Posted by Casey

We all know the importance of reading with our children. There have been countless studies showing that the benefit of reading with our children everyday has ongoing benefits that stay with our children beyond their early childhood years. So it’s no surprise that I’m a big fan of any product that will help us enjoy more storytime with our little learners!

That’s one of the reasons why I’m obsessed with our new Chameleon Reader. It allows you to turn your favourite books into audio books, making it easy for your little learner to enjoy story-time day and night, at home or on the go. See the video below to see how we’ve used our Chameleon Reader to create our very own audio books!

Beyond being an incredible tool for supporting early reading skills, there are also a whole heap of ways you can use your Chameleon Reader to develop early language skills with your toddler and preschooler!

Make a visual routine chart and record the steps

Supporting your child to be independent in their daily routines can be made easy using a visual routine chart. Our eldest youngest daughter Audrey is 3 years old so we will take photos of our morning routine and then print and laminate each part of the routine. Next, I can add a Chameleon Reader sticker to each picture and record my voice explaining each step of her morning routine before adding some magnetic tape to the back of each picture.

If you create some visual routine cards, you can place them on the fridge ready for your little learner to refer to in the mornings as they get ready for their day. They can use the Chameleon Reader to tap each routine and hear your voice guiding them through each step. It’s a wonderful way to support their independence before they’re ready to have words added to their cards!

Make a favourite recipe accessible by recording the steps

We love to cook with our little learners but often this is an activity we have to do together. Over the weekend, we created a simple Fruit Salad child-friendly recipe using our Chameleon Reader to record each of the steps. Recording simple step-by-step recipes or processes are a wonderful way to develop listening skills and support your little learner as they learn to follow simple instructions!

You could record the steps for a favourite recipe or even clues for a treasure hunt like ‘Go to the place where we eat our dinner’ or ‘Find the place where our clothes hang to dry.’ These kinds of activities are great for developing listening skills and following directions.

Take orders from loved ones in your role-play area

We love imaginative play – it’s a wonderful way to develop oral language skills as our little learners play and imagine. You could develop listening skills and by creating your very own pizza shop! Print off photos of some of your loved ones and record their pizza orders onto a sticker. Your little learners could then use the Chameleon Reader to listen to their order, fill in their pizza order form and fulfill the order in their store!

This kind of activity would be a wonderful way to develop listening skills and direction following skills in a way that’s fun and exciting!

Develop vocabulary on the go!

Using your Chameleon Reader, you can record yourself reading each of your favourite books, but sometimes you might not want to take a whole stack of books in the car or away on holidays.

You can make your very own visual catalogue of stories by saving images of the covers from the internet and placing them into a Word Document. Next, add a playlist sticker beside each book and record your story onto the playlist sticker following the instructions in your manual. We found you can actually add the stickers before running the sheet through the laminator and they still work perfectly!

Now the whole story will be recorded onto the sticker and you won’t need to take all your books away – you’ll have the audio ready for your little learner to listen to in the car, during quiet time or on holidays!

We recently took our Chameleon Reader on a big road trip across Queensland and it was a wonderful way to keep little hands busy while we prepared lunch at our campsite or while we sat in the car for hours on end! We hadn’t created our visual playlist at this stage but taking the books away worked just fine too!

Retell a recent experience and create your own book

A wonderful way you can help develop your child’s oral language skills is to encourage them to retell stories or familiar experiences. This is a high-level skill that we develop with our Prep and Foundation kids at around age 5 or 6 and it involves being able to sequence familiar events and identify key information like who, what, where, when and how.

When we go on adventures with our little learners, we love to take lots of photos and videos of our day which we can then use to support our little learners to develop their retelling skills. Using photos to reference is a great way to prompt your little learner to think about their experience before telling you about what happened.

Below, you’ll see how we added Chameleon Stickers to each page of a little booklet from our recent trip to pick strawberries for the first time. I asked Elliot, our 5 year old, to tell me about each page which we recorded onto each sticker. He can revisit this little strawberry picking story any time he likes and be reminded of the fun we had together!

Reading for enjoyment with loved ones

One of my favourite features of the Chameleon Reader is that you can record four separate readings onto one book using the palette sticker at the front of each book. Originally designed for bilingual families who could record a favourite story in both English and Cantonese for example, many families pass their Chameleon Reader onto extended family members who can record readings of their favourite stories as well!

You simply record a different language or family member for each colour and then your little learner can choose the family member by tapping the appropriate colour. For example, Mum might record on the green, Dad who works away for part of the month might record on yellow, Nana who lives in another state might record in blue and Aunty Libby might record in red!

Below you’ll see Audrey enjoying her favourite Spot book with Nana. This is a tradition she’s enjoyed all year during her Nana Day on Thursday. We took the Chameleon Reader over and Audrey helped to place Chameleon Stickers at each piece of writing, developing her concepts of print even at age 3! Then Nana took her favourite book off to a quiet room and recorded herself reading each page. Now Audrey can enjoy a book with Nana even when they’re not together.

As you can see, the Chameleon Reader is an incredible product that can be used in so many wonderful ways beyond just turning your favourite books into audiobooks! You can purchase your Chameleon Reader direct from their website in the US or through a variety of stockists including Little Toy Tribe and The Creative Toy Shop.*

I was gifted a Chameleon Reader for the purposes of completing this project and monetary compensation was received. *Some affiliate links have been used meaning I earn a small commission on any purchases made through these links. All opinions stated are my own.

About the author

Casey is an early years teacher who passionate about supporting parents and educators that want to use play as way to connect with their little learners and create magical memories of childhood! You can follow Casey on Instagram right here.

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