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My eldest daughter used to play with the Tag Junior system and really enjoyed it, when she was about 3 1/2 she started to get a bit bored with the books that she had and so instead of buying more books we decided to buy her the next system in the series for Christmas. We decided on two books for our daughter picking her favourite characters at the time which were Cars and Dora.
The books are still widely available even though the system is 2 years old now, the books can be bought from many shops such as Argos, Tesco and Toys R Us and can also be bought online from the likes of Amazon. Each book costs about £10 but if you hold out you can find them on offers such as 3 for 2 at different points throughout the year. I think that £10 is really good value when you think you can pay near that for a normal reading book and this has so much more.
The book is more than A5 but less than A4, we find it is a great size for our daughter as it is big enough for her to handle easily but not too big that it falls off her knee or is unbalanced when she applies pressure with the reader.
The cover of the book is hard backed and on the front you have a green stripe acorss the top of it showing the Leapfrog logo and stating Tag to show that it is the Tag system that this book goes with. The picture on the front is of Dora and Boots arriving to school waving and looking very happy which I think is a great picture as it is showing school as a good enjoyable place and also the front cover is nice and brightly coloured to attract your child. It states on the front cover that this book is aimed at children from 4-6 years which is about right I would say as my daughter was just over 3 1/2 when she started using it and now she is 5 1/2 and she can work the book perfectly.
The first time you use the book you have to download the audio from the Leapfrog Connect application which you can do from the website www.leapfrog.com/tag and is very easy to do although I cannot tell you exactly how to do it as my husband did the downloading but I know it didn't long and he didn't swear at it so it was simple to do. Over time as your child uses the system and the book you can go back onto the website www.leapfrog.com/learningpath where you can monitor what they are learning and how they are developing with the book which I think is great and you can see where your child is not doing so well.
Inside the front cover of the book you have a page where it shows you what the different symbols you will come across in the book actually mean. There is,
Purple circle with open book - Read the Page
Yellow Circle with a triangle inside - Read the Story
Blue circle with two arrows in it - Repeat
Red Circle with a square in - Stop
Green circle with star in - Game
The story from the book is one that is also shown as a programme on Television which we have seen many times and every time it comes on my daughter points out that it matches her book. The story begins with Dora and Boots on their way to school and they see the teacher Maestra Beatriz on her way to school too. The teacher gets a flat tyre on her bicycle and so she has to put all her school things into backpack. The map then comes into the story whilst Dora checks what is the quickest way to school which is through letter town and then over number mountain. The group work their way through letter town via bus and up number mountain by train and then Doras cousin Diego gcomes to their aid with a Condor to get them through the forest quickly. The group arrive at the school and then you have to pick out of packpack which are Maestra Beatriz's schhol supplies but watch out as Swiper the Fox is trying to steal them, just like in the show you have to say "Swiper, no swiping" to stop him and finally the group is at the school ready for the day.
The story follows the usual format of any Dora story which I think is great as it makes it easy for your child to recognise if they watch the show and it means that they know what to expect from the book too.
Games Through the Book
The first game in the book is on the page of Letter Town, when you press the green game icon it will say to you the name of the letter and tell you what sound the letter makes and then ask your child to find the letter on the page, once your child touches the corrrect letter it tells them they are correct and praises them for finding it. I am not very keen on this game really as when your child starts school they begin to learn about letters in the lower case form and with phonics that look at the sounds but this book uses capital letters which they are not learning at 4 years old.
The second game comes on number mountain, when you press the game icon on the page the reader asks your child top touch certain numbers to help Dora get over the mountain, sometimes it asks for one number to be pressed and sometimes it asks for more numbers to be pressed. The game is quite good as it helps with number recognition but also if it is asking for more than one number once your child touches the first number in the sequence it reminds them the other numbers they still need to touch. When your child has followed the instructions and get the correct answer they are told well done which sometimes is in English and sometimes is in Spanish.
The third game is on the page where they are getting Maestra Beatriz's supplies out of packpack, when you press for the game it asks your child to pick things out of the pictures around backpack such as "pick something which is not a school supply" I like this game as it helps with your childs powers of observation.
At the back of the book you have 3 double pages which are for playing games on, the first game is to look back over the whole book ad answer questions which are posed by the reader, this game is good as it tests your childs memeory and we have found that the more we have read the book and the more our daughter has known what to expect the better she is getting at it which of course is what you would expect to happen.
The next page has a wide variety of books floating around with pictures on them and helps your child begin to understand about sequenmces, you have to pick a beginning book which is surrounded by red and then you have to pick a second book which is the middle in the sequence which is surrounded by purple and then finally match in the end book which is surrounded by orange. An example of this is the first book has a snowball on it then the second book has half a snowman on it and then the third book has the finished snowman on it. My daughter really struggled with this concept at first and she wasn't able to complete the tasks without a lot of help but now she understands the concept of what the book wants her to do and can complete the task with ease.
The final game is where the class are on a trip out to the museum, there are a list of words on one side of the page such as beads and then when you touch the word it tells you what the word says and asks your child to pick out the matching picture to the word. This is a great game which helps your child match items up to words but also allows them to learn about new things like what you would find in a museum, I know my daughter didn't know what a tapestry was until she used this book.
My daughter really enjoys this book, she enjoys listening to the story even though she knows it word dfor word and she has really progressed with the games in the book too. She is now able to pick out every letter and every number in the book which I think is great as they haven't been learning much about capital yet at school but she is able to understand the different letter names depending on whether it is lower or upper case.
The book is really durable, the pages are glossy and on thick page which means they don't tear easily, there is an odd mark on the pages where my daughter has pressed the reader into the book too hard but it doesn't alter the working of the book. The book has been used for the past 2 years and every page still works perfectly and the story still read out without missing any words or going off at all.
The pages are nice and brightly coloured and they include spanish and english words which is great as apparently if children are introduced to another language at a young age they can pick it up without any effort. When the story is being read there are also little sound effects going on such as birds tweeting which is really nice as I feel it brings the story to life.
This system is really brillinat, it is easy for your child to manage by themselves but can also be played with along with a parent, the books for the system are fantastic quality and well worth the £10 they cost, this book and whole system comes well recommded from our household.
Can Dora and her friends help Maestra Beatriz get to school before the third bell?Read along in this Dora the Explorer adventure to find out. After the story, play learning activities that help build vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. Ages 4 - 6 YearsSee in Store for full range of titles.