Thursday, August 30, 2007

LeapFrog SchoolHouse Releases Leapster(R) Story Explorers

This may also be a great way to also help Spanish-speaking parents engage in their children's education at home, if it can be made accessible. -Patricia

New Curriculum Product Receives Award for One-to-One, Hand-Held Instruction With Spanish Audio Support for English Language Learners
August 29, 2007

LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. , today announced the release of Leapster(R) Story Explorers. Designed primarily for early-proficiency students in grades K-3, the award-winning program is the first curriculum for English Language Learners (ELLs) developed for an interactive handheld platform. Multiple learning levels, tailored tutorials for usage and curriculum, and a wide variety of engaging learning activities enable students to develop essential skills in language and story comprehension as well as basic early reading skills.

Leapster Story Explorers offers instruction and skill practice in vocabulary, phonemic awareness, language structures, and comprehension at English language proficiency levels 1-2. The program integrates English language content with Spanish audio support, ensuring that students can proceed through the program even if their teacher is not fluent in Spanish. Additionally, the program enables teachers to track each student's progress to maintain accountability, and adjust the curriculum for a more customized learning experience.

After reviewing Leapster Story Explorers just prior to launch, Children's Technology Review bestowed their Editor's Choice Award on the product, an honor that is presented to the highest quality children's products in interactive media, as judged by a team of parent/teacher testers. According to Children's Technology Review, these award-winning solutions are "no fail" products, worthy of their cost, and able to keep children engaged for days at a time.

Leapster Story Explorers expands the family of Leapster Portable Technology Centers (PTCs), which also includes grade-level kits that provide instruction and practice in reading, math, spelling, and critical thinking curriculum for students in grades K-2. Leapster software delivers leveled skill practice in engaging formats with tutorials and structured hints for students, adapting to a student's abilities so the lesson avoids being too easy or too difficult. The Leapster PTC allows educators to add affordable, easy-to-use technology centers that encourage small-group instruction or individual student-directed learning. The basic Leapster PTC kit supports up to 21 students with five Leapster handheld units, seven Leapster cartridges, headphones, AC adapter, and a power strip. Kits also include 21 Student Practice Books to expand upon the software content and provide additional opportunities for practice and skill mastery.

"Our growing, award-winning curriculum on the Leapster handheld offers one of the most engaging instruction options available to students today," said Mike Lorion, president of LeapFrog SchoolHouse. "Leapster Story Explorers enables English Language Learners to become engaged, work on important academic objectives, and gain more confidence in their school experience."

A 2007 study conducted in Richmond, CA showed that the Leapster PTC significantly enhanced student performance on key early literacy and comprehension skills. In the study, second grade English Language Learner (ELL) students used Leapster Story Explorers for a period of 33 instructional days. Students at beginning and early intermediate language proficiency levels were tested before and after program use, demonstrating significant growth in comprehension skills (30% gain) and phonemic awareness skills (22% gain) over the 6-week implementation.

"Leapster Story Explorers is a wonderful tool for students and teachers," said Natalia Del Pozo, a teacher who participated in the study. "After spending 20 minutes a day with the program, my students' oral and phonics skills improved a great deal. With Leapster, I can easily track my students' progress and focus on the skills that need improvement."

Leapster Story Explorers is the latest addition to the LeapFrog SchoolHouse suite of solutions designed for English Language Learners, which includes: the English Picture Dictionary for Spanish Speakers, the Language First!(TM) Program, and the English Learner's Family Involvement Kit.

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