And, apparently, reading books to your children is for nerdy parents.
All the cool parents will now be farming out their dreary drudgerous reading-aloud duties to the Tag Reading System, a new wonder device from your good friends at LeapFrog. This "substitute-parent reading system" consists of a handheld remote-control-looking device that works with a library of "Tag-enabled" books to... well, read each page out loud to Junior so Mommy can spend her valuable time managing her investment portfolio or cruising Match.com instead.
Since just reading a book is no longer enough to hold children's interest in the Wired Age, Tag also features "leveled learning activities that adjust automatically to [each child's] own pace." Oh, and just so you can make sure your little ones are on track with their NCLB-approved learning goals, Tag also connects to "a personalized LeapFrog Learning Path" and monitors the reading skills they've mastered and those in which they continue to lag.
Of course, you could just sit down with little Jayden and Mackenzie and... I don't know, read to them? Ask them to read to you so you can hear how they're doing?
Also disheartening: the Tag "library" currently consists of one dreary purpose-written phonics reader called "Ozzie and Mack," a SpongeBob book and sixteen others, including "Walter the Farting Dog." (To be fair, it also includes "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" and "The Little Engine that Could.") And it's aimed at four- to eight-year-olds. My six- and eight-year-old would be bored out of their skulls by this collection of "literature;" we're currently finishing up The Thieves of Ostia and looking forward to embarking on The Hobbit next. Oh, and lest you think I'm just an anti-audiobook snobbish sort, we're also listening to A Little History of the World on CD in the car. The kids are freakin' riveted.
(Via David Carnoy at CNET's NewsBlog.)
(Miguel Helft at the NYT thinks Tag sounds dandy.)