Review by Christy Matte, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2012
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LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: Letter Factory

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Turn kids into letter-writing and sounding-out machines

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Teachers say (1 Review)
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Grades
Pre-K-K This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Plenty of silly interactive spots to explore and a full exploration of each letter (recognition, sound, writing)

Cons: Doesn't offer a great variety of games.

Bottom Line: It's a playful way to help reinforce and even introduce letter recognition, writing, and sounds.

Early in the year, kids can use the game to start to learn the letters, while later in the year, they can use it to reinforce things they've already learned. This is a nice tool for kids who are struggling with the concepts and those with learning challenges. The game can be used at a digital station or individually.

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LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: Letter Factory introduces kids to letter shapes, sounds, and word formation by offering a set of three games. In one, kids click on all the letters that match the one they're shown. As the difficulty increases, it includes upper- and lowercase letters. Another game asks kids to draw (trace) the letter. And other games have kids identifying sounds from a word (either by choosing the picture of the word that has the sound or by finding a missing letter for a word). Over time, kids unlock all 26 letters and teach Burfder, a shape-shifting purple blob, about the letters as well. In between these games, kids find plenty of interactive spots throughout the Letter Factory that are fun to explore.

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This is a fun way for kids to solidify their understanding of letters, their sounds, and how they're written. The game is upbeat and offers plenty of positive reinforcement. Unlike some other LeapFrog titles that have deeper story lines, this is better suited for short bursts of play or targeted practice on a particular letter. It's important to remember that LeapFrog games use the age/skill level of the profile on the device to provide content. Make sure that if kids are sharing profiles, they aren't playing at too advanced a level. It can be confusing and frustrating, especially when it comes to mingling upper- and lowercase letters.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

The games are fun for kids, especially those for whom reading is just starting to "click," but with only three main activities, it's not quite as sticky as it could be.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

The learning activities work well for teaching letters, their sounds, and how to write them. The game makes good use of the touchscreen to draw letters.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
5

Help is always available, and parents can track their child's progress in the LeapFrog Learning Path online. They can also find activities, worksheets, and games on the LeapFrog website.


Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Nathan P. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
4
Love learning your letters with LeapFrog.

This game is a great introduction to letters. That is all it advertises itself as and that is all that it does. It is a very basic game that will let the students have success. It is a simple game that teaches what a letter looks like, sounds like, and how to write it. It teachers the upper case and lowercase of each letter. The students will get plenty of practice working on those three aspects. I like that it shows both the upper and lowercase letters when teaching them, it makes you keep going until you get it right, and that the students get practice writing the letter using the stylus. Teachers (or Parents) can use the LeapFrog software to track student progress throughout the game as well. However, there is only a certain number of users that can register on each LeapPad.

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