LeapFrog’s Read with Me is designed to inspire early readers. Arlo chooses a book by pressing the corresponding colour on Scout’s collar, and then follows Scout’s prompts to turn the page at the right moment. When he first realised what this toy does, Arlo was really excited, in a “Look! I’m reading all by myself!” kind of way.
Arlo has just turned three, and got the hang of how to operate Scout straight away. He has had no difficulty in following any of Scout’s instructions, and at no point have I felt that the Read With Me is going beyond his level of comprehension. Read With Me Scout’s ease of use does not compromise the educational challenge or appeal for Arlo.
There are five books each exploring a different theme such as rhyming, narrative, or learning about a specific topic, ie. the weather. There are words on the pages, which Scout reads out loud as you follow the book. At around 5 pages, the books are not long. But when reading with Scout, there is a lot of concentration required, so I’d say the books are just the right length to hold the attention span of a preschooler. The chosen topics are all pretty engaging and suitable for a child of Arlo’s age.
There is also a ‘Sleepy Time Mode’ designed for bedtime, where Scout tells relaxing stories followed by eight minutes of lullabies.
Read with me Scout is one of those toys that kids love, but parents want to throw out the window. I mean that in the nicest way possible – because I do love LeapFrog toys, and I love the way they ignite Arlo’s enthusiasm. But the songs just go round and round in my head until I think I’m going insane.
I text Sam the song lyrics whilst he’s at work. It’s a great wind up – just when you’ve managed to get the song out of your head, BAM, it’s back again.
However, the great thing about Read with Me Scout is that it keeps Arlo entertained for about half an hour, which is long enough for me to go upstairs and attempt to give Rory a short nap.
And the great thing about Read with me Scout for Arlo is, well, everything. He thinks Scout (or Gub as he is known is this house) is his little friend. He sweetly replies to all of Gub’s questions as if he is a real live person, and he loves reading books with Gub.
I’d like to see a ‘parent-involvement’ mode. I like reading with Arlo. I know that at some point he will be able to read by himself, and getting in the habit of doing so has to begin somewhere. But reading has always been an activity that we can share, and although Arlo loves that Scout enables him to ‘read’ competently on his own, I find myself wishing that it wasn’t such a solitary activity. I do try to get as involved with Scout as I can, but it would be nice if there was a feature that specifically encourages others to join in with the fun too.
I also think a feature where you could choose any book to read to Scout would be a nice touch. Just some generic remarks from Scout so a child can feel he or she is doing a good job of telling a story, or a parent could read a book to their child and Scout. I think Arlo would really like this.
If you just cannot abide by noisy toys, this one is not going to be for you. However, for the rest of us, it’s well worth attempting to achieve immunity to the annoyingly catchy tunes as a trade-off for a toy that will keep your preschooler happily occupied.
LeapFrog Read With me has an RRP of £24.99
We received a LeapFrog Read With Me for the purpose of this review.