Immersion Reading on Kindle – When You Need Some Extra Focus

If you have trouble concentrating or your eyes tend to wander when you read, you should check out Immersion Reading from Kindle. This feature, available on the latest generation Kindle Fire tablets, tracks words across a page so you can concentrate better on what you’re reading.

How Immersion Reading Works

Immersion Reading highlights words on a Kindle book as they are being read on an Audible audiobook.

Here’s a video showing Immersion Reading in action:

To use Immersion Reading, buy a Kindle book that has Whispersync for Voice enabled, download it to your Kindle Fire, then add narration by purchasing the Audible audiobook version of the book and downloading it to your Fire. After you have both the Audible and Kindle versions of the book on your Fire, open the Kindle book and tap the page. A toolbar appears at the bottom of the screen. Tap the Play button ► to have the audiobook read aloud as you read along on your screen. The words being read on the audiobook will be highlighted on the screen of your Kindle book as they are read.

You can adjust the speed of the words being read. While the audiobook is being read, a button will appear on the right side of the toolbar at the bottom of the screen (see image below). Tap that button to adjust the speed. You can slow down the reading to half-speed (0.5x), or increase the speed, from 1.25x to 3x the normal speed.

If you want the text to be highlighted but don’t want the book to be read aloud, turn the volume of the Fire down all the way so there is silence. This highlighting will still progress even though you cannot hear the audiobook being read.

Who Would Benefit from Immersion Reading?

Immersion Reading can be useful for children who are learning to read or are having reading issues. If your child needs to increase his or her reading speed, gradually adjust the speed of the highlighted text until your child has achieved the desired reading speed.

People with vision tracking issues can also benefit from reading with the text highlighted.

Students who have trouble concentrating might also be able to focus better with highlighted text.

People who are recovering from strokes who need to hear text as they read it can use Immersion Reading to follow along with the words.

People learning English as a second language can benefit from hearing the words being spoken as they see the words on the screen.

Wait, Do I Have to Buy Two Versions of a Book to Use Immersion Reading?

Maybe. See my article from last week, Whispersync for Voice: The Marriage of Kindle and Audible, for my analysis of ways to get discounted or free Kindle and Audible books with Whispersync for Voice.

How Is Immersion Reading Different from Whispersync for Voice?

Whispersync for Voice saves your place in the book when you switch back and forth between a Kindle book and an Audible audiobook. Immersion Reading highlights the words on a Kindle book as they are being read in an Audible book. Whispersync for Voice works on all devices with a Kindle or Audible app. Immersion Reading only works on the latest models of the Kindle Fire.

What Else You Need to Know

Immersion Reading is available only on the latest generation Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9″. The feature comes with the device. You don’t need to add an app or adjust your settings.

Any book that has Whispersync for Voice enabled also has Immersion Reading enabled. Currently over 15,000 books have the Whispersync for Voice feature. When you look at either the Kindle or Audible book description, you can see whether Whispersync for Voice is enabled. If Whispersync for Voice is enabled, then you can use Immersion Reading with the book.

How Immersion Reading Could Be Improved

Immersion Reading is a new feature that is in its first generation and I would like to see its availability expanded. Currently you have to own the latest generation Kindle Fire to use Immersion Reading. Unlike Whispersync for Voice that works across all devices, Immersion Reading requires that you buy a new device. Ideally, Immersion Reading would work as Whispersync does, across all devices, including tablets, phones, computers, Kindle ereaders and the first generation Kindle Fire.

You also must buy both the Kindle and Audible versions of a book to use Immersion Reading. Amazon has a free text-to-speech option on some of its Kindle books but that feature seems to have been phased out on newer Kindle devices. Having Immersion Reading available with text-to-speech or without needing to purchase an Audible book would be a big improvement. I would like Immersion Reading to be available with text-to-speech or with variable speed highlighting without needing an accompanying audiobook. That way users could save money plus Immersion Reading would not be limited to books that are Whispersync for Voice enabled.

Although this feature could be improved, Immersion Reading is a valuable addition to Kindle books.

Bottom Line

Immersion Reading is a free new feature available on the newest Kindle Fire tablets that may be extremely useful for many different readers. While there may be opportunities to expand this feature, this added benefit may make a big difference to a lot of people.

Your Thoughts

Do you know people who might benefit from Immersion Reading? Have you ever struggled to keep focus on a book? Would you like to read a book that is highlighted in real time? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below!

For more Wonder of Tech, check out TalkingTech: Talking Smartphone Apps With Carolyn Mohr.

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  1. says

    Ah, the Kindle reading with Audible! I remember you writing about that Carolyn. So now they have this feature to kind of read along with you. I like that myself.

    It really sounds neat and very helpful, especially for kids. Okay, some adults too! :-)

    Happy Halloween and hope you all are safe.

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    • says

      Hi Adrienne, Yes, Immersion Reading is similar to Whispersync. I wanted to write two articles so readers could fully understand both the similarities and the differences.

      Both features are very helpful to readers. I am truly impressed with how Amazon continues innovating to enhance the reading experience.

      I appreciate you stopping by and adding to the conversation, Adrienne! :-)
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Boo! Halloween Apps for Fun and SafetyMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Josh, Yes, I was confused at first but then I realized it wasn’t your voice, it was that crazy guy who says he knows you.

      Yes, I think Immersion Reading would be incredibly helpful for a book you were reading for school. If your mind were drifting, this could help you concentrate. Not that that every happened to me…

      Thanks for stopping by, Josh!
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  2. Carol MInarcik says

    Hey Carolyn, Now how cool is this? Wow! I have a brand new grandson and as soon as he is abit older this is the first thing I shall purchase. O gee, reading those night time stories sure will be easy now. I have never heard of this product, thanks so much for bringing it to my attention. Have a Great Day!

  3. says

    This is the first time I’ve heard about this feature. I probably wouldn’t need it, but it looks awesome for people who need that extra focus. I have been thinking about whether I should buy a new Kindle or not. But all I am using it for is reading, and I have an iPad 3, so I am not sure if I’ll get a better experience from reading with the latest version of Kindle?
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    • says

      Hi Jens, Yes, if you don’t struggle with focus when you’re reading then you probably don’t need this feature. Immersion Reading can be especially helpful when kids are learning to read or need help with reading skills. People learning English can benefit from Immersion Reading too but you clearly don’t need that.

      I will be doing a full review of the Kindle Fire HD next week. If you only use your Kindle as an ereader and have an iPad 3, you probably don’t need a Kindle Fire HD. But I think it’s a great choice for kids because of features like Immersion Reading and Kindle FreeTime (I’ll be writing about that in my review).
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Whispersync for Voice: The Marriage of Kindle and AudibleMy Profile

  4. Brian D. Meeks says

    This is a great improvement to an already fantastic bit of technology. I’ve never had an issue with concentration and I read really quickly, but as an author, I love it. Anything that makes reading more accessible to the public is fantastic.

    • says

      Hi Brian, Yes,excellent point. Making the world of books more accessible is a truly great thing. That’s why I’m so excited about this feature that is now available for everyone.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your insights with us, Brian!

  5. says

    I might be interested more in a text book, but I’m not sure how much I would like it for casual reading. I’ve done a few audio books and weren’t real crazy about them.

    I do see where it could help certain types of readers though. I also like the part where they could make it better. But your smart like that anyway……
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  6. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    I don’t have a Kindle but have used audio books before, especially when I’ve had trouble sleeping.

    This new feature sounds like it’s very helpful as it gives you the best of both audio and reading.

    Now that Immersion can follow what people are reading and allows them to adjust the speed, with the option of listening rather than reading makes it look very attractive. Kindle sure are doing their research aren’t they.

    I wonder what the book stores are thinking these days :)

    Thanks Carolyn,

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    • says

      Hi Barry, I’m like you, I enjoy falling asleep to audiobooks. The app for Audible has a sleep timer which is very helpful.

      Excellent point, Amazon keeps innovating with its Kindles, making it easier for people to read. For those who need some extra help with reading, this could be a truly meaningful development.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Barry!
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  7. says

    This tool sounds very interesting. It will not only immerse and captivate their readers but will also help them to improve their tone and pronunciation. It will enhance their reading skills and concentration power. Kindle have always launched great books and devices for their audience. This Immersion Reading will definitely help visually challenged people by their new audio tracking feature. I would definitely love to try this new featured Kindle Fire tablet.

    • says

      Hi Nicholas, Excellent points. So many people can be helped by Immersion Reading. You’re right about the tone and pronunciation being helped by listening to audiobooks and even more so by seeing the words that are being read.

      I hope you enjoy this feature, Nicholas. Thanks so much for sharing your insights with us!
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    • says

      Hi Dee Ann, Yes, I wish Immersion Reading were available on all Kindle devices, but the technology is only available on the new Kindle Fires. I will say that Amazon is usually very good at making its technology available on all devices so perhaps bringing this feature to other devices is not yet possible.

      It will be very helpful to readers who need extra help.
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  8. says

    I really want to own an Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet because of the immersion reading feature. It’s very interesting and I find it really helpful when reading. I hope I can get one Kindle this Christmas!