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.
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.
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.