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HomeGreat GiftsGolden Apple Awards

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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V.Reader Interactive e-Reading System

Ages 6-8, $59.99

Called the “Kindle for kids,” this reading device combines stories featuring well-known characters like Dora the Explorer with interactive games that teach specific reading skills. As a product designed to both capture kids’ attention and keep it focused on learning, VTech's V.Reader Interative e-Reading System gets high marks. It's kid-friendly and kid-proof, with a colorful interface and sturdy, functional buttons. Thanks to the cartoons, kids may feel more like they’re watching Saturday-morning TV than doing work.

The only caveat is the long-term expense — the V.Reader burns through batteries, and the AC adapter is sold separately. To download the six free e-books that come with the purchase, you need to buy a SD memory card (Toshiba, Transcend, SanDisk, Kingmax, and Imation are the compatible brands). Additional e-book cartridges are about $20. Still, once you’ve made the commitment to this toy, your ready-to-read child will have hours of productive fun on this handheld literacy learner.

Bottom line: This kiddie Kindle boosts early reading skills with the help of cartoons — but at a price.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

03/24/2011:
"Lets see YOU find something better that will excite kids to read!!!"
11/15/2010:
"Snore...three out of four of these toys are electronic...is this the best great schools can do? Sad. Rotten Apple Award!"
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