Leapfrog Releases LeapReader

Yesterday I had the chance to test the final retail version of LeapFrog’s LeapReader, which will be in stores June 27.  I was extremely pleased and I think reading teachers will be too.  New features, at a glance:

  • Rechargeable lithium ion batteries, that charge from your laptop.
  • 16x the memory of Tag (256 MB)
  • A responsive, light up LED control panel, with colors that indicate which mode you are in.
  • Clear stereo audio, that is a noticeable improvement over Tag.

Despite being a bit chunky — LeapReader feels and looks about the same size as Tag —  it provided an extremely responsive experience both for reading (decoding) and writing (encoding). I’m using the fancy literacy terms intentionally,  because this $50 device could have significant implications for reading and writing pedagogy. There are apps that do the same thing, but the conventions of print and tangible objects that require an old fashioned pincer grasp will never go out of style. After my test, I talked with LeapFrog President John Barbour, and I asked him if they were going to target schools with this device. (You might recall the now defunct LeapFrog Schools initiative). His answer was “no” due to the tangled process of working with school purchasing practices. I think this is a smart move, however, teachers should know about, and implement this technology as a supplement to app-based early reading experiences. At Toys R Us or Walmart, Preschool and early elementary teachers can purchase a literacy tool that can really help children learn to read. And it can go home in a backpack at the end of the day. Or the reverse. I also tried the LeapPad Ultra. Stay tuned for a review in our July issue.

LeapReader from Leapfrog

LeapReader from Leapfrog

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