Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Leapfrog Read with Me Scout Review

Read with Me Scout dog toy and title text. As anyone who has been reading this blog for a while will know, I am a massive fan of education. I qualified as a Teaching Assistant 12 years ago and have always been keen on any subject involving education, particularly inclusion in mainstream school. So, any product that offers little ones a discreet leg up, especially when it encourages them to enjoy the subject it teaches, is always something I am going to want to play with. This is why I was very enthusiastic about reviewing Read with Me Scout. It's cute, appealing and promises to introduce children to the all-important reading comprehension that is a big part of the early years and key stage 1 curriculum here in the UK. So, armed with a host of questions from readers of our Facebook page, I put the little fella through his paces.


This is the latest in a range of toys featuring Scout, but it's the first one I've experienced first hand. What's lovely about Read with Me Scout is he is very soft and cuddly, and not too heavy. He looks and feels just like a plush toy, which gives him a much wider appeal than just a reading device for young children.  The recommended age range is 2-5 years and he is very easy to use, with easy to manage buttons and pressure points. I think 5 years is possibly a little high, but it would obviously depend on the ability of the child. I was surprised, and relieved, to note that I didn't find his voice annoying, even after much repetition. I also thought the volume control was a useful addition, especially for the Sleepy Time Mode. I like that he has a clear English accent. It's important for children to experience different cultures and accents but, equally, I think it's good for them to have that familiarity and recognition, particularly when it comes to read along books. There are five books that accompany the toy and they are brightly coloured to match the corresponding button on Scout's collar, allowing the child to independently select and play the story the would like. They also feature a helpful guide for parents, which tells you the learning objective of each of the books. For example, the narrative storybook helps children learn how stories are put together, by introducing characters, settings and events. There are also parent tips, suggesting ways in which to expand the enjoyment and learing aspects of the stories.

Green Read with Me Scout dog and books.

In an ideal world, I would like him to be a bit more washable, as he does have a lot of white, which could quickly become grubby in young hands, and the instructions could be a bit more comprehensive. He is very easy to use, considering everything he does, but it took us a while to get the hang of him. It's also worth bearing in mind that, in our Scout, there was a tab next to the battery compartment that needed to be pulled out, in order for him to exit a demo mode and work to his full capacity, and it took us a while to work that out! I can't help wondering if Read With Me Scout might have more longevity as a learning toy, if there were more stories available in the range. However it is widely accepted that young children love repetition, so there is still a lot of play value to this toy. Not least because he does a lot more than read stories. He is very interactive. He talks about the stories he reads, asks questions and allows children to read at their own pace, by asking for a pat on the head when it's time for the next page. Additionally, he offers various phrases independently when patted, and has a less interactive Sleepy Time Mode, where he can read stories in full, without any need for interaction, or play lullabies. There are a total of six different points on Scout's body that will illicite a friendly reaction and I am sure he will provide a lot of fun for a young child, whilst encouraging enjoyment of books and reading. 

Read with Me Scout close up.



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4 comments

  1. What a lovely doggy! I've really enjoyed LeapFrog products - we've got through LeapReader and my kid loves it. This doggy would be great for young ones to get them interested in reading :) #triedtested

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  2. What a lovely way to get little children involved and interested in reading! I really love how he looks so cuddly too, rather than being a hard plastic toy. My 2 year old loves books, and I think she would really enjoy this. x #TriedTested

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  3. We have a very similar Read with Me monkey, and it is one of Eliza's favourite toys. Really grows with them. Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested

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  4. I'm totally with you on the need for it to be washable! All toys should be washable ;)
    Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested this week x

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