Learning to read is a huge developmental milestone for our kids. It’s been exciting to watch my two big girls walk through the process of learning their letters and then linking them into words. My eldest, now nine, is already a confirmed bookworm and spends hours in the imaginary world of EJ12 and her crazy spy-based adventures. (Makes all those hours I spent reading to her from birth worth the effort!)
Our youngest is off to school next year. Thanks to her teaching obsessed big sisters she already has a good grasp of the alphabet and has started sounding out the odd word. She’s interested and wants to know more about this reading words caper! So, after attending a blogger event for the new LeapReader a little while back I was excited to see just how she would react to the educational play-based learning that the new LeapReader offers.
As with most new toys all three of our girls were very keen to get their little hands on the LeapReader. It’s full of stories, educational games, catchy music and general knowledge – as well as having the potential to assist with reading and writing development. That little pen packs a punch when it comes to what it can do!
Okay, time for a very basic and non-technological overview of how it works. When the chunky LeapReader pen is touched onto the pages of the specially printed books it talks. Sensors pick out individual words, letter or information related to that stage of the book. It can tell if you point to the correct dinosaur or body part on the page as well as reading to you the words in a story or singing you a song. The kids think it’s magical and miss five in particular is in love with it. The pen also writes on the specially provided paper (and only the specially provided paper) allowing children to practice letter formation with encouragement and guidance from the pen.
We were lucky enough to be gifted several of the LeapReader books including a couple designed to specifically work on writing skills and I have noticed a big jump in miss fives skill levels. The fact that the LeapReader makes learning so much fun means she has been learning almost by accident and is genuinely keen to pick up the pen most days. And I think that in itself is my favourite thing about the LeapReader. In all honestly I don’t really care if she can read or write before she starts school and don’t like to pressure her into learning. But if she can learn while having fun that’s just perfect!
LeapReader ($99.99) comes with two audio books and five songs preloaded. You can purchase additional interactive books, audio books and music. (The pen has another 256MB space available.) The range is big with over 100 items available – meaning you can extend the life of the pen a long way if you’re happy to keep buying more resources for it. The pen also works with the previous Tag Reading system – which is good to know if you already have a few of those on hand.