15th September 2000 at 01:00
Primary. LeapPad Learning Center. Ages: 4-7. pound;60 per unit (each additional book and cartridge pound;12)

Early Learning Centres. Tel: 08705 352 352 Website: www.elc.co.uk.

LeapPad Learning Center - the new reading development tool from LeapFrog Toys - bridges the gap between the printed page and the interactivity of a computer.

The laptop-sized device includes an interactive book and cartridge that slots into the side of the pad and a "magic" pen that brings words and pictures to life. Children can simply read the words on the page or listen to a narrator. By pointing the pen at any of the words on the page they can hear individual letters pronounced and words spelt out. Children can also point to illustrations and listen to extra dialogue or even sound effects.

The 32-page Leap into Learning interactive bok which is sold with the unit has stories and sections covering geography, languages, science and music. Additional books, including Bounce Tigger Bounce and Richard Scarry's Best Word Book can be bought for pound;12.

ThinkPad has a bash-proof case and is extremely easy to use and carry around. All you have to do is open it and press the "on" button.

There is a set of six straight- forward instructions which will take less than a minute for even the most technophobic supervisor to understand. Children simply need to recognise three or four phrases and icons to use the book independently.

LeapPad is geared more towards the home market but the interactivity makes it an attractive proposition for primaries with limited ICT equipment. LeapPad is available from the end of September.


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