I absolutely love LeapFrog products. My daughter, Sissy, is in KG and is reading somewhere around a 2nd grade level. I feel that we owe some of that success to LeapFrog. She learned her letter sounds with the help from Letter Factory. She loves that movie and now Bubby loves it too. She has had several LeapFrog items that help and encourage reading and learning. It is so fun for her!
We were so excited to have the opportunity to try out the new LeapReader and host a Ready, Set Read & Write Classroom party. I'll be honest when I first heard there was a new reader pen, I was a little disappointed because it wasn't long ago that we bought Bubby his Tag reader. With most electronics, they are coming out so fast that we can't keep up and can't afford to buy the newest updated version. Those feelings of quickly disappeared as I started to try out the new LeapReader. There are so many awesome changes. The first 2 that caught my eye - lots more space (we desperately needed this and it is rechargeable through USB! YES! No more batteries! Music to my ears...ironic considering I'm a music teacher. ;) I LOVE the LeapReader so do the kids.
I hosted a classroom party at my school to show off the LeapReaders. I targeted my Kindergarten and 1st grade students. All the kids that tried it out loved it.
The parents loved it too. One Mom was telling me about some great discounted Tag deals she recently found. She was so excited to see the newest version.
I decided to show different ways the new LeapReader can be used in a classroom. I know I'm not a "classroom" teacher, but I do use lots of books in my class and I know how important reading is.
I am lucky enough to have a lightspeed sound system system, laptop, projector, and document camera in my room. With this set up, I was able to use the LeapReader with an entire group of students. The document camera projected the book image for the everyone to see. The LeapReader was plugged into the sounds system so it was nice and loud throughout the room.
You would have thought they were watching a movie!
There is a new writing component. The books have special writing paper between each page. When the child uses the pen on the special paper it will leave marks on it so they can see what the wrote. The pen directs the student to write the letters on the paper and can actually tell what they are writing. It is pretty picky about not lifting the pen on some letters. I know some schools use different handwriting programs and may not like the LeapFrog way, but our school doesn't have a specific program. The only down side is the paper is really meant to be used only once. They do come with extra paper and there is still tons to do in the book that isn't on the special paper.
Students can use them in a listening station with headphones to work on individual skills.
Flash Cards take on a whole new meaning with LeapReader. These are interactive. You can make your own words and practice blending. You can play several different games. There is a list of words to reference like a portable "word wall."
My favorite part! It has learning songs on the pen. I we listened to and sang some of the LeapReader learning songs and my students were so excited because many of them have heard them before in their favorite LeapFrog movie. There are several learning songs to pick from like ABC's, AEIOU, Punctuation, blending, etc. Teachers can use the pen plugged into any speakers they have whether a classroom sound system, computer speakers, or portable speakers to have the students sing and learn.
It also has a Trivia fun. It tells cool animal facts. The kids love cool facts that they can share and they are learning science. There are maps bundles that can be purchased as well, so they can learn geography, world culture, science, etc. There's even a math writing book.
Audio books are another section. There are books that the children can listen to without a book. This can help them increase their imagination as they picture in their heads what is happening in the story. This is actually a big part of reading. Many kids that struggle with reading have a hard time imagining what settings and characters look like without pictures.
So, needless to say, I am very impressed. I imagine this will be a hot Christmas item this year. If you aren't sure if it is worth upgrading to the new LeapReader from the Tag, it is! I'm a cheapskate so if it wasn't worth it I would just say stick with the older LeapTag, but there is just so much more this thing can do. You can still use your LeapFrog Tag books (thank goodnes!!) It's worth it in just the batteries you'll save by reacharging!
Here's a video showing how we used the LeapReader in the classroom!
I received free LeapFrog products to host a LeapReader Party. All opinions are my own.