Stories, tales, and books are a big part of life – especially when raising children. In our house storytime is my favourite time of the day! No matter how crazy the day was, we love cuddling up at the end of it for a quiet story. There are also moments, however, when my kids wish they could read by themselves whenever they want. Since they are only starting to learn how to read audiobooks for kids are the perfect solution, even better: Audiobooks created by ourselves from their favourite books!
The Chameleon Reader takes audiobooks to an entirely new level. With the help of some stickers and a clever little gadget, you can turn any book into an audiobook. And what’s more: You are not limited to just one language, you can create any story in up to four different languages for your child to independently read and listen to!
Amazing right? Find out what exactly the Chameleon Reader is, how you can use it to make your own bilingual audiobooks and what we think of it!
Chameleon Reader: What is it?
The reading gadget itself looks like an oversized digital pen and is super easy and comfortable for little hands to grab and hold. It has three buttons, which turn the reader on or off and regulate the volume. One small LED signals when the Chameleon Reader is switched on, ready to record or when it needs to be charged. There is also a headphone socket on its side and underneath a protective cover you’ll find the SD-card-slot and a mini USB socket.
The set also includes 5.000 audio stickers, control bookmarks, a travel library album & cards, as well as a user guide and USB cable. Additionally, the pen is also equipped with a 16GB microSD card.
Once you open the box you are pretty much good to go!
Chameleon Reader Review: Bilingual Audiobooks for Kids
The Chameleon Reader works with a very clever digital pen technology and stickers, which contain a unique dotted pattern. This pattern is read by an optical sensor within the tip of the reader, which in turn plays the pre-recorded audiotrack.
One book or story can have up to four different audiotracks. These can be languages but also different people reading the stories, which is lovely for those moments when ONLY the absent parent should read the book or if you have family abroad! Every book receives a colour palette sticker with four different colours on it, each representing a different audiotrack.
TIPP: If you are recording multilingual audiobooks assign each colour its own language, for example: red is always English, green is always German and so on! Keep this up for all your books and your children will be able to choose their preferred language independently at all times.
Turn Your Books into Audiobooks: How it Works!
Creating your audiobooks couldn’t be easier! Once you (or your kids) have chosen a book; you prepare it by placing a colour palette sticker on the outside and a chameleon sticker on every page. For pages with a lot of text, it is advised to place a chameleon sticker at every paragraph.
All you have to do now is to record your audio. In order to do that you simply tip the microphone on the control bookmark and each individual sticker as you read through the book. The microphone is very sensitive, so there is no need to speak up at all. Make sure you are in a quiet environment to prevent background noise.
Watch the Magic Happen
When you are finished recording, hand the book and the Chameleon Reader to your child and watch the magic unfold as they take the pen and start reading/listening by themselves! (This was probably my favourite part of our Chameleon Reader Review)
After selecting the relevant colour on the palette sticker, they just tap each sticker in the book and the pre-recorded stories play accordingly! It gives them such a huge sense of independence and watching their little faces light up when they are finally able to read their favourite books whenever they want is quite simply AMAZING!
Chameleon Reader Travel Library: Audiobooks & Music on the Go!
As mentioned above the Chameleon Reader set also includes a travel library album as well as blue music sheets and green audio sheets. These are pretty cool, as you can fill them with any mp3 files you might already have.
To add the files you just connect the pen to your PC and copy them in the pre-created folders. Filling in the blue or green sheet with the titles you have added creates a handy little playlist for out and about. Due to its portable size and the headphone socket, the Chameleon Reader is a lifesaver on long car journeys!
Be Creative with Your Audio!
Here are a few fun suggestions on how it can be used. Most of there were tested by us during our Chameleon Reader Review:
Once you got used to the in’s and out’s of the Chameleon Reader you will discover that this is another amazing open-ended toy in your collection which comes with endless possibilities! Think about it: You can place the stickers ANYWHERE and record ANYTHING on it!
Flashcards are a great way for kids to learn all sorts of things. We are at a stage to learn phonics and sounds at the moment. So we have been using the Chameleon Reader to help with that.
2. Family Photo Album
A huge part of our family lives abroad, which can be hard at times for our children. However, by adding the stickers to a family photo album we created a book that doesn’t just include pictures but also little messages of our loved ones!
3. Greetings & Cards
This one is pretty cool, again, when you have family and friends living abroad. Or even if one parent is traveling a lot. Add a sticker to a card or a letter and your kids can listen to a personal message!
There is an endless amount of games you can create with the Chameleon Reader. Stickers with clues or riddles make up a just for fun treasure hunt; or you create a maths or science championship by recording challenges!
5. Language Game
If your kids are bilingual or are learning a second language in school you can place stickers on objects around the house. Add recordings of the name of the object in the other language and your kids can play along and challenge themselves as they go about their day!
Chameleon Reader Review: The Verdict
The Chameleon Reader is a truly amazing and clever product! For us, a major advantage is the fact that it can be used with more than one language. But even if you are not a multilingual family it is worth having the four different audio tracks for each book to give your kids some variety!
I love that it is so straight forward to fill the reader with audio content and equally easy for my children to use independently. Thanks to its handy size it’s easily taken out and about, keeping the kids happy on car journeys or similar. The Chameleon Reader has really added something special to our family and it is a product I would wholeheartedly recommend to any book and story-loving family out there!