Shortly after my son was born, when my daughter was just 4 years old, my husband brought home a woman who was selling a set of educational books called the “Walter”. Normally I am very iffy with salespeople overhyping their stuff and I initially balked at the price. I was sure she won’t be able to convince me to buy it.
She was eager to demonstrate the Walter to us though and she brought along all the freebies that came with the set. “Freebies”, I was scoffing inside, that means the product isn’t good enough to sell on its own.
The Walter is an educational series of hardbound books, much like a children’s encyclopedia but it comes with an interactive talking “pen” that can read dots on the book. The freebies include a series of Math books called “Learning Math with Albert” that comes with a foam mat and a set of circle and square felt pieces that can stick on the mat to make Math more tactile. It also comes with a set of books called Healthy Kids series which teaches children about staying healthy, a set of books called ” A Child’s First Reading Program” which guides children through the stages of reading, a puzzle anatomy book and a puzzle geography book.
My husband loved the interactive Walter. He’s not much of a reader himself and he felt the pen was an amazing additional dimension to the books. The freebies helped too as he was a sucker for a good deal.
We were sold on it.
Turns out it was one of the best purchases we have made.
The books are now over 7 years old. The pages on the book are already worn due to the inevitable rough-handling of children and even torn and lovingly taped together by either me or the kids in some places. The kids wore down the original Walter pen from use and we have since purchased a new one. The books have gotten a lot of use from us and we still use them a lot until now.
The fact that these books have helped a lot with schoolwork and science projects is just an added bonus — icing on the cake. They children have learned a LOT from them, and on their leisure time too.
The best part is the Walter books have helped me develop in the kids a love of reading. When they were much younger, they used to pick their favorite topics and asked me to read page after page while they used the Walter pen on the side, until they finally learned to read and enjoy the books on their own.
The Walter has gotten a lot more use from my kids than fancy expensive toys, that’s for sure. They have outgrown the use of most of their playthings and their clothes. Since they have grown up they have since found other go-to books to enjoy but the Walter is still a reading option for them. My daughter is going through very detailed lessons in the respiratory system and she recently took out the anatomy puzzle book to help her memorize all the organs and their uses. In fact, just today, I told my son he could rest and play while waiting for his sister to come home. He decided to stay in the study room with me while I did my work and he picked out 2 Walter books to read.
Now that I have Baby # 3, I am looking forward to getting more mileage from the Walter series. Another child who can learn and be entertained at the same time.
It was a very expensive (and painful) purchase for us to make at the time but I’m glad we did it. It was worth it… it still is actually.
The “Walter” books and all the others books were produced by Educational Technologies Ltd. .