I was given the opportunity by the Rainbow Toy Awards 2013 to review the LeapReader from LeapFrog and the Monsters University LeapReader book.
The LeapReader from LeapFrog is one of a group of products I've always been a bit dubious about. I thought they were gimmicky and very limited. Now that I've tried it, and my younger 2 sons have tried it, I've changed my mind. It's excellent.
I've included an ordinary ballpoint pen in the picture below to give you an idea of size.
The way that LeapReader works is genius. The paper is covered with a tiny and unobtrusive pattern that can be 'read' by the LeapReader and directs it to perform without obscuring the pictures or text at all.
The book that comes with the LeapReader is full of a massive variety of sample pages from the huge range of books available. There are 6 different sections 'Getting Ready To Read', 'Early Reading', 'Read On Your Own', 'Read & Write' and 'Learn Through Reading', plus 'Audio Books, Learning Songs and Trivia Fun'. I hadn't realised you can also 'write' with the LeapReader, and the addition of 'writing paper' on which the LeapReader can make marks when it can't make them anywhere else adds a whole other dimension, making the LeapReader at approximately £40 even better value.
|Okay, my kids trashed the LeapReader Learning Paper before I could take a photo - but you get the idea|
Because the LeapReader talks to you, it's incredibly simple to use and any child (or parent) can get to grips with it instantly. It has only 4 buttons on the front, plus an on/off button and a socket for headphones! When listening to audio books on the go, or even when using a book, your child doesn't need to be distracted - or interrupt the rest of the family. It is powered by recharging via USB, making it incredibly handy and saving a fortune on batteries. Each charge lasts very well, we haven't yet had to recharge after 5 days use.
|My 3 year old completing a game and my 5 year old listening to a story.|
Each double page offers more of the story, plus many objects to interact with. Almost anywhere that you place the pen, you will find something else to make a noise, give you information or initiate a puzzle or game. Several of the pages within the book also feature specific games and different levels. My children are nowhere near completing even half of it.
Overall I think the LeapReader Reading and Writing System is a fantastic tool for promoting and encouraging reading and writing, and a love of books. My boys have used it like a book, playing with it for 10-15 minutes, then moving on and coming back to it a while later. My younger son is 3 1/2, but he adores any books, so he thinks this is fantastic. He also sees his brother learning to read and wants to join in, so despite being just below the suggested age range, he's taking as much from this as my 5 year old. They both find it enthralling, and we still only have what came with the LeapReader initially and 1 extra book.
The LeapReader has masses of scope and the range of books features Maths skills and all kinds of General Knowledge and Science, History and Geography amongst many other things. I'm incredibly impressed, my children love it and it's teaching them too. At £40 it would be a main present in my house, but there are deals easily found for the books, so in my opinion it's good value for money and I would recommend it for boys and girls.
My reviewing children are aged exactly 3 1/2 and 5 (next week). We were sent the LeapReader Reading and Writing Learning System and Monsters University book to review as part of the review process for the Rainbow Toy Awards 2013.