February 18, 2005 Educators agree that early exposure to holding and using a writing tool is important for a child's motor skill development plus their ability to learn to read, and moving from finger-touch learning to holding a pencil is a major milestone, especially those entering preschool and kindergarten. That's why Leapfrog has created the LeapPad 'Plus Writing' system which has been turbocharged with the ability to recognise handwritten letters and numbers with a 'magic pencil'.
When LeapFrog asked parents and teachers what important learning concept children were struggling with, the answer came back resoundingly: "Writing!"
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
As a result, the new LeapPad 'Plus Writing' system combines the original LeapFrog learning system stylus with a pencil that is tracked by state of the art technology.
Now a child can learn the proper strokes to correctly write each letter or number while hearing its phonetic sounds.
The LeapPad 'Plus Writing' system takes interactive learning to a whole new level where the worlds of reading and writing collide! By integrating interactive activities for young children with writing, LeapFrog is helping to create a multisensory learning experience.
There's an exclusive library of writing books designed especially for the LeapPad 'Plus Writing' System or you can use all of the existing books from the LeapPad library. As your budding reader and writer grows, so does the library of choices.
The LeapPad 'Plus Writing' Learning System has already received eight international awards including the coveted US Oppenheim Toy Portfolio 2004 Gold Seal award; Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Snap Award; Toy Wishes Hot Dozen Award; Toy Wishes All Star, Education & Learning Category award; iParenting Media Award; and was the Great American Toy Test winner, KTVU-TV (FOX).
Suitable for children aged 4-8 years, each LeapPad Plus Writing System comes with two titles and is in stores now (Australia in early April ) with a recommended retail price of approximately AUS$129.00.
The Magic Pencil
As with all LeapFrog toys, the LeapPad 'Plus Writing' Learning System starts with magic, in this case the Magic Pencil.
The dual function Magic Pencil lets kids: * Write answers * Trace letters and numbers * Switch to non-writing mode to play fun learning games
One minute children use it to touch the page as a stylus, listening as words and letters are sounded out. And then with a quick switch, they are in writing mode practicing tracing letters and numbers, and writing words at their own pace.
The accuracy of the Magic Pencil allows children to touch objects that are closer together, while also helping teach pre-writing skills to even younger children - such as gripping a writing implement and tracing letters, aiding their fine motor skill development. But there are special features created just for parents too - volume control, a headphone jack and automatic shut-off save on batteries. Every writing page is erasable and the pencil can be replenished with standard lead refills, so they can be used over and over again.
The LeapFrog Library
Providing children with age-appropriate tools for learning is important, but making that learning fun and engaging is invaluable.
Incorporating 22 LeapPad titles, three LeapPad 'Plus Writing' titles and a host of titles for the Leapster, My First LeapPad and Little Touch, the Australian library delivers robust content designed to delight, surprise and entertain children while reinforcing learning.
The entire LeapPad Learning System library is organised by grade, to teach writing, reading, phonics, vocabulary, math, science, music and much more. The collection of books and software extends from easy-to-use step-by-step phonics programs to those based on some of the most popular and exciting characters around like SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and Winnie the Pooh.
Each LeapPad 'Plus Writing' Learning System comes with two titles and there are three additional titles in the launch range to collect with more for release shortly: * Pre-K Reading Writing #1 - Learn early reading, writing and maths skills (avail April) * Pre-K Maths - Learn early reading, writing and maths skills (avail April) * Disney Princesses (available October)
Ask the Experts
LeapFrog is committed to putting learning first in every product it makes- a philosophy that fuels the entire company. The company's insights into developing the right products for each age level is the direct result of a close collaboration between its in-house staff of former teachers and educators and a long-standing network of external educational experts.
As a testament to their success, the LeapPad Learning System is used in over 40,000 classrooms in America alone.
Available from Funtastic.