Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

LeapFrog’s Latest Gadget for Kids: Magic Pen for Both E-Reading and Writing

If you can tear your kid away from the iPad long enough, you might want to hand him or her the latest gadget from LeapFrog Enterprises.

The California-based company, known for its educational-based LeapPad tablets for kids, has just introduced a new device aimed at helping youngsters learn to read and write.


Called the LeapReader, the pen-like tool reads audio books aloud and teaches basic writing skills, reciting letters and words aloud as the child is writing them. It will also offer games and other incentive-based learning tools.

If you’re familiar with LeapFrog’s product line, the LeapReader will remind you a lot of the Tag and Tag Junior audio pens. The Tag systems, however, are limited to electronic book-reading, and don’t include the writing tutorials, which LeapFrog says will offer a more complete learning solution.

The rechargeable device has an expected battery life of five hours and can hold up to 40 downloaded titles, available through LeapFrog’s library. LeapFrog says there will be 100 digital content audio titles — like audio books and trivia challenges — available by year’s end, including titles in the Clifford series, “The Velveteen Rabbit” and Little Golden Books. These range in price from $5 to $10.

The LeapReader itself costs $50, and will come to market in July. It supports English-language learning only. Oh, and there’s another cost to factor in: The LeapReader works with “interactive learning paper” and Learn to Write workbooks — about 35 to 42 interactive pages — that cost $20.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald