What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is an excellent educational learning aid, but young children may need help turning the pages because the cord to the stylus can get in the way.
What's it about?
The LEAPPAD LEARNING SYSTEM is a "smart toy" for kids ages 4 to 10 that looks like a giant plastic book. Inside is a stylus and molded space in which to insert a book; you insert a software cartridge on the side and the LeapPad starts encouraging the child to interact with the book. The software comes with an introductory book. There are more than 60 titles, sold separately, in four categories: LeapStart, for preschoolers-kindergarteners; Leap 1, for kids in preschool-first grade; Leap 2, for grades one to three; and Leap 3, for grades three to five.
The books are interactive, offering sounds, music, and games; kids must press a green "Go" sign on each page so the software recognizes the page. Stories in the LeapStart books are read aloud. In Leap 1 books, kids can also touch any word to have it read, spelled, or sounded out. For older children, stories aren't read but kids can hear individual words pronounced.
Is it any good?
With 60 diverse titles, this system delivers a ton of education in a fun, interactive way. It is a great tool for helping children learn to read, especially at the age when they need help sounding out words. It is replayable and will grow with the child. It is also an economic choice for families with several children since the platform offers content for various ages.
The system has a few slight design flaws that kid-testers noticed, but these did not slow them down. The cord tethering the stylus can get in the way of turning pages; younger children may require some help. Also, kids often forget to touch the "Go" button on a new page, so the content will not be synced to the audio and hotspots on the page. The LeapPad Learning System costs $49.99 and each software book runs about $15; this upgradable system weighs in at substantially less than buying a computer system for a child.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about learning to read. Use the techniques from the software to help your kids as you read together. Ask them to read their LeapPad books aloud to you, and play the games together.