result in sound effects.
We were also sent one of the Read on Your Own Series books: Monsters University 3d book.
This is a more complex story so is a great level for Mr Z now, and not something he would grow out of too soon. The boys actually haven’t seen Monsters University yet! But they tend to love anything from Disney Pixar so it’s good to introduce them all to a new story. The Read On Your Own series still have plenty of pictures on the page and are not too overwhelming, but do have a more challenging level of language than the Early Reader books so are perfect to stretch a child’s reading ability. There are reading comprehension and quiz questions within this book too, although not on every page. It’s on about half of the pages. It also comes with 3d glasses which gives the effect of the images popping out of the page a little more.
The LeapReader can also be used to help develop writing skills, when used with the LeapFrog Learning Paper and there are several books with this function – see which ones here. The LeapReader does not write when on any other paper. Being in a pen shape means that children can also practise holding it with their correct tripod grip even when using it to read or for the quiz activities throughout the book, to help them get comfortable with this grip.
Setting up the LeapReader was easy enough. You need to download the LeapFrog Learning Lodge and then connect your device. You can choose content to download through the Learning Lodge and you get one free audio book, trivia challenge and music album download with the LeapReader.
The LeapReader comes with headphones which is handy and it charges through USB rather than having to insert and keep replacing batteries, which is a massive plus for me. We do have other educational electronic toys for the boys that are really good but go through batteries too quickly and I find that really inconvenient, as I’m sure many of you would feel the same.
I would recommend the LeapReader system and will be looking out for some more books to add to the boys’ collection 🙂
Have you tried the LeapReader before? Let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!
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