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Golden Apple Awards 2010 (ages 6-8)

From a talking pen to a futuristic ant farm, these toys are made for kids' learning (and fun).

By GreatSchools Staff

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Tag Reading System

Ages 6-8, $39.99 (interactive U.S. map $19.99, books $9.99-$13.99 each)

Looking for a high-tech way to bring the written word to life for your little reader? With the much-lauded Tag Reading System, all it takes is the click of a pen.

In this case, the pen is a camera-enabled reader that identifies words and symbols in books and other products specially made by LeapFrog. So, for example, if your budding Lewis (or Clark) uses the device on the interactive U.S. map, he or she will hear facts and stories about state capitals, landmarks and natural wonders, wildlife — even how kids across the country live, eat, and play. Or your child might use it as a more traditional reading aid for such classics as The Little Engine That Could (there’s a library of more than 40 books and games to choose from), reading page by page or sounding out tough words. Bonus: The pen is capable of storing up to 10 audiobooks for on-the-go enjoyment.

Bottom line: Kids can master the basics of reading with this anything-but-basic pen.

Comments from readers

"Lets see YOU find something better that will excite kids to read!!!"
"Snore...three out of four of these toys are this the best great schools can do? Sad. Rotten Apple Award!"