A Leap Reader is a product which allows children to learn how to read and write by sounding out words and guiding letter step-by-step interactively, designed by Leap Frog in 2008 (Frog, 2008). Leap Reader engages kids in imaginative stories with lively character voices while building vocabulary skills and increasing reading comprehension skills. Collaborative handwriting helps children to write step by step on a mess-free, no ink Leap Frog learning paper. Also, Leap Reader has a built-in audio player that helps enhance listening comprehension skills for children as well.
The Leap Reader’s library consists of more than 100+ audio books and most popular children’s books to encourage children to read and sing along to fun learning songs or engage themselves in Trivia challenges, see Appendix A for visual. Leap Reader comes with a pen that has infrared camera that can read the text or let kids play games and puzzles. The pen has a rechargeable battery that can be charged via USB cable by inserting it in a laptop, see Appendix B for visual. (Frog, 2008). The Leap Reader also contains a sampler book however, all other books, games, audio books and handwriting workbooks are sold separately.
A Leap reader is aimed for children ages one to three years (Leap Reader Junior) or ages four to eight (Leap Reader). For this project, the target population will be four to eight male and female children. This product is important to this age group as it is designed for children to be able to read, write and learn from a young age on their own. With the use of Leap Reader children are able to develop essential long-term cognitive development and academic abilities. The leap reader allows children to use their imaginations and actively learn vocabulary skills while listening to animated character voices.
In addition, it helps boost their confident in reading, writing and learning their academic goals. A Leap Reader supports cognitive development with focus on the development of academic competence. The goal of this paper is to evaluate the toy Leap Reader using the empirical research of Diamond and Lee (2011) and parental perspectives from a qualitative interview. Journal Article Discussion The purpose of the study conducted by Diamond and Lee (2011), was to examine what approaches improves the executive functioning in children ages four to twelve for the early school years.
The top five approaches that they came up with are as follows: computerized training, aerobic exercise (including sports), martial arts and classroom curricula. Executive functioning is constructed on four qualities that all children need in order to be successful. The four qualities of executive functioning are as follows: creativity, flexibility, self-control, and discipline. The focus of all EFs (executive functioning) also comprises psychologically playing with ideas, giving a deliberated rather than an imprudent response, and staying attentive (Diamond and Less, 2011).
In addition, there is one more approach that Diamond and Lee (2011) looked into which is known as ‘Montessori’. Montessori is not an executive function however, its purpose is to determine if a child has a good EFs. To test these six approaches Diamond and Lee (2011) entailed different types of ways for each approach. Below are the methods and results of all six approaches Diamond and Lee (2011) attained to better understand the improvement of executive functioning in children. 1. Computerized Training: Method: one group of 4 year olds was trained on working memory via CogMed© – (computerized working memory training).
They used randomized-control trial with multiple training- and transfer-tasks. With one being on non-verbal reasoning, another on both, and a control group on both, but being at easy level. Those trained on working memory improved more on working-memory transfer tasks than the control group and those trained in reasoning improved more on reasoning transfer tasks than control group. None of the groups displayed transfer to un-practiced ability. The combined group displayed less progress on both and transfers were constricted.
Non-verbal working-memory training conveyed to other measures of non-verbal working memory, but not to the one measure of verbal working memory. Results: Consuming the same quantity, time, and regularity as CogMed© studies, has improved 2 of the 3 inhibition games practiced ages 4 and 6-year-olds with no transfers to un-practiced tasks. This was an assumption made by Diamond and Less (2011) that maybe the children were too young for this approach or the training given was too less, or training tasks was not the best. 2. Aerobic Exercise and Sports:
Method: Diamond and Lee (2011) explained that Davis et. al randomly assigned inactive, overweight seven to eleven years old to no treatment, 20-minutes/day or 40-minutes/day of group aerobic games (running games, jump rope, basketball, and soccer). Focusing on enjoyment and intensity more rather than competition or skill development. Results: Children with the high-dose aerobic group improved more on EFs (only on the most EF-demanding measure) and math, compared with no-treatment controls. Dose-response benefits of aerobic exercise were found for the most difficult EF task and for math.
None of the aerobics group improved more than control group on the EF skill of selective attention or on non-EF skills. 3. Martial Arts: Method: Children were randomly assigned for this approach from a homeroom class of Tae-Kwon-Do and standard physical education class in school. The age group of children in this study varied from five to eleven years of age. Results: Children that were involved in Tae-Kwon-Do are seen stronger compared to children that are enrolled in standard physical education class in school.
They also improved more on mental math (which requires working memory). Improvements were highest for the oldest children in (Grades 4 & 5) and least for the youngest (K & Grade 1) and greater for boys than girls (Diamond and Lee, 2011). 4. Classroom Curricula: Diamond and Lee (2011) explains that ‘tools of the mind (tools) is social pretend play game that is very popular in classroom curricula because children get to pretend a scenario and get the confidence to socially connect with friends.
Method: Tools was assessed against another high-quality program using EF measures that dealt with transfer of training. “Tools, 5-year-olds surpassed control children on both EF measures, which taxed all 3 core EFs, and especially on the more EF-demanding conditions” (Diamond and Lee, 2011). Results: the more the kids played with Tools the better EFs it received compared to more direct instruction. Due to children improving so much via Tools, a school withdrew from the study and switched all classes to Tools. . Montessori: Method: A raffle was done by a Montessori public school which was approved by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and children were chosen from that raffle to enter the Montessori public school. Those children were compared to children that also played the raffle, but was not chosen at the end of Kindergarten (age 5) and end of Grade 6 (age 12). Results: At age five, Montessori children showed better EFs than peers attending other schools.
They performed better in reading and math and showed more concern for equality and justice. No group modification was initiate in delay of indulgence. At age twelve, considering EFs, Montessori children presented more originality in essay writing than other children. Overall, Diamond and Lee (2011) discovered that the best approach to improve executive functioning in children will undoubtedly be the ones that engages children in something they like, what interest them the most, what are they most passionate about and what makes them happy and proud.
They also suggest that the most appropriate way to improve EFs and academic achievement is probably not to focus only what children desire, but to also motivate children’s emotional and social development by doing all 4 curricular-based programs that improve EFs and help children get physically strong by doing aerobics, martial arts, and yoga (Diamond and Lee, 2011). Moreover, Diamond and Lee (2011) explained five different approaches to improve executive functioning in children to help them succeed in school.
One out of the five approaches explains how it is possible for children to be successful by retrieving long term cognitive development and academic abilities. The classroom curricula approach discussed the important use of ‘tools’ to let children use their imagination and pretend to be in a scenario to help boost their confidence among friends and learn at the same time. Diamond and Lee, 2011). This approach connects to a leap reader because the sole purpose of a leap reader is to improve cognitive development and improve academic skills in children by letting them use their imagination, listening to lively characters and pretend to be like them. This not only helps children learn literature, but help them be successful in school.