Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.
My boys are very much modern day kids – they love electronics and are intrigued by the latest technologies. I like to balance out their time with electronics and always make sure we don’t lose some traditional play and learning experiences. When the two worlds of modern and traditional collide, I’m all for it! The Sparkup reader does just that – combines traditional storytelling/reading time with a modern “techie” twist.
When I received the Sparkup reader in the mail the first thing that caught my attention was it’s size – it’s compact and lightweight, perfect for little hands. When I took it out of the packaging and removed the “try me” tab, the reader automatically gave me a short and sweet tutorial for how to use it. Within minutes of opening the box, we were ready to roll! The concept of the Sparkup reader is pretty simple – it reads the books you choose to your child, either in your voice or a prerecorded voice. You can choose books from Sparkup that are automatically recognized and read once the reader is attached, or you can record a favorite book in your voice. To start, I chose to use a book that came with the reader – Shrek. Once I placed the reader on the back page, then turned it on and closed the book, the reader automatically recognized the book and began to read the story as we turned the pages. My boys were crazy for this idea – they loved turning the pages and hearing the story. I loved that the book featured the voices of Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci! The reader is very easy to use, and attaching it to a book in no way inhibits turning the pages or seeing the words/pictures on the page. Sparkup can store up to 250 minutes of audio, or approximately 50 recorded storybooks. This would make a fantastic gift for a young child’s birthday or for the upcoming holidays. Beyond making reading fun, this is a great item to personalize for your child if you/your spouse travels a lot, or maybe grandma lives far away and you want to keep that connection going in between visits.
The Sparkup reader comes complete with a hardcover preloaded demo book, an instruction manual, one USB cable (to download stories from the Sparkup site), and three AA batteries. It currently sells for $59.99 on the Sparkup site as well as on Amazon.
Sparkup is a young company started by parents who understand first-hand the challenges facing children’s reading and playtime experiences in this digital era. They are a company passionate about enhancing the lives of children and their families. The Sparkup Magical Book Reader is the company’s first product, created to enables kids to interact with real printed books as they stay connected with family and friends while learning – whether in the same room or across the globe. They’re working on expanding the Sparkup experience by growing their prerecorded library, distributing user-generated content, and they’re even working on a gadget that will help visually-impaired children learn braille.