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Jump Start Your Child’s Interest In Books With The Tag Reading System From LeapFrog – Product Review

Pink Tag Reader

Pink Tag Reader

The LeapFrog Tag Reader was waiting at our front door upon our arrival from preschool last Thursday. Priority shipped directly from the good people at LeapFrog Enterprises as part of a giveaway promotion and literacy program, the Tag Reader and two extra books became an instant favorite, can’t live without, necessity for my preschoolers. 

An agonizing (for the kiddos yet hells kitchen type stress for me) six minutes past as I unboxed the Tag Reader and followed the simple two-step setup. Olivia and Hailey both could barely wait that long for me to scrounge up two AAA batteries and install the Tag Reader software to their desktop computer. The Tag Reader’s packaging was clear in direction and thankfully the software loaded up quickly. Within a few minutes I had the two extra books’ (A Scooby Doo and Green eggs and Ham) audio files downloaded to the Tag Reader and just in the nick of time, before the kiddo’s anticipation deteriorated and excessive nagging mayhem ensued.

Scooby Doo Shiny Spooky Knights

Scooby Doo Shiny Spooky Knights

As I fumbled through the instruction booklet for several minutes trying to figure out how the smart toy worked with the books, Olivia intuitively had the Tag Reader completely mastered. I didn’t need to explain anything to her and before I knew it she was teaching Hailey how to operate it. I put the instruction booklet back in the box, sat back and enjoyed the (rare) cooperative moment.

Hailey, four years old, was not a book person before last week. In the past, during the nightly routine of story time with Kim, she would flit around, her attention elsewhere. The Tag Reader has turned that around. Within a week she has become engaged in books and not just the Tag Reader books but all their books which combined, out numbers the amount of toilet paper squares within our household.

Olivia is a book connoisseur, a journal writer, a story teller and scribbler of sorts. She must have at least five books on her nightstand before the final tuck-in and sometimes she falls asleep with a book covering her face shielding her from reality or maybe she’s just hiding her eyes from the strong light emanating from Hailey’s bedside lamp. She does enjoy the story telling aspect of the Tag Reader especially the recognizable characters, for instance the voices from Scooby Doo. She also enjoys the thought provoking mini games and likes hearing the Tag Reader tell her that she has received a new award for an accomplished challenge.

Surprisingly, the Tag reader was not tossed into one of many bottomless toy chests where most their stuff ends up, but instead, has been trophied by Hailey and proudly resides on her nightstand where it is readily accessible. It didn’t take long for Olivia and Hailey to convince me to buy them two new Tag Activity Storybooks, “Olivia” the pig and Disney’s Ariel “Adventures Under the Sea.”

I thought it would be a fun activity to “play” journalist with the kiddos and set up an exclusive interview with each of them. This is what transpired:
FOTB: When is your favorite time of day to do the Tag?
Olivia: When Hailey doesn’t want to play with me, I play it.
Hailey: Friday

FOTB: Where do you use the Tag Reader?
Olivia: By the computer.
Hailey: The Living room

FOTB: Who do you like to play the Tag Reader with?
Olivia: Daddy
Hailey: Daddy
FOTB: [Hold on, head is swelling].

FOTB: How does the Tag work?
Olivia: Press the Tag on the book and enjoy the story or play the games.
Hailey: By pressing the buttons [icon buttons].

FOTB: What is your favorite aspect, err, thing about the Tag?
Olivia: The games.
Hailey: Playing Ariel.

FOTB: [Here comes the hard nosed journalist]. What don’t you like about the Tag?
Olivia: I don’t like the present [icons] that reads just one page.
FOTB: [Here comes follow up]. So you would rather hear the whole story all the way through?
Olivia: Yes.
Hailey: Playing the diamonds.
FOTB: What are the diamonds?
Hailey: I’ll show you [points to diamonds in the Ariel book].
FOTB: What do the diamonds do?
Hailey: You have to catch all the diamonds.

My assessment of the Tag Reading System; one small limitation (sorry ‘bout this LeapFrog folks but I have to be honest here), I found with the Tag Reading System is the lack of memory. Only fifteen or sixteen megabytes of storage and each audio file consumes about three megs, meaning that the Tag can only hold five books. However anything that helps kids get into reading and literacy is a great thing and has my seal of approval especially since books have to compete with computers, video games, DVDs and so many other high tech toys.

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