Chameleon Reader is an innovative recording device that turns any story book into an audio book. Shaped like a pen and designed to be super simple for kids to operate, the Chameleon Reader is an exciting product with so much potential! From hearing the voice of a loved one far from home tell a story to creating interactive flashcards, I explore some of the reasons why I love this product!
For the purpose of this review I was gifted the Chameleon Reader and compensated for my time. As always, all words and opinions are my own.
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The Chameleon Reader
It’s worth saying initially that nothing replaces the importance of you reading with your child everyday. But I believe the Chameleon Reader can complement this in a powerful and innovative way.
The Chameleon Reader enables children to have a degree of independence in reading. To be able to pick up a book and the pen at anytime and listen to a story independently is so empowering for a child!
I think back to those times trying to juggle a toddler and a new baby and I can see that the Chameleon Reader would have been a life saver! And for children like mine with an insatiable appetite for stories this is a product that will help you claw back a few minutes of time to tend to other things.
But before I talk any more about the benefits and uses of this clever pen, I want to explain a little bit about how it works. To help you understand it fully I’ve also made a few videos that you can view here on my Instagram page.
The basics of the Chameleon Reader
So how do you turn all of your favourite story books into audio books? Well the Chameleon Reader comes with a set of Chameleon shaped stickers that you can record onto. In preparation you need to stick one of the stickers to each page of your story book.
Alongside this you have a controls bookmark. Using the Chameleon pen you simply select the microphone image on the bookmark and tap the chameleon sticker on each page before reading the text into the pen. Once you’ve finished reading the page you tap the Chameleon again to finish the recording.
The Chameleon controls bookmark is split into 4 colours, which means you can have up to 4 people recording their own audio versions of the story. If you’re a multilingual family this means you could record the story in up to 4 different languages!
How does the child use the Chameleon Reader?
To hear the audio book couldn’t be simpler for a child! Even my almost- 2 year old got the hang of it very quickly! All the child needs to do is to tap the chameleon sticker with the pen on each page to hear the audio text.
If you’ve made several recordings with different family members, or indeed different languages, you can attach one of the colour tray/pallet stickers to the front of the book. This allows the child to change the voice reading the story simply by choosing a different colour on the sticker.
It took my girls just minutes to work out how to use the Chameleon Reader and I wish I could have captured their delight when they realised they could change the voice reading the story!
For family members living far away or parents working away from home the Chameleon Reader is a brilliant way of involving them and keeping that special connection alive. My girls don’t get to see their Grandma very often so next time we’re visiting I plan to take our Chameleon Reader and a few of their favourite books for her to record.
Even whilst Daddy has been at work the girls have loved listening to his voice. My 6 year old has also recorded a few stories that her sisters are enjoying listening to whilst she is at school!
And for multilingual families the Chameleon reader offers a brilliant way of exposing children to several languages at once.
Other Ways to use the Chameleon Reader
Make Playlists & an Audio Book Library
The Chameleon Reader also comes with a set of playlist stickers that you can program to read the whole of the audio story, whilst the child listens or follows along. This is perfect for my youngest who has happily sat on the sofa, listening to a story and flicking the pages whilst I have a few minutes to get some jobs done.
An ingenious extra feature to this is that you can then add the story playlist to a ‘library’ notebook that you can take with you on the go. All you need is the notebook and pen and you can choose a story to listen to anywhere at anytime! We’ll certainly be taking this on our up-coming holidays this year.
Create Interactive Flashcards
The last type of sticker that comes with the Chameleon Reader is the multi-coloured Chameleon, which allow you to record up to four tracks on one sticker. These can be used with flashcards as a way of recording different languages but there are so many other uses too for single language families like us.
One way we’ve used them is with some letter flashcards. On one part of the chameleon sticker I recorded the letter sound and on another part the letter name. Reinforcing the correct pronunciation for letter sounds is so important from a young age. Miss 4 is still at the stage where she sometimes forgets to use pure phonic sounds so I really think this will help her. She loves using the Chameleon pen so this has been an added motivation to practise her sounds!
Something that really excites me about the Chameleon Reader is that these stickers could be put on anything! You could stick them to a number or letter puzzle, make an interactive poster or a treasure hunt for the kids! The possibilities are endless and I can’t wait to explore more uses for it. One idea top of my ‘to try’ list is to make the girls an interactive photo book with personalised messages for them from the family. I think it will be such a special keepsake.
Other Great Features
There are some other great features to the Chameleon Reader that are definitely worth a mention!
- The Chameleon Reader comes with a jack for plugging in headphones
- The audio stories you create are stored on a micro SD-card in the pen that can be removed and backed-up to a computer. You can also download audio files onto the pen.
- Thanks to the SD- card you can also download music onto the pen to add music to your audio stories or simply create a music library for on the go.
- The Chameleon pen is USB charged- no messing around with batteries!
- The SD card holds 16GB- a pretty impressive 148 hours of recording time!
- The Chameleon Reader comes with over 5000 stickers- that should keep you going for a long time!
When I was approached to test the Chameleon Reader I was a little hesitant as it looked like a product designed mainly for multilingual families. But I couldn’t have been more wrong! This pen is one of the best products for children that I’ve come across in recent years.
I love that the Chameleon Reader is a screen-free activity but with a technological edge. My girls have asked to use it every day since we received it and this extra motivation to engage in reading is such a bonus.
I’m so excited that the girls will be able to have their favourite stories read by family members that we don’t get to see very often. It’s such a wonderful gift to be able to give them. I can’t wait to have a go at making them an interactive photo book too!
And for teachers in the classroom I think there’s a whole host of other uses for the Chameleon Reader that I’ve barely been able to scratch the surface of in this post.
If you follow me on Instagram I’m sure this won’t be the last you hear of me talking about this clever product! But if you can’t wait to find out more do give their website a visit at www.chameleon-reader.com.
You can purchase the Chameleon Reader on Amazon UK. If you are a reader from abroad head to their website for information about international shipping.