Mellow Mummy: Leapreader Books - Our Progress : Taking life as it comes...

Monday 10 March 2014

Leapreader Books - Our Progress

Back in August, Lara first reviewed the Leapreader electronic reading aid from Leapfrog. That was shortly before Lara started school - she was eager to explore books but hadn't yet really learned to read. Seven months on, Lara's reading has progressed more than I could ever have imagined and this weekend I saw Lara sit down with one of the Leapreader books that she received in August and, without the aid of the Leapreader, she read the book to me herself.

The Leapreader from Leapfrog is largely designed to encourage a child's interest in books... not so much to teach them how to read. Through interactive page elements and recognisable characters, children are encouraged to engage with a book. On each page your child can touch the page to hear the Leapreader read the words of the story to them but now Lara doesn't NEED the words to be read to her. The stories Lara has for the Leapreader (such as Tangled, and Monsters University) are quite advanced books so she still struggles a little with the more unusual words and today she knew to turn to her gadget to help her when she needed it.

It's interesting to see the way that the inclusion of a favourite film or television character somehow makes a book seem more appealing to Lara. I'm not sure how I feel about that! Last week I felt a bit exasperated at all the activity on Facebook and twitter about dressing-up outfits for World Book Day (or British Book Day as I think it should more correctly be named). Some of my local friends with children at different schools had to dress up and I saw one child going as a character from Monsters University. It frustrated me that the point of World Book Day had been lost in the campaign for an acceptable dressing-up outfit and that movie characters were being chosen over book characters.

But, on reflection, I can see that the inclusion of a film character in a book such as Lara's Leapreader books does wonders for getting children more interested in books. And that's what matters. Growing an enthusiasm for exploring more books. And a movie seems like a sensible starting point. Think of all the people who have gone on to read the Harry Potter stories since first watching one of the movies.

Perhaps even more interestingly, Lara much prefers character stories (mostly with her Disney favourites) when she is looking for a book to read herself.  But, during the evening when we are choosing a bedtime story for us to read to her, Lara often prefers to go for something more traditional - maybe her other books feel a bit less accessible to her at present?

On World Book Day, Lara's school asked the pupils to bring in their favourite book to share with their class-mates and to inspire arts and crafts throughout the day.  Do you want to know what book Lara chose (from her rather enormous stash?)... she chose One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Suess.
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