Customer Reviews: LeapFrog: Letter Factory
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on October 1, 2012
There is a reason why the majority of Leapfrog reviews are five stars - LeapFrog: Letter Factory is the perfect mix of educational content and entertainment. I am convinced that it is one of the best children's DVDs to ever hit the market.

I have two beautiful boys: the oldest is nearly five and the youngest is 18 months. My oldest was diagnosed with PDD-NOS. While he does well in other subjects, he had shown some delays with speech and used to get frustrated and agitated when I tried to sit him down to read.

Six months ago, my best friend suggested I play some educational DVDs for him. She bought me a copy of Letter Factory to play for the oldest. "Blown away" best describes how I felt when I saw him fall in love with the DVD. I literally cried I was so happy. Now all he wants to do is watch it. The most amazing part is that not only has his speech has significantly improved, but he has started to read books on his own!

After seeing how great "Letter Factory" was for my oldest I tried showing it to my youngest. Unfortunately it was a little too advanced for him, so I did some research on Amazon to find a more age-appropriate DVD and ended up buying the Tiny Tutor DVD set. The videos are very simple and slow paced but really hold his attention. After about three months of watching my youngest son has picked up most of the numbers and a few letters. I am saving "Letter Factory" for when he is older and actual reading (not just word recognition) becomes more important.

The rest of the Leapfrog series is now on my Christmas list. I know it sounds crazy but "Letter Factory" has made me a true believer.

Beyond highly recommended - a must have!

Update - January 2013: As promised, I also bought LeapFrog: Talking Words Factory and Leapfrog: Numberland as Christmas presents for my oldest boy. He absolutely adores them!
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on April 1, 2005
I have never felt strong enough to actually take the time to write a review. I am a certified k-6 teacher who has told everyone I know about this amazing movie and now I am telling you...This was the first (out of 4) Leap Frog Movie that my children watched. My 3 1/2 year old and 2 years 2 month old boys are allowed to watch 1 movie a day. Each Day they agreed, in excitement, to watched this movie. Under a week my 3 1/2 year old knew his letter sounds. He could sing the letter sound song almost as fast as he could sing the alphabet. After a week, he amazed us when he sat down on the ground and wrote out the entire alphabet like a 4th grader. Had NO idea he could write like this! Shortly thereafter, the 2 year old knew all his letter sounds and letter recognition.

Talking Words Factory: I was so impressed that I bought them the Talking Words Factory that 2nd week. I wasn't surprised that my 3 1/2 year old began to spell, writing, and sounding out 3 letter words. He told me all about how the vowels were all sticky and their job was to stick letters together to make words. He went around singing the vowel song.

My kids loved the videos so much that for 10 months...My son's (who used to play with Thomas the Trains and puppies) were obsessed with letters and words. They made their own letter and word factory machines out of their toys and tubs, drew each letter cartoon character, and sang the letter and vowel songs, and the older one wrote, yes wrote, many of his own homemade books. I knew there might be a problem with this obsession when all his arts and crafts from pre-preschool came home with letters all over them in place of eyes, noses, etc!

Talking Word Factory 2: It doesn't stop there...They got the Talking Word Factory 2 and Math Circus when they came out this Christmas. In a couple of days, the now 4 year old, was telling me all about sh, ch, th, and other blends. He told me how the silent e at the end of the word made the other vowel say its name (long vowel sound). He went on to tell me also how "when 2 vowels go walking the first one does the talking." And he wrote and read new complex words such as, boat, home, dime, wait, etc. This really increased his ability to read many, many new words - 8 letter words too!

Math Circus: They loved it too! Though it is fast moving for beginners, it is entertaining and has an easy concept. Adding and subtracting now comes pretty easy for my 4 year old. I gave him a math work sheet for addition and subtraction just for kicks. Wouldn't you know it, he did all of them with no problem. He was so interested in adding that he started asking about problems such as 3 + 3 + 3. Which helped him learn the concept of multiplication 3 x 3, 3 x 4, etc. But, we told him that he had plenty of time to learn that later!

The only negative comments that I have to say about these Leap Frog videos: Nothing, Oh, except that I wish my children weren't so obsessed with letters! They eat, breath, and sleep letters. Sometimes I just wish they would play with the trains, cars, and other toys. They will have their entire school life to learn about letters and reading! I just hope that when the time comes for school that they won't have grown board of it!

Other Leap Frog learning tools that reinforce what they learned on the videos:

LF Fridge Phonics Magnets - Love it. It sings each letters song when you put the letter in the hole.

LF Word Whammer Fridge Phonics Set - LF just came out with this. I know that they will love. I bought it for the next birthday! It is like the Fridge Phonics, but you can spell 3 letter words.

LF Letter Factory Board Game - Love it too! It is interactive and the board game talks and sings!

LF Sing Along Letters Flash Cards & CD - Songs from the DVDs. Not that you don't hear the songs sang enough from your children!

Wish they would make computer CD's too!

LF Leap Pad - Fun but they got board with the same books over & over. $14 a book!

There are many others, but I had to draw the line somewhere!

If you check all the other reviews, I am not alone. Only two out of 121 people gave this movie less than 5 stars! It is about time someone made a movie that parents and children both agree on! Thank you Leap Frog!
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on December 18, 2008
The creators of this program have come up with an excellent concept; animating letters that make sounds representing each letter in the Alphabet. I have a degree in Psychology and studied several modules on how children learn to read. I also have 2 preteen children who I taught to read and one 4 year old daughter who I bought this learning video for. The four year old learnt all the sounds pretty quickly. However, there are a few letters pronounced incorrectly; L is pronounced ULL, R is pronounced ER and a few others are not clear.

But by far the BIGGEST problem with this video is that all the letters are only taught in UPPER CASE letters. So your lovely child may learn all her sounds but most books for children are written in lower case letters, with CAPS only at the beginning of sentences and names. Some parents may not see this as a problem because we take for granted that our experienced minds can easily switch between reading lower and upper case letters, but from the numourous case studies I did to complete my modules, plus from my own experience with my children, most childhood educators recommend teaching lower case letters first, then very early introduction of upper case letters. 98% of all prose in all books is written in lower case! Imagine a 4 year old learning the letter 'A', then in a simple book you expect them to identify the 'a' in printed text then link the two objects as being the same?! To their young eyes its a completely different object and you will have to reteach them from scratch as I have had to do with my 4 year old.

However, buying this video is still recommended though, but what I have done to help my child is to have a book with colourful lower case letters close by to show her everytime the capital letter is shown on the video. This same problem of CAPS only is on the entire Leapfrog series, I have 4 of their DVDs. Other than these problems its a brilliant concept, the animation is very entertaining, the repetition is essential to rote learning and most importantly; my child enjoys watching it.
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on August 9, 2008
Here is proof the letter factory 2 yr old son absolutely loves it! He sings it all the time and now will start spelling out words he sees on signs, magazines, store signs etc... He wants to watch this video almost daily...its a great dvd, you wont be disappointed! Great value too...
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on September 12, 2009
I thought that "Kids pack" would mean that there would be something special about this DVD, or that it would come with something special. It doesn't. It's just a DVD case with a hole and a DVD inside.

Otherwise, it teaches the alphabet to youngsters well. Though, in the "A" room, there is a map of the world with Antarctica labeled at the bottom, except it is spelled "Antartica". This shouldn't be a big deal, but I would expect a DVD series designed to teach children how to read to have proper spellings of everything, even if it is in the background. I know, I know, mountains and molehills, mountains and molehills...
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on November 21, 2005
Everyone thought my 28 month old was a genius - he knew all of his letters, AND the sounds they made!! Once I had him with me when I stopped by my daughter's kindergarten class, and he waltzed in there and started naming the letters in words around the room and the kids just stared at him like he was an alien. That was pretty funny.

Anyway, I really credit all that to this DVD, because other than a few readings of "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom", I didn't have the time or desire to push academics or pull out flash cards.

For some reason, kids really respond to this DVD. I have recommended it to several friends - some with toddlers, and another with a kindergartener who was having trouble with letter recognition. All of them made significant progress towards mastery of letters and sounds.

Personally I can't really figure it out - the video is almost annoying, with its high pitched cutsie voices, bland graphics, big-eyed frogs, and silly songs. But kids, particularly toddlers, don't see it that way.

BTW, all of the Leap Frog videos are good - Math Factory, Word Factory, and Complex Word Factory. Putting in these videos is a guilt free way to grab 30 minutes to fold laundry or get dinner on the table.
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on January 5, 2005
I've bought everything.. DVD's, books, games anything to help my son learn his letters. The thing I like about this DVD that's different from the other learning DVD's is that it's set up to look like a real cartoon, not just jumping to A IS FOR APPLE, B IS FOR BUTTERFLY etc. I was skeptical about buying it since none of the other DVD's have worked, nor have the hundreds of alphabet books we own, so I just went ahead and bought the letter factory, talking words factory and word factory 2 along with math circus (wich is nowhere NEAR as good as the other 3). After 1 week of watching this video once a day he learned alot of the alphabet and the letter sounds. As of now, 2wks after purchasing it, he knows all but 4 letters by sight. I also bought the letter factory game to go along with the DVD and to give him time away from TV while still learning his alphabet and the letter sounds. The game is great because it's basic enough for a 2yo to play it but it also has 2 levels for more advance play. On level one you have to find the card color and on level 2 you have to find the actual letter. I HIGHLY recommend this movie AND the letter factory game to go along with it ( has an exclusive game tin that I like better than the cardboard box).
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on November 24, 2004
I never thought I'd write a review for online, but this product is worth every cent you pay. My 2 year old daughter already knew her alphabet so I picked up the letter factory. She instantly began telling me the sounds of each letter. I never thought about my 1 year old son b/c I felt he was too young. Since he watches the video the same time his sister does, he started saying sounds and now at 1 1/2 he knows at least 1/2 of the alphabet! It truly is this video/DVD!!! I just purchased it for all my small neices and nephews.
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on December 9, 2003
This was a great idea from Leapfrog! I love their products, but my son who is five is more interested in characters he can watch on t.v. He is home sick today, so we went to get a couple of movies and got this one (The Letter Factory) the day of it's release. I knew my three year old daughter would love it, but I was surprised just how much my son enjoyed it! He quickly started singing with it, and really seems interested in what the characters are doing and saying. This encourages me since we just bought the Leapster for Christmas. I know having a video with Leap, Lilly and Tad will help encourage him to play with the other Leapfrog products that we have.
They are now on the second movie (The Word Factory) and are really enjoying that as well! This was well worth the money.
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on March 13, 2012
At first, I got very excited about how effective this DVD seemed to be working on my son and was all set to give this DVD five stars. The reason I thought that the video worked is because after my son had watched the video for three weeks, he could recite letters and letter sounds because he was mimicking the songs he heard in the video. I picked up one of his alphabet board books that introduce upper and lowercase letters simultaneously, he did great with identifying most of the letters, so I thought, "Woo hoo! My son knows almost all of his letters and he just turned four!"

The problem is that I purchased a set of lower case plastic letters to help reinforce what my son learned. When my son was younger, I tried without success to get him to learn all of his letters without the aid of videos. Before this video, he only firmly knew a few. After a few weeks of this video, I was surprised and a little disappointed to find that my son only knew a handful of the lowercase letters. He misidentified or simply didn't know any of the other lowercase letters. I am satisfied with the start this video gave him and the progress he made, but I simply can't celebrate, rest on my laurels, and move on if he is not firm in those letters.

The reason him not knowing all of the lowercase letters is a big deal is because anyone who has a child or has had a child in kindergarten knows that your child mostly learns lowercase letters in K and is asked to apply the knowledge of those lowercase letters in school. If you personally are home-schooling, then obviously your child can learn the letters at their own pace, but not so if they are in school. Your child is tested often (in most public schools, anyway) on that knowledge of lowercase letters and is expected to know some sight words involving lowercase letters in school. If you are a Generation X-er, Kindergarten is not the way it was in the early eighties where it is okay for a five-year-old to mostly know uppercase letters; the standards have changed. A lot more is expected of your son or daughter. Your child will not got an A for effort if he or she knows primarily uppercase letters. Every parent that is going, "My child knows all the letters after only one week of watching Leapfrog Letter Factory!" I ask you to thoroughly test your child on all lowercase letters not accompanied by their uppercase partners - out of order! - before you come to this conclusion.

Besides, as a few reviewers correctly pointed out most books are written in lowercase letters and it is a little easier for your child to pick up reading well after K if they are firm in their knowledge of the lowercase letters.

I think that if you have effectively introduced your child to lowercase letters and then you are using this video to reinforce those letters your child knows, that's different. That said I think what's most important is that your child will have good phonemic awareness of all the letters after watching this video several times and know some of their lowercase letters, especially lowercase letters that look like the uppercase letters, c, p, o, k, u, v, w, x, y, z, etc.

Another point I want to make about this video is the style in which it is presented. I am one of those parents that do let my kids watch cartoons and this particular LeapFrog DVD is very much like the cartoons my kids enjoy, so it did engage them. If you don't let your child watch much TV or hardly any cartoons and want a learning video without a zany cartoon plot and kind of eccentric characters, this is probably not the video for you or your child. Or if you yourself are kind of conservative and prefer characters who are a little more sedate and pious to help teach your little one their letters, then you probably will not like this video for your child.

Otherwise, I can only recommend this video for reinforcement of what you or another medium has already taught your child in the way of lowercase letters.
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