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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've been debating for more than a year about getting our son the Leap Frog Tag reading system. We never got it because it's just darn expensive... I can go buy the same books at B&N for cheaper. Granted, they can't be read by a pen (ie: the child themselves), but it's the same book. Recently we reconsidered getting it though, it looks like the Leap Frog "My First Leappad" is not being renewed. All the books are exhorbitantly expensive online (like crazily so) and then when I went to Toys R Us, Wal Mart, AND Target, the only one the stores had (if they had any) was the princess one. So I look on Amazon cuz I went to go update his wishlist today before I wrote his birthday invitation... they have it on Amazon for just $35 instead of the regular $50.

But here's what I keep coming back to... and you can call me a dork As a parent and a teacher, I worry that this kind of "toy" will create a sense of "reading entertainment" for my son... as in later down the road he'll come to expect pens to read his books for him whereas he won't need to read the books. IE: heavy on the entertainment, little to no value on the READING.

What do you guys think?
 

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On the one hand, anything that encourages a child to interact with books would seem to be a good thing. On the other hand, I'm not sure how large the window is where such a tool would be useful: if after 6 months the child is reading on his own and does not need it, then is it worth the price? And on the gripping hand (a Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle reference :) ), do you have any independent literature suggesting that this tool actually helps a child learn to read faster? (At first blush to me it would seem likely to be beneficial since presumably a child could then spend time "reading" without someone else there to do the reading; but is he really learning to read the words he scans, or just how to use the pen device? I have no way of knowing.)

So I guess that's a complete cop-out on my part, but hopefully it gives you a little useful food for thought.
 

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I feel lucky. We were given a LeapPad for my grandson that another kid outgrew. I did go to Ebay though looking for books and cartridges. There seems to be a lot available there so maybe you want to check that.

My grandson considers his LeapPad to be his "Kindle".  (Bad grandma suggesting that  ;) ... se he'd keep his hands of my toy!)
 

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We got this for our son's 4th b-day. He hasn't touched it ever. Maybe he's too young?
He would rather I read to him, or he pretends/has memorized the books and does it by himself.
 

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I'm actually going to look at one tomorrow as I'm considering buying it for my granddaughter's 3rd birthday.  She loves books and I really think she would love this pen. At almost 3 she can maneuver around the Nick, Jr. website better than I can...it absolutely amazes me so I don't think she'll have a problem with the pen.  The kids today are just so smart. 
 

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As the mom of 3 kids who are all older now, my advice would be to put the money into age-appropriate books and keep doing that. Fill your house with books. Read to your child every night. Nothing makes a better reader out of a child then having books be a part of their life.

I bought the Leapfrog stuff when my youngest child was little thinking it would help him enjoy books more. It didn't. It was a waste of money as he quickly outgrew the need for help with reading.  I find all the kids find the books themselves to be more interesting. Also consider age-appropriate word search books and coloring books. They all add up to kids who love to to read.

If you want something to entertain him on his own, go for building things not electronics. Puzzles, Legos, building blocks all stimulate the parts of the brain that address learning and math. That would be my advice for where to spend the money. Electronics become addictive to kids as they age. Why start them out younger than we need to?

EllenR
 

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To me the LeapFrog pen is the speak and spell of today.  My kids loved speak and spell 25 years ago...it made spelling fun and  helped them a lot.  My daughter is now a teacher and has literally a few thousand children's books.  There isn't a book my granddaughter doesn't have so this is just a toy that I don't ever see replacing the books she loves.   
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You guys have given me some good things to think about, perfect reason why I posted here :)  We were more considering this as a travel toy (we do long drives to camping locations about 3-4 times a year) which is what he uses the LeapPad for right now.  So while some toys don't convert to traveling well (legos and other manipulatives), I think this won't be the best purchase for either.  We loved his preschool and they helped teach him SO much and he's recognizing words and everything so in just a few months to one year I can foresee this being outgrown VERY fast.  I'll keep pondering in case anybody else has anything else to add.
 

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Shadowraven said:
You guys have given me some good things to think about, perfect reason why I posted here :) We were more considering this as a travel toy (we do long drives to camping locations about 3-4 times a year) which is what he uses the LeapPad for right now. So while some toys don't convert to traveling well (legos and other manipulatives), I think this won't be the best purchase for either. We loved his preschool and they helped teach him SO much and he's recognizing words and everything so in just a few months to one year I can foresee this being outgrown VERY fast. I'll keep pondering in case anybody else has anything else to add.
Exactly...I think as a travel toy it's great. I actually found it for 50% off at Kohl's tonight. Not sure how long it will be on sale!!! I love a bargain especially when it comes to kids toys because you never know if they are going to like it or not!
 

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I've taught reading for 26 years, and as far as I'm concerned, any way that you can incorporate reading into your child's life is a plus. The best thing that you can do is read to your child, as well as keep him/her surrounded with books of all kinds. I think the Leap Frog Tag system sounds great for those times when you're either not able to sit down and read with your child, or when your child wants/needs a change of pace. As far as I'm concerned, a child can NEVER have too many books, nor can he/she be read to (in any way) too much.  I think the system that you're considering would be a great travel toy, as well as something to be used other places.  I love the idea of Mzbull's grandson having his own "Kindle!"

When the question was asked about whether the child will actually learn how to read or just learn that the pen does the reading, my answer is that all connections made with the reading process will benefit a child's reading. Even if the child is only listening to the story, he or she is developing listening comprehension, learning to be engaged in the auditory part of the reading process, and, in many cases (especially with a bit of encouragement), is learning to develop his or her visual perception of what is being heard. (I teach children who have difficulty reading to imagine that there is a video running in their heads as the story is being read. The children, of course, add their individual touches to their mental pictures of what they are reading and/or listening to, and they take more ownership in the process of reading and in the selection/story being read. This makes them more aware of inconsistencies that might arise if they misread something. If it creates a picture in their imagination that in incongruent with the other pictures that they've been forming, they will often go back to see where the mistake was made.) 

Both of my daughters have always loved to read, with the youngest beginning to read at a year old. They both insisted on having a pile of books in their cribs, and we never went anywhere without tote bags full of books. To this day, they read a lot, as do I. I literally surrounded them with books, and am glad that I did.  I think it's wonderful when parents, grandparents, and other important people in children's lives do what they can to pass on their love of reading to the children in their lives. Go for it. What do you have to lose?
 

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Shadowraven said:
We loved his preschool and they helped teach him SO much and he's recognizing words and everything so in just a few months to one year I can foresee this being outgrown VERY fast.
I think that would be the key for me. Your kid is almost a reader, so I think it might be too late for him to get much use out of this.
 

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My kids are younger -- they're 2 and 5 months -- but I'm not a big fan of toys that "do stuff." (Not that we don't have plenty of those types of toys, thanks to Grandma and Grandpa!)

Personally, I don't think that pricey toys like Leap Frogs are terribly necessary. Kids can certainly learn to read and learn to love reading just as easily without them as with them ... so why not save the money? :)

 

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WHY AM I CRAZY????

When I read the title of this thread I thought you were scared that the Leap frog would be 'reading your thoughts'

I was thinking, "omg another crazy person that thinks technology can somehow read her kids' thoughts." Meanwhile I WAS THE CRAZY PERSON!

LOL I need to pay more attention to the wording in the thread titles.
 

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koolmnbv said:
WHY AM I CRAZY????

When I read the title of this thread I thought you were scared that the Leap frog would be 'reading your thoughts'

I was thinking, "omg another crazy person that thinks technology can somehow read her kids' thoughts." Meanwhile I WAS THE CRAZY PERSON!

LOL I need to pay more attention to the wording in the thread titles.
You probably just overlooked the dash. Too funny!
 

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When I was little, I had a bunch of picture books with cassette tapes which read the story and beeped to tell me when to turn the page. I got over the tapes (though I loved the Yoda voice; if they didn't have Frank Oz do it, they had a great imitator) when I realized I could read faster without them.
 

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chevauchee said:
When I was little, I had a bunch of picture books with cassette tapes which read the story and beeped to tell me when to turn the page. I got over the tapes (though I loved the Yoda voice; if they didn't have Frank Oz do it, they had a great imitator) when I realized I could read faster without them.
My experience along those lines has been when my students suddenly come to the same realization about reading faster than the tapes. It's unbelievable what an impact such a "light bulb" moment can have on a child, especially one who has struggled with reading proficiency. The boost in self-confidence is great.
 

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chevauchee said:
When I was little, I had a bunch of picture books with cassette tapes which read the story and beeped to tell me when to turn the page. I got over the tapes (though I loved the Yoda voice; if they didn't have Frank Oz do it, they had a great imitator) when I realized I could read faster without them.
When I was little, those were on records! :D
In fact, I still have them! And, they are all Disney stories.
 
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