Family Life Worcestershire
21st October 2020

Review: Chameleon Reader

The lovely people at Chameleon Reader recently asked us to try out the Chameleon Reader and share our thoughts with you.

The Chameleon Reader turns any book you have into an audio book. For those of you living in multi-lingual households, you can even record the same book in up to four different languages.

So before I talk about what we thought about it, here is a quick summary on how it works. Your Chameleon Reader is supplied with a batch of stickers which you stick on each page of the book you are turning into an audio book. You then simply scan the provided bookmark, scan the sticker and speak into the microphone stick before scanning the sticker again when you have finished speaking. To play your audio back you simply scan the sticker. You can do this with any book you own (and are happy to place stickers in). If you have kids that love to pick at stickers, it is worth taping them down, the microphone stick will still scan these. You can record up to four versions per sticker using the special multicoloured sticker that you place on the front. You can also create a playlist which plays the whole book without scanning each page.

So I will be honest, at first I wasn’t sure about this as I hate hearing the sound of my own voice back. However, after a couple of pages, I got over it (mostly 🙂 ). It took me a couple of moments to figure out how to use this the first time I tried it but once I got the hang of it, it was so easy. My two girls, aged three and six can both scan the Chameleon stickers with ease to get the playback of the book. My eldest can also use the microphone function to record her own voice reading.

So, we are not multi-lingual in our household (although I wish we were) so we were not able to test out using different languages for the same book. However, there is a surprising benefit of the Chameleon Reader which I did not foresee. My six year old really dislikes having to do her reading after school and it can be a real struggle to do more than a couple of pages. However, using one of her early reader books we own, she really enjoyed recording herself reading the book. We used the multi-coloured stickers to record two versions. I read the book and recorded a version and then my six year old did the same. I tried not to help her when she was doing so and she listened to the playback recognising where certain words did not fit properly which is something she often misses at the time of reading. She then checks this against the version I recorded to see whether she was right. It is early days but I really am hoping this improves our after school reading and reduces how upset she can get.

Other ways to use the Chameleon Reader which I have not yet tried, is to make up flash cards for shapes, letters and colours. I think the letters will be a great way to introduce my youngest to phonics (she is quite a stubborn little lady so doing something at her own pace will also be advantageous).

You can also record MP3s which can bring a musical accompaniment to any book you are reading or turn it into a songbook. I didn’t get a chance to try this out but there are full instructions in the accompanying guide.

Another benefit I can foresee for the Chameleon Reader is when you want to read to your child but can’t for any reason (for example, if you work during bedtime or going away for a little while etc). You can record you audio and still read to your child even if you are not there.

For ease of use, I would say the Chameleon Reader works best with picture books as it can be difficult for your child to track large amounts of text (although it would still work).

Overall, as we are not multi-lingual, this is not an item I would have personally gone looking for but the surprise benefits mentioned above make this a worthwhile gadget. We are looking forward to the other ways we can use this to continue learning.

For more about the Chameleon Reader head over to their website.

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