PENpal - the device that brings sound to printed pages!


PENpal is an innovative device that combines printed materials with sound files to create a multisensory reading experience. Each PENpal can read over 1400 books and posters. And this list is always growing as new publications are launched. The books are all in dual language, so your PENpal will play back audio every time it touches a page - in English or in a choice of over 60 languages. 

And that is not all. PENpal comes with 4 pieces of easy-to-use software, FREE.
Would you like to sound-enable any book, be it your favourite book or a prescribed text? It's easy with CreateLINK.

Would you like to make your own high-quality photobook, of family, end of year Class Books, School Rules...? It's easy with YOUcreate software. And here is the difference. With PENpal you can replay voice recordings on every page! 

You already have PENpal. Now you have bought a Mantra LIngua book with sound effects. How would you locate the specific file that is right for the book you bought? Use FREElink. Yes, all the files are free for you to take as many as you wish. So adding books and posters with sound files, so that your PENpal is up to date, is incredibly easy with FREElink software.

There is a method of teaching which believes that children learn most by discussing, debating, narrating, and exploring in groups. It is called Collaborative Learning and we have a series of learning activities using this method. With the free ShareLINK software, people with English as an Additional Language (EAL) can play the games, and with PENpal they can listen to how others playing the same game adapted it into another language.

So, one PENpal has numerous ancillary products and features. How does it work? PENpal is a barcode reader, with a difference. It detects 'micro' barcodes, so small that you can hardly see them and therefore the barcodes do not ruin any artwork. The tip of the pen is a barcode reader and when a 'soundspot' with its unique barcode is detected, PENpal plays back the audio .mp3 file associated with it.

One final attribute is that PENpal is also a microphone. Unlike most microphones, PENpal saves the recordings inside its 4GB (expandable to 16GB) memory. Each recording is assigned to a specific barcode. There are over 4000 unique barcode stickers for you to record your voice into, and PENpal will playback your voice everytime you touch the sticker. (We sell our 'PENfriend' to the RNIB for blind people to record audible labels onto stickers - their CD collections, kitchen foods and utensils, their clothes, even gardening tags.) The possibilities are endless!
Here is an illustration of how easy PENpal is to use:

1) Turn PENpal on by pressing the 'power' button for 3 seconds. Blue light comes on with an audio 'welcome'
2) Touch the start arrow. (Every book has its unique number defined by the 'start arrow' printed in the cover.It is equivalent to the ISBN number.) When PENpal touches a start arrow it will know which book is being read.
3) Then touch any corner of any book and PENpal will play back the audio file. You can choose to listen in English or any other language that has been translated for that book.)
4) Since each corner is a soundspot with its unique barcode, you can also record your version of the story on that page, or practice your voice pronunciation. Everything is saved, so any time you can play back the original audio in English and other languages, AND also play back your voice version as well. A great way to learn through Oracy!

People all over the world are discovering what PENpal has to offer: across the UK, the USA, Europe, and Canada over 75,000 units have been sold. To see what has them so excited, visit our video gallery for a demonstration. Or experience the magic of PENpal for yourself using the digital simulation of Three Billy Goats Gruff (English and Polish below. Touch English and then the corner of the page to hear the text narrated in English, and then select Polish and touch the same spot to hear the narration in Polish.


PENpal is a flexible and portable device with great potential for both classroom and personal use. For mainstream teachers, it represents an excellent tool for group work, and a fun way for pupils to add contextual detail and notes to printed materials. Outside the education environment, it can be both fascinating and comforting for a young child to hear stories and information in their own voice, or in that of a friend or relative. It also has additional applications for individuals with special educational needs - see here for more information.

  • 4GB of memory, extendable to 16GB
  • Rechargeable batteries, charge with USB cable linked to USB port in PENpal
  • Washable silicone sleeve for user comfort and protection from impact
  • 100 recordable labels included
  • USB cable included
  • Additional SD cards, USB cables, silicone sleeves, and headphones for use with PENpal are available for purchase, the latter two in a range of colours.
  • Free software included:
PENpal is available for £80 plus VAT, and can be purchased online.