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LeapFrog  
Tag Reading System
Type: Educational, Gear
From: LeapFrog
Usage: General Use, Macintosh, Windows PC
Tag Reading System
A book that reads itself aloud. A book that reads aloud along with you or for you. A book that reads out singularly selected words from the page. A book plays phonetic games based on those words on the page. Tag, you're it.
Posted January 15, 2009
By SHAUN CONLIN, EVERGEEK MEDIA
 
About ten times better than LeapFrog's well-meaning but wholly unwieldy LeapPad read-along book & stylus system, the new Tag Reading System is as intuitive as it is practical.

A two-piece reading/comprehension/vocabulary/phonetics tool for kids aged roughly four to eight, specially printed Tag storybooks books are interacted with by way of an elegant, easy-grip, battery-operated Jiffy Marker-like stylus which houses a computer chip, ocular reader, and speaker.

Touched words and letters (and pictures, in some cases) will verbally reiterate those words and letters, or speak out the entire page being viewed, or read out the entire story, chime/turn the page-style. Heck, put the book down and ignore the follow-along-chime and the Tag stylus is an automated bedtime story reader (and the book will be that much more familiar when the kid wakes up in the morning).

Tag will also call out little hints, suggestions, and activities as the child tries to make the connection between letter-sounds and the words they're found in, word sounds and the sentences they're found in. Sometimes, it'll just make goofy (but contextually relevant) sounds when touching the accompanying illustrations.

Cool too, interaction with each of any Tag storybook (one included, more sold separately at $13.99 a pop) is also self "leveling" to match the pace of the kid using it.

Speaking of "leveling," the stylus is conspicuously larger than a crayon or pencil (it's Jumbo Jiffy-sized, as mentioned), so the budding bibliophile might find the learning curved associated with just handling the thing somewhat-bothersome, particularly when trying to pin-point select words, or worse, individual letters without smudging through a couple other words or letters. It can be frustrating for those of early-development motor skill, but such is life. Get a grip, kid.

Tag is also the third (of three) new LeapFrog systems to integrate LeapFrog's "The Learning Path," a PC/USB connected online hub of tools, rewards, expanding activities and, in Tag's specific case, the actual audio code to go along with the hardcover storybooks bought in-store.
 
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4 (out of 5)