At 4 years old Chloe is ready to read. She constantly asks me how to spell certain words so she can add them to her pictures and she likes to pretend to read by moving her fingers over sentences in books. I have started to do that when we read at night for some of her easy reader books so she can sort of follow along. For Christmas, my in laws in France sent her the LeapFrog TAG Reading System($37.94 at Amazon) which is an electronic pen that works with their special paper books. They sent along a couple French versions of Rapunzel and Tinkerbell. I didn't realize how much she would enjoy the independence of being able to read and enjoy her books than with this TAG pen. I ended up getting her their beginning to read set as well as a few other English books. To me with a child who is multilingual this is fantastic because the same pen works for any of the language books as long as it's from LeapFrog. She can enjoy her French and English books now on her own.
The TAG pen is like a little computer and can connect easily to your computer with a USB cable (comes with the pen). It can hold up to around 10 books at a time. You can search their catalog for the book you have purchased and download the content on to the pen.
Each paper book allows the child to scan over words and sentences to have them read out loud to them. They can also choose to have the page auto read so they don't have to go over each word. I really like the beginning to read sets because the words will also be "sounded out" for kids so they can learn how to read. There are also some pages in the books that are activities in reading comprehension and visual search games. She loves the activities and how her paper books have come to life.
This LeapFrog Tag Storage Case ($15.54) is a great way to hold a lot of books and the TAG pen.
Chloe has some books on her iPad but I think the interactivity of the device gets in the way. In this case, you are still handling a paper book and the words on the page are large and clear for them to read. They can go back over with the TAG pen to highlight any word they want repeated and read out loud. After using this TAG pen from the holiday vacation, Chloe can now recognize words I had no idea she knew. One of her favorite books is "A Day on the Ranch" because she loves horses. She now knows some of the basic words in that book, including the word "ranch". To me this is amazing and it's allowing her to absorb the information she wants at her own pace. I feel much better spending money on more LeapFrog paper books than wasting my money on the story apps for her iPad. With LeapFrog TAG she is much more engaged and I couldn't be happier that my little girl is on her way to enjoy books as much as I do.
Here are some great LeapFrog TAG books:
LeapFrog Tag Learn to Read Phonics Book Series ($19.55)
Set 1: Short Vowels
(There are 4 sets you can build on. Each set comes with 6-7 small books.)
LeapFrog Tag Dora Goes to School ($13.97)