Learning to Read in Leaps and Bounds

We've just had our initial parent-teacher conferences, and I'm happy to note that 3Po and Jammy couldn't be doing better. Their teachers are very pleased with their progress in reading, and I'm giving credit to all the reading Alfie did with them over the summer, and to the reading they did on their own with the Leapfrog Tag. Now Leapfrog has come up with a series of phonics books for the Tag, and I think it's helping them even more. We were sent 2 sets to review; here's what we thought of them:

The Basics
The Tag Learn to Read Phonics helps beginning readers set out on their own by letting kids use the Tag to help them identify words and letter sounds. Series 1 is all about the short vowels. Series 2 tackles the long vowels, silent E and Y.

Here's what Leapfrog has to say about the Learn to Read phonics books: Use your Tag™ Reader to make phonics skills spring to life! The Tag Learn to Read Series combines fun stories with rich audio to help children identify letter sounds and hear how they come together to form words. Each six-book set introduces a different series of skills, helping children build confidence with the fundamentals of reading.

The Bongga
I think this is what the Tag was born to do. It allows 3Po and Jammy to practice without me hovering over them, so they get a nice mix of learning with mom and dad, and learning on their own. The books have just the right mix of easy and challenging words for my sons' reading level (as in, they've figured out how to sound words out, they can already sight read some simple words and they can sound out almost all the rest). They have moved beyond the BOB books but aren't quite ready for beginning reader books, and this series gives them the confidence to read on their own.

Note on the video that 3Po only uses the Tag if he's unsure (and kids seem to know when they're reading the word wrong), he doesn't use it for every single word. I think kids really do want to read on their own -- but the great thing about the Tag is that it is there to help them out if they get stuck.

The Blah
I could not for the life of me figure out what the yellow-highlighted words or letters (such as "ea" in the word "Leap" in the photo below) were on these Tag books! There was no explanation on the box nor on any of the books. It took me ages to understand that the yellow-highlighted words are words that the Tag does not break up phonetically; if you point the Tag on them, it will read out the word or letter blend in its entirety (such as "ur" in "turns" in the photo below). A parent guide with explanations and tips would have helped!

The Bottom Line
The Tag Learn to Read phonics series combine good old-fashioned sounding words out with the coolness of the Tag to help kids learn to read.

I received a product sample for this post, but no monetary compensation. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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