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Win-It Wednesday: Phonics Reading Pup!

by Tara Kuczykowski on November 17, 2010 · 311 comments

Join me every week for Win-It Wednesday, with 24-hour giveaways just for you!

Leap Frog products have always been a part of our family, beginning with our first copy of The Letter Factory that we watched over and over with our first son eight years ago. I say first copy because it became so well worn that we actually had to purchase a new copy to replace it! So when I heard about the new SmartyAnts curriculum that's been developed by the founders of Leap Frog, I was very interested in giving it a try.

The SmartyAnts system consists of an interactive website and a companion SmartyAnts Phonics Reading Pup that reinforces the lessons taught on the website in a fun and engaging way minus the computer, allowing children to practice the reading skills they're currently working on any time, any place.

We received the white SmartyAnts Phonics Reading Pup to give the system a try, and my four-year-old daughter immediately fell in love with him. He's very fluffy and cute and surprisingly cuddly and soft for something that has mechanical parts housed inside. He comes ready for fun, preloaded with 10 songs designed to help teach your child the alphabet, letter sounds, phonics, word building, and rhyming.

I decided to let my daughter just get to know the Reading Pup for several days before introducing the online aspect, and he quickly became a constant companion. But when I showed her the SmartyAnts website and how it complements the dog, that was when the real fun began. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit it, but the site showed me just how much I was underestimating what my daughter was capable of. I was under the impression that she was still working on her lower case letters and sounds, but she breezed through those right into the four-letter words level!

The SmartyAnts website is very cute and really draws your child in with activities that seem like play on the surface but are really teaching them valuable skills all the while. My daughter just devoured all of this and asks to play frequently. And the best part is that you can download new files to the Reading Pup that reinforce these skills during free time.

The SmartyAnts Phonics Reading Pup retails for just $29.99, and I fully expect him to be one of the hottest toys this holiday season. Included in the box is one SmartyAnts Phonics Reading Pup (choose husky or white pup), USB cable, parent guide, and one-month membership to SmartyAnts Web site.

One lucky Deal Seeking Mom reader will win a Phonics Reading Pup with a 1-year subscription to!


If you are reading this in your email or feed reader, please CLICK HERE to visit the original blog post to enter. Email entries will not be counted.

Want to win a one year subscription to Smarty Ants, as well as a Phonics Reading Pup? Just leave me a comment here, before 9pm on November 22nd, telling me about the fun ways you and your little ones have discovered learning how to read.

(1) Phonics Reading Pup and 1-year Subscription

This giveaway ends at 9:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, 11/22 and is open to all U.S. residents 18 years or older. I’ll use Comment Contest to select the winning comment. Winner will be notified by email and listed on my Giveaway Winners page. Winners must respond within 48 hours of notification to claim their prize. Good luck!

While you’re in a contest entering mood, don’t forget to check out the Giveaway Gathering for a variety of contests being hosted on Deal Seeking Mom readers’ blogs!

Disclosure: I received a Phonics Reading Pup and a one-year subscription to to review for this post.

{ 311 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jana November 17, 2010 at 2:45 pm

My kids have really enjoyed using the hooked on phonics programs.


2 jen b November 17, 2010 at 2:48 pm

We also loved The Letter Factory, as well as Talking Words Factory. We read multiple books per day, and early reading books like Bob Books. My daughters LOVE to be read to and my 4 year old loves to read small words on her own. Hope we win, my girls would LOVE this!


3 michelle November 17, 2010 at 2:49 pm

I have a two year old little boy who would love this. He loves dogs so much and to have learning with it would be a plus for mommy too. So I pray that we win this... God bless you and happy holidays!!!


4 melissa thompson November 17, 2010 at 2:54 pm

my 2 yr old would love this tto. he loves books.


5 Jenny November 17, 2010 at 3:02 pm

We read a lot here. My boys love reading! We have watched the Leapfrog DVD's and they love SuperWhy. Great show that covers a lot of good reading behaviors!


6 Desiree Torres November 17, 2010 at 3:13 pm

We use alphabet books, read stories together, talk about letters we see outside in the street and everywhere we go. We cut and paste letters onto paper and make ABC books, and we've even created a book of popular logos and candy labels! He loves to learn and he would LOVE this Phonics Reading Pup! It would be awesome to keep him motivated and continue to love reading.


7 Mary Alice November 17, 2010 at 3:15 pm

While my son is only one year old, we have been using books since he was three months old. We read alphabet books, books from the Where's Spot series, etc. I would LOVE to win this!!


8 Heather November 17, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I take the girls to the library and we read books a lot!


9 Yvonne November 17, 2010 at 3:24 pm



10 Susan November 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm

My son and I enjoy reading together.


11 Erin Kinnett November 17, 2010 at 3:37 pm

My 4 year old and I have fun sounding out words on road signs! There's nothing better than her sounding it out perfectly and then saying the full word! Complete pride!!!


12 mila November 17, 2010 at 3:39 pm



13 Jillian.K November 17, 2010 at 3:47 pm

With my daughter we read together and on easy words we spell them out and she repeats me and spells them back until she can do it alone.


14 Gina H. November 17, 2010 at 3:56 pm

My oldest son loved flash cards....we would make our own!


15 aparna November 17, 2010 at 3:56 pm

My daughter just started showing interest in reading and this will be perfect for her. Right now we are using for learning to read.


16 terri November 17, 2010 at 4:08 pm

We always did storytime a part of the bedtime routine.


17 DanielleCorrelle November 17, 2010 at 4:12 pm

We read every day, and my girls (3 and 4) love to "read" to me. We practice reading/writing letters and small words on our chalk or dry erase boards. We lovvvvve Leapfrog products and the TAG readers have been amazing, I would love to try this pup out!


18 Christine Freeland November 17, 2010 at 4:23 pm

I read to my grandson everyday. Reading with my children and other grandson has really made a difference in their love of learning.


19 Lina November 17, 2010 at 4:23 pm

He basically learned to read at pre-school and he learned to love to read anything & everything.


20 Stephanie Moore November 17, 2010 at 4:24 pm

My husband reads to my sons every night. Now my eight year old has turned it around and he reads too at night. Its a good way for them to all bond together.


21 Paula N November 17, 2010 at 4:37 pm

From a very young age my boys would sit at the computer and listen to and follow along with the stories on It is a great website and a fun way to get kids interested in reading. We read here all the time, we make it a daily cuddle time.


22 marcella November 17, 2010 at 4:46 pm

I have a 3 yr. old and a 19th month old and they both love books. This would go great with their collection!


23 Mrs. Schmid November 17, 2010 at 4:48 pm

We encourage a love of reading at our house by going to the library often and rewarding our kiddos for their good deeds with a trip to the book store to pick out a book of their choosing.


24 Tabathia B November 17, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I love to read with all my kids everynight and I read to my little every day
tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com


25 Cris November 17, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Reading to and with my child is all we have really explored so far. I am sure my 4 year old would be like yours, vastly underestimated.


26 Amanda Starr November 17, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Mostly from my husband and I reading to our daughter. Also her reading beginner books that have dogs in them. She would flip out if she saw these cute little pups!


27 Karen S November 17, 2010 at 5:22 pm

My daughter Lauren is learning to read, and loves stuffed animals, so this sounds like a perfect fit! I wouldn't be surprised if this IS a hot item for Christmas! Would love to have one for my girl!


28 Katy P November 17, 2010 at 5:30 pm

My daughter hasn't learned to read yet- but she loves to repeat as I read along to her in books.


29 Victoria Heydenreich November 17, 2010 at 5:39 pm

My kids and I always read together in bed at night before they go to sleep. All my kids love to read!!!


30 Kelly T November 17, 2010 at 5:40 pm

My daughter, 19 months, and my stepson, 9 years, have both enjoyed reading. We have made sure that fun picture books have been part of their routine since they were very young, and I have definitely seen how this exposure to books has helped them to develop their language skills earlier and more quickly than other children their age. This product looks fabulous - I adore LeapFrog, from a parent's perspective AND a teacher's!


31 Northwoodsmom November 17, 2010 at 5:44 pm

My 3-year-old and 5-year-old would be happy with any Leapfrog item, but this learning pup sounds awesome. My little guy wants a dog so badly, but we just can't afford all the extras so this would be a good alternative until we can get the real thing, plus it would help with is reading skills.


32 Denise Wilson November 17, 2010 at 5:47 pm

We read a lot of books, play with alphabet blocks, etc.

This looks like something my son would love!


33 Chelsei Ryan November 17, 2010 at 5:48 pm

My little one just turned two we love to have story times throughout the day and have just started putting letters together to make two and three letters words. She already knows her Alphabet very well. This would be an awesome tool to inspire her continued learning.


34 camie November 17, 2010 at 5:49 pm

my son and I used magnetic letters to start out with his big interest in the alphabet and reading.


35 Laura Steiner November 17, 2010 at 5:52 pm

My husband and I have read to our children since the day that they were born (and before)!
My son is now 5 and started kindergarten this year. He is currently doing advanced reading work on a first grade level and I DO believe it's because we have read to him all his life.


36 nikki wilson November 17, 2010 at 5:55 pm

My four year old little boy would adore this. He always wants to play on the computer like his sisters. We go to the library, read book at home and watch the letter factory. My son is constantly asking me to spell things and I do. He picks up on a lot of things that way.


37 Katie November 17, 2010 at 6:12 pm

I have four children and I am a homescchool mom. This little dog would such a blessing and welcomed addition to our curriculum! Thank you for the opportunity to win!


38 Christina Burrell November 17, 2010 at 6:14 pm

My son and I have a game when we are stopped at the stop signs/lights where he spells all the signs he sees and then learns what the words mean.


39 Amanda November 17, 2010 at 6:21 pm

My son is Autistic and loves electronic interaction. I made power points with the letters of his name, etc. on them so he could flip through the letters, hear the sounds each letter makes as well as hear the final word, and still get to play on the computer!


40 Heather November 17, 2010 at 6:33 pm

We have tried a few different things. Basic kid's videos from the library and some dry erase letter books. The kids love to play with sidewalk chalk and "practice" their letters and sounds. We would love this dog and the phonics stuff. Sounds great!


41 Susan Salerno November 17, 2010 at 6:36 pm

We would always snuggle in her bean bag chair or in bed while reading. Always special time!!


42 Angela November 17, 2010 at 6:38 pm

I used Hooked on Phonics and the old standby, Dick and Jane, with my son when I taught him to read 2 years ago. My 4-year old daughter is now almost ready to read, but she likes to do everything "by herself", so I think the Smarty Ants game would work best with her learning style. Thanks for the opportunity!


43 mary November 17, 2010 at 7:17 pm

would love to own one on top with a one year free subsription what a fantastic christmas present for my little one


44 Christie November 17, 2010 at 7:30 pm

We are a big leap frog family too! I like the sounds of this pup. My son just started kindergarten and could use some extra help with his phonics and word building. Plus I have a 3 year old that would really enjoy this as well! Here's to hoping!


45 kathleen November 17, 2010 at 7:30 pm

My 4 yr. old granddaughter is just starting to learn to read. My daughter, Elizabeth's mom, works very hard with all four of her children. This beautiful little girl has had a speech problem. But with the family's concentrated help, she has just about conquered the problem. I think the phonics dog would be another help. Thanks for the contest!


46 Stephanie November 17, 2010 at 7:36 pm

With a 1-year old and a 3-year old, we haven't starting "reading" yet. We spend a lot of time looking at books, with Mommy reading a word or two from the pages as they are being flipped quickly (and more than one at a time).


47 Idaho Jill November 17, 2010 at 7:38 pm

My 3 year old memorizes what I say quite well, so she can go back and "read" the page the next day. She also has a bugsby that she just loves!


48 Sandra U. November 17, 2010 at 7:47 pm

I have 8 kids and my older kids are bookworms who love to read. My youngest 3 ages 6,3,1 could need some help since they are learning to read. They love to memorize the stories and pictures as I'm reading to them they try to help me tell the story.


49 Jana November 17, 2010 at 7:47 pm

My daughter loves it when her big sister reads to her. Everything big sister does is so cool.


50 Nicole McDonald November 17, 2010 at 8:17 pm

My daughter is 4 and is using ClickNKids


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