"These are awesome!"
That was my oldest son's reaction when I plunked 12 new LeapFrog Tag books down in front of him and his two younger brothers.
The books is question were LeapFrog's new Learn to Read Phonics series. There are two sets of six: short vowels and long vowels (plus silent "e" and "y").
These paperback books operate just like other Tag books, but with a focus on phonics for 4- to 7-year-olds. Kids can touch color coded buttons on each page to hear the Tag read the whole page, read a word, or hear the name of a letter or the sound that it makes. Plus, there are games at the end of the books, just like with other Tag books.
The books help kids identify letter sounds and hear how they come together into words. Each set of books introduces a different set of skills. All of them work on phonics skills, word recognition, and reading basics.
But best of all, they're fun.
Plus, I really appreciate that you can fit all 12 books onto your Tag, even if you have the older version with less memory room. I have to admit that when I looked at the boxes of books, I envisioned having to traipse back and forth to the computer to add and remove books at my kids' whims.
This is, I believe, the only major flaw with the Tag. With so many fun books in their library, It's tough to decide which ones to leave on the Tag. Fortunately, I don't have to do that with this set. Yes, if they want to read one of their other Tag books, I'll have to switch things around, but at least while they're into these books, I won't have to go near my computer.
If you have a young child who is just starting to be interested in reading, this might be a fun way to encourage that.
Honesty Clause: I received reviews copies of both sets of Learn to Read Phonics books at no charge. Each retails for $19.99 for a set of six books.