LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra eBook Learn to Read Collection: Fairy Tales (works with all LeapPad tablets)
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(66 customer reviews)
The first in the series of LeapFrog LeapPad Learn to Read eBooks, this eBook revolutionizes the experience turning classic fairy tales into interactive adventures with loveable friends. Using LeapPad’s advanced features; Fairy Tales helps early readers build phonics and decoding skills with the help of froggy friends. Even better, they can develop sight word recognition and reading comprehension as they climb up the beanstalk! (Works with LeapFrog LeapPad1 Explorer & LeapPad2 Explorer Learning Tablets.)
Touch words to hear them sounded out.
Collect up to 100 key words, for your interactive journal
Unique to the Learn to Read Collection, each magical Ultra eBook features 100 key words like “fast” and “fun” that include: short vowels, blends, long vowel pairs, silent letters and more. Many of these high frequency words have common spelling patterns, helping new readers develop a foundation to transfer learning and expand vocabulary. Hear individual words sounded out, or touch a word to see letters highlight as it is sounded out. This helps kids develop an understanding of letter-sound relationships—the building blocks of phonics. Expand vocabulary with a visual dictionary. Vocabulary knowledge is closely linked to reading comprehension. Tap highlighted words for a kid-friendly definition and see a simple animation that shows a word's meaning or how it's used in the story.
Three Auto-Adjusting Reading Levels
Fairy Tales enhances the way kids learn to read with three reading levels in each story that adjust automatically so kids can read at their own pace. If they get stuck on a word, they can drag the stylus across the word to hear it sounded out. Three levels of text in each Ultra eBook vary in complexity based on how kids perform in comprehension activities. To support reading development, text must be at an optimal level of difficulty. Studies have shown that children who learn to read and write early on are more likely to experience overall success in school.
Seven Action-Packed Activities
Each Ultra eBook in the Learn to Read Collection features engaging activities such as Marksmen, a bow and arrow game in which the reader selects the word with the stated characteristic: short vowel, long vowel, and silent letter at three levels respectively. Story-based reading activities like Word Builder, Shake & Drag and Drag & Drop are designed to reinforce the learning. Designed to encourage kids to think more deeply about the story and assess their level of understanding, performance on comprehension activities determines a child's suggested reading level. Ultra eBooks have integrated mini games that are not only fun, but help move the story forward. As kids play they actively experience what they are reading, bringing stories to life in a whole new way.
What's In The Box?
LeapPad Learn to Read 1 Ultra eBook game cartridge (compatible with both LeapFrog LeapPad1 Explorer and LeapFrog LeapPad2 Explorer), Parent Guide & Instruction Book
LeapFrog learning library. Take advantage of the library of hundreds of games, creativity apps, ebooks, music, videos and more to keep kids challenged and inspired. From math and science to creativity and reading, we provide fun and engaging learning solutions that adapt to each child’s level and help them build new skills.
- Amazon Sales Rank: #2951 in Toys & Games
- Brand: LeapFrog
- Model: 32017
- Dimensions: 1.25" h x 1.77" w x .46" l, .18 pounds
- Get a leap on reading with two magical fairy tales in this Learn to Read Ultra eBook!
- Features 100 early-reading words and teaches comprehension, sight words, phonics rules and decoding skills
- The stories are written at 3 different levels, progressing from simple text to more complex words and sentences
- Appropriate for children ages 4 to 6 years (grades pre-K to 1)
- Works with all LeapPad learning tablets (sold separately); not with LeapsterGS and Leapster Explorer; Internet connection may be required for cartridge
From the Manufacturer
Get a leap on reading with two magical fairy tales in this LeapFrog Learn to Read Ultra eBook. Each Learn to Read Collection features 100 key words to build phonics and sight word recognition. Collect them all. Only works with LeapPad Explorer learning tablets (sold separately). Features 100 early-reading words and teaches comprehension, sight words, phonics rules and decoding skills. The stories are written at 3 different levels, progressing from simple text to more complex words and sentences Appropriate for children ages 4 to 6 years (grades pre-K to 1). Only works with LeapPad Explorer learning tablets (sold separately). Internet connection may be required. .
Most helpful customer reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful.
More Interactive, But Very Familiar
By Nerd Alert
What is an Ultra eBook? The foundation is a traditional children's picture book, with short simple sentences. Now, add the ability to touch various items in the book to hear sound effects. For example, touch a bird and it chirps. This is like the LeapFrog Tag books, though the tablet (LeapPad or LeapPad 2) lacks the charm of a physical book. However, since it is built from the ground up for the tablet, the bird would also have a bit of animation. There are many things to click on, and it is fun to see what everything does. The tablet can also detect tilt, so you may see an egg roll across the screen if you tilt it to the side, or a character lose his balance if you shake it. Additionally, much like DS games, a few pages react to blowing on the microphone. In short, the books feel more alive than ever before in the LeapFrog line.
The Ultra eBooks also add periodic game breaks throughout the story (around 10 total). As always, you can adjust the difficulty for the age of the child. These games are very short and simple, but do add some solid assistance in learning to spell. It is not like a full lesson, so much as it is sneaking a little bit of extra meaning into the experience. This should work well for kids with short attention spans. The learning element is also supplemented with a list of all the words learned, and the ability to record your own reading of the book. The latter is a little clumsy and unintuitive, but it sounds okay when you get it working.
The two stories presented are basic interpretations of Jack and the Beanstalk and The Three Little Pigs. The LeapFrog characters are used, which is great for kids that already know them. The animation style is very charming, somewhere between the LeapFrog DVDs and traditional story book art. There are not many frames of animation, but what is here is impressive. I can see kids falling in love with the stories and going back to them over and over. Music is pretty good quality and not annoying, with computer reproductions of an orchestra. You probably won't be humming them, but they set a nice tone. The narrator does a good job as well, though he reads it a bit straight, considering the material.
My only complaint about the material is that in adding the spelling lessons and cutifying these stories, they also largely lost their primary educational value. These classic fairy tales were strongly rooted in illustrating important life lessons. The moral of these LeapFrog versions? I'm not sure.
Overall, I think that most children will enjoy the Ultra eBook Fairy Tales and learn a little too. The production values are good and the interactive elements add a lot to the experience.
79 of 95 people found the following review helpful.
The "ultra" features undermine the reading/learning experience
By Candid Reviewer
This Ultra-eBook is certainly preferable to a mere game, since it offers some opportunity to read and learn story pacing. But it suffers from the significant shortcomings that afflict other digital "learning" toys. I wish programmers were required to study educational research carefully before designing these kinds of materials or persuading parents to trust their educational value.
Here's the problem: Sights, sounds, and animations may indeed help lure a child into reading and thus, may get him/her reading sooner. This makes it look like technology has "accelerated" the learning process. But it comes with a trade off. The multimedia experience also trains the brain to follow shorter attention cycles and become dependent on superficial audio/visual cues. Your child may start to recognize new words faster, but will also begin to develop a shorter, more media-dependent attention cycle that staunchly resists the quiet, sustained reading practices that enable much higher levels of thinking and reading later. The "head start" on reading that initially looks so positive may actually turn into attention-deficit types of problems in high school or college. That's because the brain literally becomes addicted to audio/visual stimuli, and thus, averse to quiet reading and less adept at decoding words without the benefit +of pictures and sounds.
The "Fairy Tales" Ultra-eBook is a perfect example of how this impoverishes the deeper reading and learning experience. It contains two fairy tales: "The Three Little Pigs" and "Jack and the Beanstalk," both retold with a frog theme and a more benign plot. In both stories, the reading experience is repeatedly interrupted by "Game Time." I suspect the programmer is influenced by a mid-1990s philosophy of instruction which was meant to be applied to multimedia CDs/DVDs used for training new employees. The prevailing view was that the trainee needed periodic breaks from information in order to organize his/her thoughts and refresh his/her attention. Brief quizzes and games were ideal for that purpose. But that philosophy only applied because the adults were watching CDs/DVDs with a lot of decontextualized and technical information. It is NOT applicable to literature/fiction as it pertains to a child's cognitive development. In a well-told story, the details are not decontextualized, so the information is easier and more enjoyable to process. In fact, a story is far MORE engaging when it is NOT interrupted, assuming that the plot is of sufficient quality to build drama and tension. In other words, if you are telling a good story in the first place, you don't need "breaks" from the information. Instead, you need the story to advance in a delightful, engaging, uninterrupted manner.
With that in mind, the Leap Frog fairy tales are problematic for at least three reasons. First, the periodic interruptions for "Game Time" (which occur three times per story) powerfully undermine the story's ability to build drama. (Just think about how it feels to you when you're interrupted while reading a good book or watching an engaging movie.) Besides breaking the child's concentration, the games interrupt the linear flow/coherence of the story. Neither effect is conducive to developing advanced reading skills or improved concentration. While your child may learn new words and manage to piece the story back together, he/she is losing the most important cognitive benefit of the experience. (You will still be impressed to see him/her learn new vocabulary, but what you won't be able to see is that certain attention-deficit patterns are also being reinforced. Those patterns may not surface in problematic ways until a much later stage of education, when quiet, sustained concentration suddenly becomes vitally important.)
Second, Leap Frog's version of each fairy tale strips away its most essential dramatic components. For example, in the story of the three little frogs (a retelling of "The Three Little Pigs"), the "wolf" is replaced by a friendly dog. The dog appears as a shadowy figure whose identity is concealed until the end of the story, but the classic, tension-building moments in which the wolf demands to be let into each pig's house are conspicuously missing. In Leap Frog's version, the three frogs still build houses from straw, wood, and bricks, but the first two houses simply fall down due to poor structural design (the dog never threatens to "huff and puff"). The original tension of a direct threat to each pig's personal security is replaced, in Leap Frog's version, by the dull fear of shoddy house construction. This ruins the literary quality of the tale and thus, teaches children nothing about the aesthetic quality and plot design of a well told story. Leap Frog throws out centuries of cultural evidence that children feel deeply engaged by the threat of a wolf at the door, and instead caters to the politically correct assumption that fear and conflict are unhealthy topics for children. In truth, fear and conflict are THE essential ingredients of a well-told story--the surest means of engaging a reader's attention and sympathies, as well as provoking personal/ethical reflection.
Third, Leap Frog's revised versions destroys the re-reading value. By making the plot so shallow and devoid of dramatic tension, the "Fairy Tales" eBook actually discourages the kind of close, repeated attention by which a reader learns to extract increasingly mature insights. For example, when the first two frogs run to join their sibling in his brick house, the shadowy dog shows up to reveal his friendly identity. This already-dull turn of events retains none of the original tale's conflict-resolution structure. It also ruins the story's "re-readability". In the original tale, the real threat of a hungry wolf at the door remains compellingly dramatic even on subsequent re-readings (that's why kids love to hear the story told again and again). In Leap Frog's version, once the identity of the shadowy dog is discovered, whatever modest tension was created by concealing his identity is lost for good. After the first read, the child will always know that the shadowy figure is a friend, not a threat at all. No hint of drama or suspense remains. Even very young kids will quickly understand that they're reading a story in which very little of importance happens. Two frogs build shoddy houses that collapse, they run to the third frog's nicer brick house, and then they chat (somewhat irrelevantly) with a friendly dog in a wolf costume who happened to follow them home. The most valuable reading experiences (dramatic tension, sustained concentration, conflict-resolution, AND the take-away lesson) have all been sacrificed for this cutesy retelling. Yet the only reader likely to notice the cutesiness is someone who already knows the original tale, and thus, is AWARE of the "cute" departures from that version (!).
Admittedly, Leap Frog recovers some of each story's re-readability value (albeit marginally) by providing three reading levels of text. While this may get the child to re-read the book several times, it cannot restore the drama/tension lost to the shallow plot. Thus, it will not spur the child too look for the "deep meaning" of the story. In short, there is little here to teach kids that stories can be usefully instructive. Leap Frog's cutesy version probably advertises itself as non-threatening and undramatic to please parents who increasingly tend to think politically, rather than aesthetically or morally, about what makes for a "good" story. But as I tell my college students: The rules of drama are no different for children than for adults. The threat has to be REAL and SUBSTANTIAL or the story will falter. Don't underestimate your child's ability to know the difference.
My goal is not to berate Leap Frog or this particular Ultra-eBook. Leap Frog makes a very fine line of products and the production value of the "Fairy Tales" eBook is undeniably good. But parents need to recognize that "Ultra-eBooks" still have more in common with GAMES than with the cognitively-beneficial activity of reading PRINTED BOOKS. Certainly, kids can learn from this kind of technology, especially basic skills like word-recognition and pronunciation. But what parents don't understand is how much gets lost in the process when digital tools become a replacement for (or serious distraction from) traditional reading. Although digital multimedia tools can help pull your child into basic reading sooner, there is no "short cut" to intellectual growth.
BEWARE the cognitive losses that are also occurring. They can grow into serious obstacles later when your child reaches a more advanced reading level. I am a college English professor who is unusually well read on the subjects of digital technology and cognitive development. I see these problems firsthand in students of the present "digital generation". Regrettably, most educators have embraced digital tools (and marketing rhetoric) in a wholly uncritical way, and have made no real effort to inform the public about what the healthiest educational experiences truly require. To be clear, Leap Frog isn't doing anything wrong, and in my opinion, they make the best children's electronic learning products on the market. But do not make the mistake of believing such products are unequivocally "educational" or entirely harmless. Your child needs to spend as much time as possible on quiet, traditional reading, without multimedia distractions and the interruption of games. As I said in my review of the LeapPad2 tablet, the average teenager now experiences withdrawal-like symptoms (akin to substance abusers) if deprived of access to a screen-equipped digital device (smartphone, laptop, iPad, etc.) for more than 20 minutes. And they spend an average of 9 hours per day using media on screen-equipped devices! They are products of an entire generation of parents who unwittingly allowed them to become addicted to digital multimedia. As a result, their brains were never required to develop the capacity for quiet, sustained attention and nuanced reading that is absolutely indispensable for attaining the highest levels of education and precise thought.
The Leap Frog "Fairy Tales" Ultra-eBook's best features include its charming illustrations, its modest use of animations, its well-paced narration, and its ability to "sound out" words when they are tapped with the stylus. Had those elements been used to accentuate a more traditional version of each fairy tale, without the "Game Time" interruptions, the reading experience might have been truly outstanding. The games aren't bad, but they should be placed at the END of each story, not only to avoid interrupting the child's concentration, but to reinforce the story's vocabulary and to expand on the story's lessons. (I can imagine a wonderful game in which the child must select proper materials to build a house, and then arrange them into a stable structural design. It would assess their comprehension of the story and some of its implicit lessons, while also being fun.)
In short, this is a great add-on for distracting and lightly educating your child, but it is NOT a valid replacement for traditional quiet reading. I gave it three stars overall because despite the high quality of the product, its design is clearly at odds with the high educational expectations that probably prompts most parents to buy it. I suspect the same critique applies to most or all of the Ultra-eBooks.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
My 5 year old "plays" these books & games again and again!
We definitely like this! I would have paused about the price, but this included two stories, amazing graphics (it's kind of like an animated movie/story book), and some games. Definitely worth the price, though the cost can add up, so we'll have to pace ourselves in buying others.
When we clicked on the first story, we first got a song about how letters make sounds and sounds make words. It was catchy and fun (and not even annoying to me!).
Then it goes to the story, which has periodic breaks for games. I do agree with Leapfrog that this will help my daughter with phonics and sight words. (Sometimes they say something will, and I think it's a reach. Not this time!) Our little guy - who is three - likes to watch her play, so he's learning along with her. The difficulty can be adjusted to make it easier or harder; right now, as a new kindergarten student, we have it at the easiest and it's perfectly at the intersection of ability and challenge, so she's learning without getting frustrated. (She currently knows sounds of each letter and can identify a few basic words.)
The stories were definitely changed from the originals. They are the Leapfrog re-tellings, and - for example - The Three Little Frogs story has each frog build a house and then a wolf wants to play after they've built their houses. They don't let him in ("not by the green of my little frog skin"), but the wolf doesn't huff and puff. Instead, the inferior materials of some of the homes just fall apart when the frogs jump. At the end, the story is softened from the original by having the "wolf" actually just be their dog whose shadow looked like a scary wolf. I liked the new stories, and I think it could be a good critical thinking skills exercise for kids to compare and contrast the original story with this one.
I do wish the game times were separate from the story. Each game time was fun for our daughter (like one with spelling where she got to chose different vowels to complete a word and then the game read the new word to her and taught her a bit about phonics sounds in the process), but each time felt like an interruption to the story itself. My daughter didn't mind, but it still felt disjointed, and I don't think she retained as much of the story. (For example, she had difficulty re-telling it.) I think as she plays with it again and again it will be less distracting, so I don't think this is a major flaw.
Overall, I've been impressed with our Leappad experiences, and this ultra e-book is no exception.