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Read to Me Pictures and Words--Puzzle Pairs Review by Tammy Walker

170 West 74th Street
New York, NY

Anyone raising small children would benefit from going to the delightful eeBoo website to browse their colorful, artistic learning toys. The company's product designers pride themselves in creating beautiful, solidly constructed toys that little ones will remember years from now. They use only original artwork from well-known children's book illustrators to create vibrant works of art that can be played with! On the site you will find sturdy puzzles, wall charts, tot towers, sketchbooks, notebooks, games, and much more.

Read to Me puzzles by eeBoo come with 36 matching picture/words pairs. Like eeBoo's other products, this pre-reading puzzle game is delightfully colorful and artistically drawn. Parents use this product to familiarize their young learners with pre-reading concepts while having fun putting puzzles together at the same time. Each puzzle duo comes with a complete sentence on one side and the pictures it's describing on the other side. Less mature learners find matches based on puzzle shape and color. More mature learners will begin to associate letters and words as depicting specific drawings on the puzzles.

Though there are numerous puzzle products that link vocabulary and language development with pictures, there aren't many that use complete sentences to embed vocabulary in appropriate context. You will find sentences like: "A fire engine is red" (a red fire truck on the opposing puzzle piece), "A goldfish lives in a bowl" (a goldfish swimming in a bowl), and "Do you like to draw?" (pictures of crayons on opposing side). Over time, pre-readers may begin to pick-up sight words in addition to vocabulary words--a major bonus. They will also work with real language in complete sentences, which will help them with speaking and writing. But, like many language learning toys, these puzzles are useful toward that end only to the degree that the teacher is working with her student. This learning activity has good potential if the parent will sit and interact with her child and the vocabulary. Otherwise, it may end up being simply a very attractive, well-made puzzle game.

Product review by Tammy Walker, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2008