Friday, October 15, 2010

LeapFrog Learning Systems - Tag.Give.Read &

Those of you that know me, know that I love (almost) all LeapFrog products. My first choice for my kids is that they play with non-electronic toys. I like blocks, creative play, paper and crayons - you know, the "when I was a kid" toys. However, if they are going to play with electronics and toys that interact with them, then they must be toys in which I can find some educational value. When the girls were little, I got them Tag Readers. They loved them. They liked being independent enough to read by themselves. They enjoyed the games that were built into the stories. I liked that the games tested their reading comprehension and taught them new words. It was a win-win situation. As they got a little older I got the girls a Leapster. While I was not as satisfied with that product overall (Grainy images, a lack of quality games that fit our needs, and a difficult interaction with customer service left me a bit jaded), I do think that for us it was better than a Nintendo DS. In addition, a recent brief encounter with the new Explorer has me optimistic that LeapFrog might be on the right track again with this new product.

In addition to liking LeapFrog products, I also appreciate a company that tries to give back to the community. It is great to manufacture products that can help our children succeed in the classroom, but what good is it if the products can't find their way into the hands of the children that need them most. According to
"Last year LeapFrog donated $1.5 million in Tag School Reading Systems and books to the classrooms of more than 10,000 U.S. Kindergartners. By the end of the school year, 99% of the teachers in the program said they would recommend Tag to other teachers and to parents, because their students became more enthusiastic readers and exhibited improved reading skills after working with Tag systems."
While that is a step in the right direction, LeapFrog is doing even more.  Through the Tag.Give.Read program and, they will match donations dollar for dollar up to $100,000 to get Tag Readers into the classrooms of teachers that want them.  (Not to sound like an ingrate, but I'd personally like to see them give a bit more, perhaps even to programs on that aren't promoting their specific products.  In fact, they may already do this.  I haven't done any additional research into LeapFrog  to see what their entire donation portfolio consists of.)

The best thing about the Tag.Give.Read program for me is that it introduced me to  Why haven't I heard of this site before?  From the website -
"Here's how it works: public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on Requests range from pencils for a poetry writing unit, to violins for a school recital, to microscope slides for a biology class.
Then, you can browse project requests and give any amount to the one that inspires you. Once a project reaches its funding goal, we deliver the materials to the school.
You'll get photos of your project taking place, a thank-you letter from the teacher, and a cost report showing how each dollar was spent. If you give over $100, you'll also receive hand-written thank-you letters from the students.
At, you can give as little as $1 and get the same level of choice, transparency, and feedback that is traditionally reserved for someone who gives millions. We call it citizen philanthropy."
The former teacher in me just LOVES this idea.  I've actually been browsing the site for the past couple of days trying to find a specific science project that I'd like to donate to.

*Disclaimer - I was initially inspired to write this post in order to get extra entries into a giveaway hosted by Life in a House of Blues.  However, after a bit of browsing, I would have written it anyway.  Information came from and  All thoughts and opinions are my own.


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