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We purchased the Leapfrog Tag Reading System for my little girl when she was around 3 and have steadily been building an impressive collection of Tag books since. One of the most recent purchases was this book Beauty and the Beast The Enchanted Rose and we have been thoroughly impressed with it, as we have been with the other books that we have purchased. This book is slightly different to the others because it is part of the Early Reading Series, which is designed to help children start to learn to read independently.
The book itself is the same as similar titles with an eye-catching hardback design. A green strip at the top of the book states that the book aims to teach short vowels, long vowels, sight words and rhyming. The illustration on the front cover is of Belle from Beauty and the Beast wearing her stunning yellow ballgown and holding the enchanted rose - it captured my daughter's imagination on sight and she couldn't wait to start reading the book with her tag pen. As always to make the book work with the pen, you first have to load the book onto the tag reader by visiting the Leapfrog website, now this review isn't about the tag pen itself, but the pen is used to read the story when the child presses it on words, icons and pictures on the internal pages. We did loaded this particular book onto the pen before we gave the book to her so there was no delay in her being able to use it and she was able to get stuck into it straightaway.
Due to this being an Early Reader book, the story and language has been simplified for the younger reader. For example the first few sentences are:
"Belle and her father live in a small town. She likes to read books. He likes to make things".
There is a lot of repetition throughout the book and the first page lists a number of "Get-Ready words", which are the high frequency words (in this case 10 words are listed, Beast, book and rose being 3 of them). Although the story spans 25 pages, many of these are full page images, which help to break up the text and add interest for the smaller child. These illustrations are colourful and help the child to follow the story of Beauty and the Beast and are drawn in the typical Disney style. When pressed these pictures add sound effects and sound bites from the film and so children are encouraged to explore the whole scene to find the hidden content.
There is the option of being able to read each of the words on the page individually by pressing each word in turn and thus helping the child to recognise the spelling of the word being spoken by the Tag Reader or to have the whole paragraph of text read to you without having to press on the words, but pressing the open book icon on the top of each page. I found that to begin with my daughter used this option the most frequently, but as she became more interested in the word formation and spelling she started to use the former option. In this book there is also an option to have the words on the page sounded out phonetically, obviously a feature of the Early Reader series which doesn't feature in other tag books. This is great for helping children to think about the letters and sounds which make up the words in the book and to help them to think about spelling words on their own.
As with most of the other tag books that we own, there are also games on some of the pages to help aid learning and to provide a bit of additional fun! This extra content is accessed by pressing on the green and white star icon at the bottom of some of the pages and full instructions are given when this is pressed. An example of one of the games in this book is to count the wolves who are attacking Belle and then to find the correct number word in the text.
A page at the end of the book lists the words that you are learning when you have read the book and these have been grouped into Short Vowel words, Long Vowel words and Sight Words.
I thoroughly recommend this book and I am so glad that we purchased it. Our daughter is now in pre-school and has impressed her teachers with her reading and spelling and we really think that using books like this with her tag pen has contributed towards this. She doesn't realise that she is learning and just finds it a fun activity to do, which to be fair it really is! It also gives her something she can do on her own if we are cooking or busy elsewhere and she doesn't need anyone else to set it up for her which is great. To get the most out of the book you will have needed to purchase a Leapfrog Tag Reading System pen, but of course this book can be read in the normal way too and I am sure that it will be used without the pen as my daughter becomes more confident in her own reading abilities.
The book is currently for sale on Amazon for £9.70 and is well worth the money in my opinion.
Join well-loved characters from the classic fairy tale as you relive the story of Belle and Beast and what it means to find true beauty and love. Throughout the story, play learning activities that help build vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. Use your Tag Reader to bring this story to life. Read the story aloud and touch the characters to hear what they're thinking. Hear words sounded out and get practice rhyming with Belle at the ball. Children can earn online rewards and parents can connect the Tag Reader to the online Leapfrog Learning Path to see what their child is playing and learning. The Tag teaches short vowels, long vowels, sight words and rhyming.