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 is an electronic reading device that connects to the Internet so that you can download new books for it to read aloud. It works with books printed on special paper, but these Tag books look like regular books and many are classics enjoyed by kids. The system comes with the Tag reader and one book, but to expand your Tag library, you must buy new books at $13.99 each. However, the audio that you download into the Tag reader is free.
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What's it about?
From the makers of the LeapPad and the Leapster comes a new reading system called the TAG READING SYSTEM. This nifty new electronic reader is contained inside a pen-like device which children hold over books that have been printed on special dot-matrix paper. By tapping on a page of the book, the Tag can read the whole page, a word, a phrase, or respond to images on the page. The Tag reader is six inches long and uses two AAA batteries to run. It houses a computer processor, a stereo audio system, and a small infrared camera on the end of the device. By quickly photographing the dots on a page, the Tag can determine where it is on the page and then read to your child. The Tag reader can hold the audio content of up to five books at a time, and you can interchange which books are in its memory by connecting to the Internet. The Tag Reading System comes with one book: Ozzie and Mack by Trish Holland, but additional books are available for $13.99.
At launch, the Tag Reading System has 16 books, two activity boards, and two card sets that work with the Tag reader. Parents can choose which classic and/or activity storybooks they want to add to their child's library by purchasing them and then connecting the Tag to the Internet to download the audio content for free. Choices include such classics as Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, The Little Engine That Could, Olivia, and other kids' favorites. Leapfrog also offers books featuring popular branded characters including Diego (from Go Diego Go), SpongeBob SquarePants, and Kung Fu Panda, with Jack Black's voice featured in the audio.
Is it any good?
Tag is fascinating to hear and see in action. It's simple for kids to hold it like a pen and tap icons, words, or images to make a book come alive with sound and music. By tapping the "Read the Story" icon, the Tag reads the whole book, while indicating when the child should turn the page. Alternatively, the child can tap the "Read the Page" icon or a specific word. Your child can even drag the pen over a series of words to have a sentence read. Touching illustrations will also provide a rich audio response.
But, Tag's greatest feature is that it makes reading fun. With Tag, kids want to touch the words to hear them spoken. The books also contain reading games that focus on vocabulary, phonics, and reading comprehension. And Tag always provides positive feedback so kids feel good about themselves when playing with this electronic reader.
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