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There is something about them that I just don't care for. It just seems like another gimick to me. My mom says "oh, Amy, your neice really learned to read using her Leapfrog thing." My brother and SIL apparently didn't do much sitting and reading with her when she was little but by the end of her kindergarten year she reads at a 6th grade level. Leapfrog had a great deal to do with it as far as my mama is concerned. Everyone thinks I'm a toy nazi anyway
and I have hard time explaining why I don't like junky toys when all these new plasticy toys are "just so great!".

So, chime in please...
Does Leapfrog REALY help put your child ahead of the game more so than say, actually sitting and reading regularly together?

Oh also...
My mom worked in an elementary school a few years back that started using Leapfrog in class. They had some big training session for it. She uses that as a point when trying to argue pro-leapfrog.
amy
 

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I can only vouch for one Leapfrog toy, the refrigerator magnet ABC/phonic thing (sorry, if forgot the actual name of the toy). It has a base that you put magnets into, and a voice sings, "A says ah, A says ah, every letter makes a sound, A says ah." You get the picture.

I got this for dd when she was 20 months old. She loved it, kept putting the letters in and out, listening to the song. Within 2 weeks she could identify and say her capital letters. I bought a standard ABC puzzle for her, with the lower case letters alongside the upper case letters, and in another week she could identify the lower case letters as well (since they were right next to the big ones, she figured it out on her own). Now some time has gone by and she's interested in phonics, and trying to read (we do a LOT of reading around here!). So she's playing with it all over again, this time paying attention to the phonic part of the song ("A says ah").

So yes, I can vouch for that particular toy. I do believe it helped dd learn this skill faster than she would have otherwise. She is the type that likes to do things on her own and by herself, so she enjoyed picking up the letters herself, operating the toy herself, etc. (instead of me working with her to learn the ABCs).

I've only bought one other thing for her, the Writing Pad, but it is too advanced for her at this moment (she's 2 1/2, this is for 4 year olds). I do think that when she's ready, she will enjoy this toy too.

I usually avoid plastic talking toys as well, but in these two cases, I am glad I bought the products.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Phoebe
My brother and SIL apparently didn't do much sitting and reading with her when she was little but by the end of her kindergarten year she reads at a 6th grade level. Leapfrog had a great deal to do with it as far as my mama is concerned.
So, b/c I am a pain, I'd be inclined to inquire whether your niece could read the newspaper (on avg 4th - 6th grade reading level) & Harry Potter books (5th-6th grade reading level) by the end of kindergarten. I'd be kind of skeptical that she could read that well unless she is just a very advanced kid in that area. If she is that advanced, I really doubt that it was due solely to one learning toy especially if she was not read to at home. Children who are not read to almost always lag behind in reading. Whether a toy can make up for that gap, I don't know, but it certainly hasn't been tested. The govt would be buying them for all disadvantaged kids rather than funding Head Start, if so!

Quote:
So, chime in please...
Does Leapfrog REALY help put your child ahead of the game more so than say, actually sitting and reading regularly together?
We had some Leap Frog products, but my kids just didn't use them enough for me to say that I can really weigh in on that one. We read a lot together, though.
 

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I think they're noisy and they irritate me to no end. That being said, ds has the learning table (the one with the piano, banjo, etc) and he adores the thing. He sits there and dances to it...although he's not learning much from it because he keeps it on the music setting instead of the alphabet one.
 

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Let me add that we read a LOT, and we always have. So to address your either/or question about a toy replacing reading together...I'd be inclined to say no, that type of interaction CANNOT be replaced by a toy. I think my daughter was ready and eager to learn these things BECAUSE we read so much. The toy helped her make the actual jump, but she probably would not have been ready for that jump if she had not been read to every day of her life.
 

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I was reading at a 9th grade level in grade 3. I never had a toy like that. I don't like them and dd won't have them. There was an article about this floating around. I hope someone posts it.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by the_lissa
I was reading at a 9th grade level in grade 3. I never had a toy like that. I don't like them and dd won't have them. There was an article about this floating around. I hope someone posts it.
Oh, and I did want to clarify that I don't think that it is impossible for young children to be reading significantly above grade level
: ! My dd who just finished first grade is reading probably right at about 6th grade level now & I, too, read quite a bit above grade level in elementary school. I have definately seen that happen, but I have rarely seen kindergarteners specifically be that far above grade level for reading b/c they have usually just learned to read in the past year - maybe 2nd-3rd grade level, but 6th grade for a kindergartener is pretty far advanced. She'd definately be getting tracked for gifted & talented classes in most districts.

Okay, back to topic now...
 

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At 22 months, my eldest was given two alphabet crepe rubber puzzles. Within a month she could identify both upper case and lower case letters by their sound, because she made her parents sit with her and tell her what each one was, over and over, and delighted in playing games with us where we'd ask her "where's the letter that makes the W sound?" and she'd pick it out.

It was fun. She enjoyed the time she spent with us. But it didn't get her reading.

She began reading 2 1/2 years later, fluently, and within 5 months of that (before her 5th birthday) was reading the first Harry Potter book independently. I don't think the crepe rubber puzzles did it, nor do I think it was the games with mom and dad. She was developmentally programmed for this kind of early intense interest in and aptitude for breaking the code of written language.

I hate electronic teaching toys and so my kids don't have them. While they might help kids get certain tangible early academic skills a bit sooner, they're not likely to make much overall difference to a child's educational success. The rate of acquisition of pre-academic skills really doesn't matter much in the long run, particularly not if your child isn't going to be forced to keep up, shine or flounder in an age-levelled classroom. My daughter has an unschooled friend who first managed the Harry Potter #1 as an independent read five full years later than she did... and both girls (now 11 years old) are wonderful, highly literate, erudite, interesting, talented and well-educated.

Miranda
 

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We got a Leapster (targeted at kids ages 4-8 - older version of leapfrog) for my daughter last Christmas. My husband was for getting it, I thought wondered if it was gimmicky as well.

Well, she played it non-stop whenever we would go for a drive or to the grocery store etc. She LOVED it! She got Incredibles and SpongeBob games. It does maths etc, and math is her weakness (she hates math.) She has run down several battery packs, which is hard to do because it doesn't seem to be a battery pig. Currently we need to buy new batteries for it. I think it was a good buy after all because it helped her with some math humps we were dealing with.
 

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I have to say that the leap pad and leapster have really helped DD with reading. We read toghter every day. Always have. I've tried explode the code, HOP, Bob books etc. All with little progress. DD hates HOP. We bought the phonics program for Leap Pad and DD loves it. She really gets the way it teaches.
She also has the leapster and a few games for it. The incredibles game has really helped her with spelling and parts of speach.
 

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Quote:
Everyone thinks I'm a toy nazi anyway
Not to nitpick but I have an issue with your terminology. You may feel strongly about what toys your children play with but the use the term nazi just mainstreams the term and takes away from the true horror.

Na·zi ( P ) Pronunciation Key (näts, nt-)
n. pl. Na·zis
A member of the National Socialist German Workers' Party, founded in Germany in 1919 and brought to power in 1933 under Adolf Hitler.
often nazi An adherent or advocate of policies characteristic of Nazism; a fascist.

adj.
Of, relating to, controlled by, or typical of the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

[German, short for Nationalsozialistische deutsche Arbeiter-Partei, National Socialist German Workers' Party.]

Nazi·fi·cation (-s-f-kshn) n.
Nazi·fy (-s-f) v.

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

That said I do not think any electronic toy can replace being read too. Nor can it replace one on one teaching of any skill (math, etc) However is it terrible- no but I do find them annoying.
 

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Eh. I hate electronic toys. With the exception of tape players, we have none. I don't think they're evil or anything, but I certainly do not believe they can do anything that a real live human being with a little love and patience couldn't do better.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom
Not to nitpick but I have an issue with your terminology. You may feel strongly about what toys your children play with but the use the term nazi just mainstreams the term and takes away from the true horror.
This is WAY OT, but I feel the need to say this:

The OP, by using the word "nazi," did NOT take away from the true horror of the Holocaust. The term "nazi" has become slang for controlling, anal, etc. -- as we all know. If the word becomes mainstream, I do NOT think it takes away from the true history and horror of the situation. I think most of us are smart enough to distinguish a term that is used as slang (and with a lower case "n") from a word that names the horrific regime (with an upper case "N").

JMHO. I felt sorry for the OP when I read your post, because use of that term is very common nowadays. There's no evidence, as far as I can tell, that use of the term is desensitizing anyone from the horrors of what happened under the leadership of the Nazi party.

Now, back to the topic...
 

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Some people may use it as slang, but that doesn't necessarily make it right. Especially in a place like this where we try (I hope) to be sensitive to one another. I would hate for a carelessly tossed remark to cause pain to any of my brothers or sisters who have been affected by true Nazi-ism. It may be mainstream in the mainstream, but this ain't the mainstream.

ETA- And you will find other discussions about how offensive this loose use of the word Nazi is, including insights from our Jewish sisters, all over MDC.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by annettemarie
Eh. I hate electronic toys. With the exception of tape players, we have none. I don't think they're evil or anything, but I certainly do not believe they can do anything that a real live human being with a little love and patience couldn't do better.
:

We don't like them, but we're not into video games as a family. We watch little TV and don't really do battery-operated toys. So I don't like the toys, but they just don't fit in with what we have at our house. I can't picture my child sitting down with one of them and actually using it, honestly.

And I totally agree that while, they might help some kids who are at a point of readiness, I don't think it's anything special that a person might not be able to do.

I bought the Leapfrog Letter Factory video for my preschooler, because he was sounding out some small CVC words and was interested in the idea of phonics. The videos came highly recommended. I think I bought two of them, two different levels. Anyway, we weren't that impressed by it. The CVC stuff they discussed was simply the same stuff that I was helping ds do with Bob books and things like that. If anything, I think he learned less from that format, because it seemed like entertainment to him; it wasn't like direct interaction with a person. I know that some other kids are more responsive to videos, but mine don't get a lot out of them. After one viewing, it was never requested to be watched again.

I don't believe that anyone's child could get a significant advantage from a toy like this if their brain was not already receptive to learning the concept. I don't think the toys are miracle-workers or improvements to simple human interaction. But if some people like them, that's wonderful.

They just don't fit in with our family and with the types of activities that we do. I think you have to listen to your gut on this and evaluate whether or not this is something that you would LOVE or something that is representative in nature of the things your children do (e.g. video games).

HTH!
 

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Dd has several Leap Pad/Frog things, and she really enjoys them. I love the science one we have
We wish they were a little more in depth, but I realize they can only do so much on one thing. Often what she learns about from them she does more research on later (wondered what "mass" and "volume" meant etc). We give them a
 

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I'm not interested in my kids being "ahead of the game" but I don't think any product can do that.

My dd had a leap-pad and liked it for a short time, but soon lost interest. I should say that she got it just as she began to read on her own though, and she really preferred to read on her own.

My ds has a writing desk which he LOVES! He tells everyone that he's learning "curses" (cursive!)

Dd now has an I-Quest which she likes a lot--it's sort of like a trivia game to her, since she doesn't use any of the textbooks that it refers to.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Phoebe
\\
So, chime in please...
Does Leapfrog REALY help put your child ahead of the game more so than say, actually sitting and reading regularly together?
No, I absolutely do not think that Leapfrog or any of the electronic toys put the child "ahead" of the game in any way. Most of the electronic learning toys are somewhat parent substitutes - which is fine if you like that. I will always cherish the time I went through the alphabet with my daughter saying "B says /b/, what are some silly words we can think of that start with b?" (Yeah, boogers were mentioned) Not to mention, a lot cheaper to do it myself!

But if the parent doesn't have time, or wants time alone, or the child for some reason is resistant to parent-child games, then it might work for them and would teach the same things in a different way. But I don't think it will put a child "ahead" by any stretch of the imagination. How is that we have all of these very literate adults walking around today, who managed to grow up sans leapfrog? If the Kindergartener is reading at a sixth grade level (and I mean completely, includingcomprehending) - which would be quite unusual, then that girl is probably quite gifted in any case, leapfrog or no.
 

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for my dd it is just a toy. since she loves button, music, etc i got her the purple catterpillar and she has enjoyed the music buttons only. i have not tried to do the alphabets, colours or phonetic sounds with her and nor has she. but she has picked up math (simple addition and subtraction) when she was 2 and her alphabets i am guessing around 18 months old and her phonics around 2. i have no idea how she learnt them (alphabets i am guessing thru dr seuss abc book). i have tried real hard to figure out how she learnt addition and subtraction specifically and i have no idea how she did it.

personally i have not introduced alphabets or numbers to her because they are totally unimportant to me till she goes to school at K. but she was interested and she picked it up. she has shown no interest in reading with me (she is 33 months old) which is perfect with me. but i am not going to run out to buy the leap frog reading program just so she can start reading. if i did she migth start reading but i dont think that is important for her. i would rather she did it at her own time when she felt motivated enough. instead her interest is science and we do a lot of science experiments and she really enjoys that.

as a toy i wouldnt mind buying some for my dd, but not as a learning tool. i would much rather buy her something else.

by biggest gripe with leaffrogs and the whole deal is their attitude of pushing reading and math skills on children. i mean go to any mom's house and even tho the fridge magnets say 2+ you will find them in many crawling baby homes. it seems it is propogating this idea that if my child can read and do math early BEFORE they even go to preschool then they will grow up to be geniuses (HATE that word). i feel the same with baby einstein things which totally exploits the genius idea.

someone just gave my dd the fridge magnets. if u saw her playing with it u would think she is trying to learn. she is trying to pick up the tune and trying to repeat the persons speech.

personally i would not use that medium to teach reading or math. but now if my dd refuses to learn her alphabets in K and the only way she would is by using the leapfrog stuff then i would do it. so i feel 5+... okay 4+ its ok to do leaffrog. but not below that.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by meemee
by biggest gripe with leaffrogs and the whole deal is their attitude of pushing reading and math skills on children. i mean go to any mom's house and even tho the fridge magnets say 2+ you will find them in many crawling baby homes. it seems it is propogating this idea that if my child can read and do math early BEFORE they even go to preschool then they will grow up to be geniuses (HATE that word). i feel the same with baby einstein things which totally exploits the genius idea.
I think that this, accompanied with the idea that you can use toys in lieu of parent time, is one of my bigger concerns with learning toys as well. I have never seen any research that associates early reading with long-term higher success in school or higher IQ. Just one example.

I do feel that there is this major competition going on among parents (I have definately felt it from my dd's friends parents) to have their kids read at a higher level than others. The parents seem to use it as "proof" that their kid is smarter, better, etc.

I don't really believe that pushing kids to read as soon as we can possibly get them to do so is going to do them any long-term good. As moominmamma mentioned, two kids who learned to read on totally different time-tables may be equally well prepared & developed later down the line.
 
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