A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this product doesn't always work the way it should, but it can help jumpstart a reluctant writer and it does play all of the books in the regular LeapPad library.
What's it about?
The LEAPPAD PLUS learning aid looks just like its predecessor, the LeapPad Learning System: a blue plastic laptop turned on its side. But instead of the original stylus, this learning aid has a stylus that, when twisted on the top, turns into a mechanical pencil. It plays all the regular LeapPad books and comes with an introductory book showcasing material utilizing the pencil. Leapfrog has created six separate book/software titles specifically for this system that encourage children to use the pencil (there is also an eraser so pages can be used again).
The pre-kindergarten material features mazes and shapes, making a silly clicking noise when the child traces over dotted lines. In 1st Grade Reading & Writing, kids are asked to use the pencil to make decisions like circling a letter that starts a word.
Is it any good?
The books that focus on using the pencil met with mixed success when tested by kids. When children got down to the serious business of learning to write the letters of the alphabet in the pre-kindergarten material, the software was spotty and inconsistent. Sometimes it would recognize correct copying but sometimes it wouldn't. The first grade book/software worked better, but is still unsophisticated.
If you have a reluctant writer and you were planning to purchase a LeapPad Learning System to help teach him/her to read, this version might be worth it because the added sounds and encouragement may provide just the motivation your child needs. But plan to work with the child so that if the software isn't responding correctly, you can help. However, if you already own a LeapPad system, this Plus Writing system doesn't seem worth the investment.
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