As a child I always enjoyed reading. Before I could read the words on the page myself I loved being read to, then later once I was older and able to read by myself I would stay up late hiding beneath the blankets reading my favourite books. This love of reading quickly spilled over into a love of writing, first learning to form letters and then eventually using my handwriting skills to write elaborate tales to go with the pictures I had drawn.
As an adult I still enjoy both reading and writing. Although most of my writing is done at the computer now, with no need for handwriting, I am still fond of pulling out my notebook and writing by hand.
Next to reading, learning to write is one of the skills that as parents we think of as most important for our children to learn. I know that learning to both read and write will open up a whole new world of imagination, creativity and expression for Mikey, with endless possibilities. He has already been learning some letter formation at preschool and can write his full name. I’ve been helping him outside of school too, encouraging him towards storytelling by asking him to tell me about the pictures he has drawn both at school and at home.
So when the Mr Pencil Ultra eBook arrived in the mail, Mikey was excited to get started playing with it on his LeapPad2 and I was looking forward to seeing how it would help him with both his reading and writing.
Mr Pencil – The Lost Colors of Doodleburg
Mikey found Mr Pencil – The Lost Colors of Doodleburg engaging from the very start. The story begins in Doodleburg where Dr Dull steals all of the colours from the town. It is up to the main characters: Dot, Dash, and Mr Pencil to save the day.
The reading level in the Ultra eBook adjust itself to suit your child’s reading level, from simple sentences for beginning readers, to more complex sentences and words for more advanced readers. The Ultra eBook will read the story to you, then you can tap on words with the stylus to read them again or tap on highlighted words to bring up a dictionary with a picture and definition of the word. Mikey actually really enjoyed being able to tap each word and have it read back to him, he would reread each page several times before continuing to the next and try sounding some of them out himself. He would also spend time tapping the characters on each page as they often had their own little animation and something extra to say about the story.
The writing skills are integrated within the Ultra eBook from the very beginning, starting with basic lines (you need to draw a line with the stylus to help Dot and Dash climb down the hole to follow Dr Dull) through to more complex letter structures, such as uppercase letters with curved or angled lines and also the more complicated lowercase letters.
The writing level adjusts itself separately from the reading level to accommodate for children who may be strong readers but need extra help writing (or vice versa). Although the sensitivity for the letter formation is quite forgiving, Mikey still had a few frustrations following the lines at first. On paper, although he is able to form a lot of the letters correctly, they are often wider than they should be or too tall in comparison with others. He eventually got the hang of tracing the letters on the LeapPad2 and is now getting pretty good at it, I know this will help his handwriting to become more readable.
Last week I had the pleasure of sitting in on a teleconference with the creators and developers of the Mr Pencil and the Lost Colors of Doodleburg Ultra eBook. I am always consistently impressed with the knowledge and research that goes into each LeapFrog creation and this was no exception.
We’ve enjoyed the Mr Pencil and the Lost Colors of Doodleburg Ultra eBook so much that I’m absolutely delighted to be able to host a giveaway!
I’m thrilled to be able to offer one  lucky reader:
- 1 LeapPad2 (MSRP $99.99)
- 1 Mr. Pencil and the Lost Colors of Doodleburg Ultra eBook (MSRP $19.99)
To enter for a chance to win, please follow the instructions on the widget below. Good Luck!
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Mr Pencil – The Lost Colours of Doodleburg and a LeapPad2 (sold separately) for review as a Leapfrog Parent. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. Product photo and giveaway courtesy of Leapfrog.