Posts Tagged ‘technology and gaming’

Review: Leapfrog Tag Reading System

In September we had the chance to review the new Leapfrog Tag Junior reading system, designed to encourage the love of books with kids 2 to 4. My two-year old enjoyed using the Tag Junior during her review; she still does. After that review I had a number of people ask me how the original Tag Reading System compares to the Tag Junior. So the wonderful people at Leapfrog Canada‘s public relations company sent along a Tag and the book Fly High, Fly Guy for a comparison.

Ready, Set, Read

When the Leapfrog Tag arrived my son was ecstatic. He has been using his younger sister’s Tag Junior but the reading material isn’t very challenging for a boy who is at the early reading stage. The Tag Reading System comes with the book Ozzie and Mack. The audio is preloaded on the Tag pen so my son could start using it right away, which of course he did.

Works with Tag Junior Books too

We discovered you can also use the Tag pen to read the Tag Junior books. This is great news if you already have a Tag Junior for either a younger child or your child is transitioning up to the Tag. You will need to download the audio from the Tag Junior books onto the pen. (On the audio download page, look for the Tag Junior picture on the bottom of the page). Keep in mind that the Tag will read the Tag Junior books the same way the Tag Junior reads them, as a whole page, not word by word. The Tag Junior however cannot read the Tag books.

Beyond Reading

The Leapfrog Tag Reading System can be used as a reading tool in a few different ways: you can have the whole story read to you with audio prompts to turn the pages as you follow along, you can have the story read page-by-page at your child’s pace, or your child can read and use the pen to help with the tricky words. The Tag can read each individual word that you point to.

But the Leapfrog Tag Reading System offers great learning and fun beyond just reading the story or having it read to you. Kids can use the pen to explore the page; touch elements or people in the story to hear dialog or sounds beyond the story. My son loved finding these hidden gems. He felt more involved in the story, choosing what to discover. There are also games and quizzes in the story. Your child can choose to play along or not by selecting the appropriate icon at the bottom of the page.

My five-year old son loves using the Tag. He can easily spend an hour quietly reading, learning and enjoying one of the Tag stories:

You can store a number of books on the Tag pen so switching from story to story is easy; just touch the page of the new story and the Tag pen finds the right audio clip. The interactivity of the Tag keeps the stories from becoming too repetitive and boring. Now my son loves to read along with the story. The Tag also gives my son time to explore and learn on his own, without any mom, dad or big sister looking over his shoulder.

Leapfrog’s Learning Path: Discover What your Child is Learning

Like the Tag Junior, the Leapfrog Tag Reading System is enabled with the Leapfrog Learning Path system. By connecting the Tag pen to your computer with the supplied USB cable you can discover what your child is learning. The Learning Path will tell you what books your child uses and for how long, what areas they excel in and what areas they need more practice, plus you’ll find out where they sit skill wise compared to standard levels by grade.  If you’ve never used the Learning Path program before, you will need to install the Leapfrog Connect software (CD provided).

Connecting online also enables you do download the audio for other Tag or Tag Junior books you own. Plus as your child completes sections of the book they will receive a reward, like a door hanger or maze you can printout. My son was always asking me to connect to the computer to discover what new reward he revealed. Using certain Tag books can also unlock online games for your kids to enjoy.

Fun, interactive learning

My son doesn’t have a long attention span, unless Lego is involved, but he could sit and listen, play, read and learn with the Leapfrog Tag Reading System for an hour or more. He loved interacting with the story and it’s helped him with word recognition in other stories.

Manufacturer: Leapfrog
Age: 4 to 8
MSRP ($Cdn): $59.99, includes reader, USB connection cable and one pre-loaded book
Additional Books ($Cdn): $14.97

Unsure if you should be getting the Leapfrog Tag or Leapfrog Tag Junior? Maybe my handy comparison chart will help.

What did we do without it?

When packing for a trip, there are a few items that are a must on any trip: change of underwear, toothbrush and paste, clean socks, NDS portable gaming system and the video iPod.

Yes you read that correctly, an NDS and iPod are on my list of essential items. I think if I was enroute to my destination and realized I had left either of these behind I wouldn’t think twice about turning around to pick them up.

We have one iPod that contains all our kids movies and shows.  This saves countless hours of whining and fighting and the dreaded ‘are we there yet?’ And some hotels have inputs that enable us to plug the iPod directly into the TV. Now there’s no need to worry if there are any kid friendly programs on.

The NDS game system occupies my kids in the car, on the airplane, in the airport; basically anywhere the kids need to sit quietly for thirty-minutes or more.

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Enjoying a quiet gaming moment

airportds

Even airport waiting is enjoyable with a NDS

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Basking in the NDS glow

It does make me wonder how my parents survived when we travelled. I’m sure my sister and I weren’t the most patient and understanding tots.  I guess there were books to look at and songs to sing and games to play. I don’t know what we did because I don’t remember. But then again, maybe I don’t remember because we didn’t do a lot of travelling.