Opinions on these reading wands? (or whatever they are called) - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-20-2009, 02:08 AM
 
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I don't actually believe they are educational. My older son is learning to read in much better ways and not from this thing.

But my honest gauge of whether a toy stays or not is if my child enjoys it.
Hmm...different experiences. I love the company...the LMAX taught my DD to read a week before she turned 3. I'm not into pushing my kids to do anything at that age, so while we did lots of reading, ambient word posters, etc. etc. I wasn't doing flashcards or anything actively obnoxious like that. She loved the little graphics, cartoons, games...and I'll be darned, it taught her to read (no, not just recognize sight words). It opened up her world.

And *my* honest gauge of whether a toy stays is totally if she likes it or not. WTH is the point otherwise? If this were so, my house would be covered in gender-neutral wooden blocks crafted by magical gnomes in a primeval forest from sustainable wood, yadda yadda yadda.
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:24 AM
 
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Oh nevermind. There's no point.

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Old 11-20-2009, 02:19 PM
 
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Yooper, we have rechargeable batteries. Tossing batteries in the trash is definitely a HUGE concern for us. We don't have much that needs batteries, but even from a cost stand point, it's so much more economical to use rechargeable.

And Riverscout, I don't celebrate plastic toys (well, except for the jeep, but I've wanted one for her long before she was born ). In the case of this book I have only questioned the concern that it will damage or impede childrens ability to read. This thread has taken a million turns, and unfortunately didn't turn out well, for my part I'm sorry. But back on the first page, my only point was to illustrate an electronic book A.) will not replace me as a parent, and B.) is not going to impede my kids ability to read BECAUSE this book is not her sole source of reading material. It's a toy. A game.

I don't get people's concern over this book. Is all. Like it or don't like it. But the concern I do not get. I really don't.

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Old 11-20-2009, 05:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
But back on the first page, my only point was to illustrate an electronic book A.) will not replace me as a parent, and B.) is not going to impede my kids ability to read BECAUSE this book is not her sole source of reading material. It's a toy. A game.

I don't get people's concern over this book. Is all. Like it or don't like it. But the concern I do not get. I really don't.
Okay, so I'll leave out environmental concerns about limited-life disposable battery-operated plastic toys, general dislike of annoying electronic toys and/or "educational" toys, and concerns about marketing to young children (Poingo books are all Disney including a Hanna Montana one ) and solely focus on those two points A)potential to replace parents and B) potential to impede reading ability.

***DISCLAIMER: The thoughts below are all my opinions and how I see these types of products and how that relates to me and my kids. They are not based on any evidence but rather my own gut which is what I am assuming those that do like them are basing their opinions on as well. I am not implying anything about any parent who may have purchased or allowed one of these items for their children nor am I implying their children have been damaged in any way.***

I'll start with A) potential to replace parent. Now while I don't think this reader could come in and replace me altogether and that I would never read to my child again, I'm concerned that it could eat into some of the time I get to spend reading to her because she would be having that need/want met by some electronic device. Would that necessarily happen? I don't know, but I see it as a potential problem, thus it arises concern.

Which leads me to B) potential to impede reading. If I were reading to her less, and this thing was reading to her more, I'd be concerned that her reading ability may be at least affected if not impeded. Also, I'm concerned about some of the activities that some of these things have on them in addition to just reading the stories. I don't care for the way a lot of these "educational" toys present information, and I think in some cases it can be detrimental.

To be clear, I'm not afraid of these toys. I'm certain my daughter would not be irreparably harmed if she played with one. But I think they are less than ideal to say the least and would strongly prefer that she not have one. If she chose to keep one that someone gave her, I'd probably let her, but I could see the potential for me having to actively mitigate the effects and having to impose some limits.

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Old 11-20-2009, 06:29 PM
 
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I'll start with A) potential to replace parent. Now while I don't think this reader could come in and replace me altogether and that I would never read to my child again, I'm concerned that it could eat into some of the time I get to spend reading to her because she would be having that need/want met by some electronic device.
Again, it's a toy, and it is not at all like being read to by a real person, so I don't understand how it can meet that need, much less cut into time being read to by a real person (any more than playing with a puzzle or any other toy?).

I also think it's kind of comical that it's now being referred to as an "electronic device" instead of a toy. I guess it sounds far more plausible that it would meet a child's reading needs/wants that way, than to just say your kid "likes to play with a toy". LOL

Agree to disagree I guess. I think it's benign and fun. You think it has the potential to reduce your child's desire to be read to by a real person, thus impeding the learning process by having that need met by an "electronic device".

I think a lot of toys can be detrimental if it's given enough thought. Exersaucers have been frowned upon because of potential musculoskeletal problems, but I often wonder if there were a wood and organic cotton version that sported chemical free natural rubber toys if it would be a complete hit among MDC members.

I also think there's an intellectual element to the reason toys are disliked, especially when talking to the "mainstream". It's like there needs to be a "real" reason to dislike a toys, especially to the inlaws, rather than just saying they hate it because it's plastic and takes batteries. I think this carries over to the natural philosophy as a whole, and I wonder how many people would really think things are that detrimental if they stripped away their personal convictions. Once in a while I'm willing to let go of my personal convictions for a bit of benign fun, and in the process am able to recognize that yes, while it's plastic and takes batteries, and that no, I normally don't really like those kinds of toys, that's not as dangerous and detrimental as the group think would have me to believe. And I'm also completely willing to accept that this makes me an NFL sell out. One thing I am not is hard on myself for allowing the odd peice of "junk" to come through the door. Having said that, as I sit and type this, I can't really think of a single toy that has batteries in it. Oh wait, she has an electric key board.

I dunno, I think it takes too much energy to analyze toys this much, and considering the fact that we have a pretty modest electronic array of toys I just can't convince myself to devise a reason to hate something simply because it's mainstream (because in order to come up with a reason aside from it being plastic and taking batteries, that's what I'd have to do.. the learning issues would be a big stretch for me).

Anyway, rant over, now I'm done. I don't get the concern, and to answer the OP'ers question one more time, I'm kinda "meh.. whatever, it's a toy" on the whole subject.

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Old 11-20-2009, 06:47 PM
 
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Again, it's a toy, and it is not at all like being read to by a real person, so I don't understand how it can meet that need, much less cut into time being read to by a real person (any more than playing with a puzzle or any other toy?).

I also think it's kind of comical that it's now being referred to as an "electronic device" instead of a toy. I guess it sounds far more plausible that it would meet a child's reading needs/wants that way, than to just say your kid "likes to play with a toy". LOL

Agree to disagree I guess. I think it's benign and fun. You think it has the potential to reduce your child's desire to be read to by a real person, thus impeding the learning process by having that need met by an "electronic device".

I think a lot of toys can be detrimental if it's given enough thought. Exersaucers have been frowned upon because of potential musculoskeletal problems, but I often wonder if there were a wood and organic cotton version that sported chemical free natural rubber toys if it would be a complete hit among MDC members.

I also think there's an intellectual element to the reason toys are disliked, especially when talking to the "mainstream". It's like there needs to be a "real" reason to dislike a toys, especially to the inlaws, rather than just saying they hate it because it's plastic and takes batteries. I think this carries over to the natural philosophy as a whole, and I wonder how many people would really think things are that detrimental if they stripped away their personal convictions. Once in a while I'm willing to let go of my personal convictions for a bit of benign fun, and in the process am able to recognize that yes, while it's plastic and takes batteries, and that no, I normally don't really like those kinds of toys, that's not as dangerous and detrimental as the group think would have me to believe. And I'm also completely willing to accept that this makes me an NFL sell out. One thing I am not is hard on myself for allowing the odd peice of "junk" to come through the door. Having said that, as I sit and type this, I can't really think of a single toy that has batteries in it. Oh wait, she has an electric key board.

I dunno, I think it takes too much energy to analyze toys this much, and considering the fact that we have a pretty modest electronic array of toys I just can't convince myself to devise a reason to hate something simply because it's mainstream (because in order to come up with a reason aside from it being plastic and taking batteries, that's what I'd have to do.. the learning issues would be a big stretch for me).

Anyway, rant over, now I'm done. I don't get the concern, and to answer the OP'ers question one more time, I'm kinda "meh.. whatever, it's a toy" on the whole subject.
You know I don't spend a lot of time worrying about these things. I was merely explaining what my possible concerns were with these types of toys because you seems so perplexed. I don't lose sleep over it. I'm not some kind of toy extremist like I mentioned early. I don't complain about the toys my inlaws give the kids. I just don't like these particular types of toys. I have no idea why that seems to bother you so much or why you seem so dead set on dismissing everyone who does not feel like you do or why you seem to be assuming everyone here is some kind of drone who can't think for themselves. I'm sorry I even bothered to try and have a rational discussion with you.

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Old 11-20-2009, 06:49 PM
 
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I'm not crazy about these and won't buy one. I prefer more natural sounding language, and most of the books are too commercial character-based for my taste. If one were given to me and I couldn't return it (my ILs take everything out of the box and set it up before gifting - they have bad memories of a kid screaming for a toy that they couldn't get to work), I'd be OK with DS using it some. I'd make sure not to change how much I read to him, though.

I used to really dislike LeapFrog, but now I think they have a (small) place. My DS has the Fridge Phonics and taught himself the letter sounds from it. He knows all the sounds and is combining them. Not reading (he's only 2.5), but certainly saying sounds of letters he sees. This is something I wouldn't have thought to teach a 2 year old, but he really latched onto it and loves the letter magnets. So I do believe these toys can be "educational", and I support educational toys assuming they aren't forced upon an uninterested kid and aren't replacing other kinds of play (artistic, musical, physical, imaginative, etc).
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:10 PM
 
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You know I don't spend a lot of time worrying about these things. I was merely explaining what my possible concerns were with these types of toys because you seems so perplexed. I don't lose sleep over it. I'm not some kind of toy extremist like I mentioned early. I don't complain about the toys my inlaws give the kids. I just don't like these particular types of toys. I have no idea why that seems to bother you so much or why you seem so dead set on dismissing everyone who does not feel like you do or why you seem to be assuming everyone here is some kind of drone who can't think for themselves. I'm sorry I even bothered to try and have a rational discussion with you.
I was really under the assumption discussions could be had even though people disagreed. I'm sorry for assuming that.

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Old 11-20-2009, 07:13 PM
 
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If this were so, my house would be covered in gender-neutral wooden blocks crafted by magical gnomes in a primeval forest from sustainable wood
I know this was meant snarky, but it brought up such a lovely image.

I do wish there were more "gender-neutral" toys 'cause my dd's aren't fans of the obnoxious pink all "girl" toys are made off.

And we have that great gnome tree house that we got second hand.
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:14 PM
 
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I was really under the assumption discussions could be had even though people disagreed. I'm sorry for assuming that.
You're kidding right? This is your idea of disagreeing? IMO you are being incredibly dismissive.

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Old 11-20-2009, 07:19 PM
 
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You're kidding right? This is your idea of disagreeing? IMO you are being incredibly dismissive.
No. I'm not trying to be dismissive, but at the same time I'm not going to feign acceptance of an opinion I disagree with. But if my trying to discuss our opinions on this toy went too far, I'm really sorry.

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Old 11-20-2009, 07:48 PM
 
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No. I'm not trying to be dismissive, but at the same time I'm not going to feign acceptance of an opinion I disagree with. But if my trying to discuss our opinions on this toy went too far, I'm really sorry.
I don't expect anyone to feign acceptance of my opinion. But IME, people don't have to agree in order to be respectful of each other's opinions. And I generally take offense when people make fun of my wording my calling it "comical." Thanks for the apology though. I think I'm done with this thread as well as this place.

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Old 11-20-2009, 09:03 PM
 
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Well, I will say it. I don't like them because they are plastic, garish, loud, obnoxious, and use batteries And relatedly, they become obsolete quickly and therefore cannot be enjoyed by more than a few (at best) children whereas most of the toys I would choose for my dd can (and have) been used over and over. Some for decades. Some are even *gasp* plastic.

I do not sit around rejecting toys based on what they are made of, if they need batteries, or how loud they are. Lord knows dd's violin has done as much ear damage as any toy possibly could. But I do look at the whole picture and weigh the cons (annoyance, waste, etc....) vs the pros (fun, pleasing to the senses, dd's interest, etc...) when making the rare toy choice. This wand thing, and almost everything I have seen that Leapfrog puts out has far more cons than pros for us. If dd came to me and said this was a toy she really really wanted, I would likely try to find one for her. But since that is not the case, yes I certainly would discourage a grandparent from buying one. I would not toss it or take it away if it was gifted anyway, but I certainly would have no problem rehoming it if dd showed the amount of interest I suspect she would, which is little.

I do not feel the toy itself is "dangerous" but my instinct does tell me that this is not the sort of toy I would like dd to have a lot of. I cannot give any scientific reason why it might be harmful for learning or imagination. But, yeah, I do wonder what the point is when I can do the exact same thing with her using a book from the library and no own voice. No landfill or batteries involved.

My instincts go into OVERDRIVE when I walk through a toy aisle and find it almost completely packed with character/movie/brand related items. Luckily this is rare. We do not shop at box stores and do not have a TV so dd has no idea this stuff is out there. It was not a conscious decision on our part to isolate dd from this stuff, it just happens that our lifestyle choices put her (and us) in a position of not even seeing this stuff. Almost all of our friends, dd's friends, and family are the same. So, really this debate is "theoretical" for us. Dd is too old for most of this sort of thing anyway. There is plenty of scientific research that does indeed show that this sort of marketing and complete take-over the of toy (and cereal, clothing, you name it) industry does effect children negatively. Will one little toy do it, no. But every time one gets bought, it just adds to the momentum that seems unstoppable. Call it extreme, but I do vote with my dollars.
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:05 PM
 
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I'm not crazy about these and won't buy one. I prefer more natural sounding language, and most of the books are too commercial character-based for my taste. If one were given to me and I couldn't return it (my ILs take everything out of the box and set it up before gifting - they have bad memories of a kid screaming for a toy that they couldn't get to work), I'd be OK with DS using it some. I'd make sure not to change how much I read to him, though.

I used to really dislike LeapFrog, but now I think they have a (small) place. My DS has the Fridge Phonics and taught himself the letter sounds from it. He knows all the sounds and is combining them. Not reading (he's only 2.5), but certainly saying sounds of letters he sees. This is something I wouldn't have thought to teach a 2 year old, but he really latched onto it and loves the letter magnets. So I do believe these toys can be "educational", and I support educational toys assuming they aren't forced upon an uninterested kid and aren't replacing other kinds of play (artistic, musical, physical, imaginative, etc).
Maybe it has to do with the kind of child you have.

My DD would play with the Leap Frog fridge magnets (present) for 20 minutes at a time before she was 2. We would see her playing with them and get out the wooden letter set we have (also a present) and set that up on the coffee table and want to play letter games with her. We were even willing to sing the same stupid song the game did. But she's a really independent kid and liked being about to do it herself. We tried putting away the fridge game and she gave up all interest in letters. She knew all her upper case letters before she was 2.

Some kids would rather not do something than not be able to control it.
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Old 11-22-2009, 02:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So you plan to raise non consumeristic kids by teaching them that it's perfectly OK to simply discard things they don't like rather than figuring out a way to use them.

I don't see how that could work. That seems like teaching kids to go ahead and waste things they don't personally see as valuable.
OP here. Wow! Did this thread take some crazy turns. I love MDC

Well, I have given the darn thing away to someone who is in a financial mess & thrilled to have something to give to her 4yo. (who BTW loves Cars which is one of the books)

As far as the above post goes, since my DS is only 15mo & has never even seen the toy I'm not that worried about teaching the wrong message, although if he was older I probably would agree.

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Old 11-22-2009, 08:25 PM
 
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I am a huge leapfrog fan and bought the Tag for my 5 year old nephew. I know he will love it!!! Leapfrog is the one toy we hang on to and if I see one at a yard sale for a decent price, I'll pick it up.

DD learned to read thanks to the leapfrog vidoes. I have a speech disorder and knew I couldn't adequately teach her. She was crying at age 2 because she couldn't figure out how to pronounce words, so we found a way to lessen that frustration and encourage what she wanted to know. DD also has sensory problems and the leapfrog toys were the only ones that didn't overwhelm her.

There has been many electronic/battery operated toys in the house that have been ignored, use sparingly, but all of our leapfrog toys have been well loved.

Funny enough, I just send dh on a Wendy's run because they have leapfrog toys in their happy meals--LOL.
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Old 11-23-2009, 02:18 PM
 
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I agree



I'm the OP & I was looking more for insight on helping/damaging the learning of reading. Esp since my DS is only 15mo.

Honestly I never even looked at the product from the standpoint of just being a toy. Thanks

So, I think I may take some advice here & put it away for later. I see it requires a computer. Anyone else have one like that? Will it be a waste to put it away for 1 - 1.5 years - technologically speaking. I would hate to put it away & then find our computer isnt compatable any longer when I can give it away to someone now.
I see you already gave the toy away but here is what I wrote yesterday but didn't have time to post because of my DD's fussing.

My niece is 6 yo and she has one. I thought it was pretty neat because she was so excited about it. And my DH was really intrigued by it and studied it until he found out how it works. The one my niece had would read the individual words or you could have it read the whole page. And it would also have funny things like sound effects and dialogue if you touched the pictures.

To the OP: Just keep the toy even if you put it away for a couple of years. I think you do have to download something. I don't own one so I'm not sure how it works. I would follow the directions/download/do whatever to get the thing working, and then I would put it away. Then when you have a long car/plane trip you could pull it out and have a really fun toy. (And why spend money on something else in a couple of years when you already own this?)

But if you make sure it works now then you don't have to worry about your computer or technology changing later. Seriously, I have an ipod that I haven't plugged into a computer in almost FIVE YEARS!

Personally, I don't think I would get it for my DD without a lot of begging and saving up of allowance! I don't like the licensed character books. And the books are $16 EACH! I would rather not let my DD know they exist and just get our books for free from the library. This is also why I didn't buy a Kindle.

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I was such a book-hog before I could read, I remember my exasperated mom sitting down with a stack of books, a tape recorder, and a bell. She made our own set of read-along books after I asked her to read Needle on the Wheedle one too many times.....
This cracks me up! And I can totally see having to do this in a few years. My DD is 1yo and already asks me to read the same book upwards of four times in a row. This gives me some good ideas.

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Old 11-23-2009, 03:14 PM
 
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I am not sure what kind of parent buys this toy but I know I'm not one of them and I highly dislike it. That is all.
I am the type of parent who would buy it. I am also one who encouraged his grandma to get him the Leapster2 last Christmas. He loves it. I attribute some of his knowledge from it too (the leapster). By 26 months he knew the sounds that all the letters make the difference between upper and lowercase letters and how to write them. The one game has him tracing letters and it has caused his love of letters and spelling to grow. He writes his name on everything he can and loves to practice his letters and numbers all the time.

We do not have the reader but I have been contemplating it.

Oh btw he would be a child that would often be considered "plugged in" he has his own itouch, nintendo ds, leapster 2 and loves the wii and xbox 360...he is amazing at DJ Hero, Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero and the Drums on Rock Band Beatles... his hand-eye coordination is better than many teens and adults I know...he loves imaginative play....and is a very typical 3 y/o.

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