Teaching My Baby To Read

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Leap Frog Word Whammer

I purchased this Leap Frog Word Whammer set for Jenna’s upcoming second birthday.  Two days into summer break however, I busted it out early because the kids and I are already getting bored.  I know, I know… we should be playing outside all summer.  But it was 63 degrees and raining!

Anyhow, I’m so glad I brought this out early because Jenna is absolutely enthralled with it.  The first day she played with it for 30 minutes straight.  It is really helping her master identifying lower case letters, and reinforcing all of the sounds she has learned through the “Letter Factory” video.  I made this purchase on the recommendation of my friend (and sorority sister) Claire, and boy was she right on the money about this one!  In fact, I’m going to go back and add it to my “Where to Start” page, in the section for children who already know their upper case letters.

I don’t know if you can tell from the picture but there are three different settings.  Right now, Jenna is happiest playing the first setting, which works on letter identification and sounds.  The next two settings practice building and spelling words.  There is also a yellow “paw” button that lets you play the ABC song, over and over and over and over and over and over again.  (Can you tell what Jenna’s favorite button is?)

Another cool feature of the Word Whammer which is a big improvement over the telephonics toys we have, (have I reviewed that yet?), is the mechanical feedback delay.  I say mechanical, because the letter chips are shaped in such a way that they have arches on the top, but are flat on the bottom.  So you can’t just cram any letter in there, you have to have it right side up.  That takes Jenna just long enough to figure out, that the sound chip has time to play the whole letter sound of the previous letter.  I’m not explaining this very well, but it prevents her from just making it go “The B says- The B says- The B says-” etc.  Instead, it has time to finish saying “The B says buh” before she has forced it to play the next chip.

One big caveat of this toy is that it is made of super strong magnets!  That’s probably why the box says “for 3 years on up”.  I am being extra careful to put all of the pieces in a ziplock bag, and then put the toy up high so Jenna can’t reach it.  This has the added bonus of making the letters extra special when we get them down to play with.


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