How the Amazon Kindle Can Help the Dyslexic Reader

by | Mar 7, 2015 | Resources | 9 comments

As parents and teachers of dyslexic students, we are always trying to find ways to help these struggling readers learn to enjoy reading and learning. One way you can do this is by using an Amazon Kindle for your dyslexic reader.

 As parents and teachers of dyslexic students, we are always trying to find ways to help these struggling readers learn to enjoy reading and learning. One way you can do this is by using an Amazon Kindle for your dyslexic reader.

 

As parents and teachers of students with dyslexia, we are always on the lookout for ways to help these struggling readers learn to find success and enjoy reading. Large print, specialized fonts, and audiobooks are just a few of the accommodations we can make.

There is another resource that you may already own without realizing it – Immersion Reading on the Amazon Kindle.  Amazon and Audible (their audiobook arm) have paired up to provide some excellent new technologies that make owning a Kindle Fire just that much more awesome. Now in addition to surfing the web, answering emails, downloading apps and books, unlimited free cloud storage, and watching movies via Amazon Instant Video, Amazon offers the following features:

Whispersynch Technology

Whispersync technology enables readers to switch, without losing their place, between different devices while reading a Kindle book or to start watching a video on a Kindle Fire and pick up where they left off on an Internet-connected TV.

For example, I own a Kindle Fire and an iPhone. When I buy books on Amazon, I choose to have them downloaded to my Cloud rather than any particular device. That way when I access my Amazon Kindle Reader (free downloadable app) from my iPhone or Kindle I can download the book to any or all of our devices that have the Amazon Reader App. Now I can be reading a book on my Kindle and if I am out without my Kindle, I can access the book (without losing my place) on my iPhone.

Also, I don’t know about you, but with a houseful of bright minds that are late readers, we listen to a LOT of audiobooks. There is little more frustrating than losing your place in an audiobook, no? Especially when your 9-year-old comes to you with the iPod (we have a designated iPod just for audiobooks) asking you to find her place in a 4-hour book when neither of you has any idea where she was. So that is nice, but it gets better.

Whispersync for Voice

With Whispersync for Voice, Kindle and Kindle Fire users can now switch seamlessly between reading a book and listening to the Audible edition on any iOS or Android phone, still without losing their place. This means that if I am listening to a Whispersync-enabled Audible audiobook and want to go read the book, my device knows where I was in the audiobook and offers to sync to that page. No searching and rereading trying to find my place.

Whispersync for Voice is nice but how will it help the dyslexic readers in my house?

Kindle Fire

Immersion Reading for Whispersync for Voice

With Immersion Reading for Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD,  Kindle edition books are synced to the corresponding Audible audio edition AND as the books are read the text is highlighted while it is narrated via the Audible audiobook.

We have long used audiobooks and had our dyslexic kids listen to the book as they followed along in the paper version. The trouble is that they can often lose their place and end up just listening, thus losing the multi-sensory input. The benefits of this immersion-type of listening are similar to those of the Neurological Impress Method (NIM). In this instructional method, the parent (or tutor) reads a text that is slightly above the student’s reading ability while running their finger under the text.

This multi-sensory instruction allows the child to see and hear the words at the same time and is very effective for building word recognition and fluency.

There are nearly 15,000 Kindle books and Audible audiobooks available for Immersion Reading and Whispersynch for Voice as well as a nice selection of free sets including, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Tale of Two Cities, The Three Musketeers, Gulliver’s Travels and other classics.

For a list of Kindle Edition Books with accompanying Audible Audio editions with Whispersync technology, click here.

To see a list of the FREE Kindle Edition books with FREE Audible Audio edition, click here.

If you don’t have the second generation of Kindle Fire or one of the newer Kindle Fire HD devices, you can still access the Whispersync technology and the free Kindle books and Audible versions just without the Immersion Reading technology. All you need is a Kindle and the free Audible app that comes pre-installed on your Kindle.

The new Kindle Fire (second generation) and the Kindle Fire HD also come with a text-to-speech function. While this is nice (my kids don’t seem to mind the computerized voice) there is really no comparison between a professionally recorded narration such as those offered by Audible and a monotone digital text-to-speech voice.

When E-Readers first came out, there was some concern about whether it was really good for children to read digital versions of books. If you are in doubt, read the following list of benefits (that can also help people with dyslexia) of reading books from an E-Reader:

Other E-Reader Benefits

1. Changing the font size of the text and the number of words on the e-reader screen can help students customize the text to their preferences, which can be especially helpful for struggling readers.

2. Using the built-in dictionary function of some e-readers may help students quickly define words they don’t know and provide pronunciation information that can help them sound out unfamiliar words.

3. Having students record their thoughts or respond to specific questions with the “notes” feature of some e-readers provides insight to their comprehension of the text.

4. The text-to-speech feature of some e-readers could provide instant support for struggling readers to better understand a text by reading aloud the words that cause them the most difficulty.

If you have been looking for some technology to help your struggling reader enjoy reading, consider the Amazon Kindle. If you want the added benefit of text-to-speech and Immersion Reading Technology, click here for more info on the Amazon Kindle HD for $44.99.

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small amount of any purchase that you make at Amazon by clicking on a link on the Homeschooling With Dyslexia site. You pay no more and your purchase is completely anonymous; I will not know who ordered or what was ordered. Also, I never post about products or services that I have not used and loved!

As parents and teachers of dyslexic students, we are always trying to find ways to help these struggling readers learn to enjoy reading and learning. One way you can do this is by using an Amazon Kindle for your dyslexic reader.

9 Comments

  1. Sharon

    As an adult with dyslexia, I cannot agree more! I was not a casual reader before the invention of the kindle. I do not use a kindle fire but I do love my kindle ereader. The ability to change the font size and not knowing the length of the book is amazing. Small print is tough for me to decipher and I get worried that I will not finish it-thus, reading was not much fun until the invention of the kindle! Now my son uses ebooks with the audio and the highlighted words as well. He has dyslexia and is an avid reader! I am not a huge fan of my kids using technology but I definitely will continue to support this technology! It has opened a whole to world for people with dyslexia!

    Reply
    • MR . EARLIEB YOUNG

      I was Diagnosed In 1965 A Little Lad With LSD & DYSLEXIA BEFORE ENTERING PRE-K & HEADSTART DURING THE TIME JOHN F.KENNEDEY & DOCTOR MARTIN LUTHER KING JR FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT BEFORE HIS ASSASSINATION BOTH WAS ASSASSINATED DURING THE I R ENTIRE CAMPAIGN IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN THE WHITE HOUSE CABIN I AM 52 YEARS OF LIFETIME EXPERIENCE WITH DYSLEXIA 3-10-2015

      Reply
  2. the martian book

    This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!!

    Finally I’ve found something which helped me. Appreciate it!

    Reply
  3. Emily Woodall

    I have a Kindle Fire. I signed up for a free trial of amazon unlimited and audible to see how the whisper sync for voice would work for my bright, dyslexic just-turned-nine-year-old. I used our trial to get a couple of Boxcar Children books for her to listen to and read along with. This was a game changer for my daughter. She enjoyed this technology so much and seeing her be able to really enjoy literature independently for the first time in her life brought tears to my eyes. I won’t continue with the audible subscription after this free trial. It cost $15 per month, but that only gets you one “free” audio book per month and a 30% discount on other audio books. With an ‘amazon free time unlimited’ subscription, I can pay $7 per month for all 3 of my kids to have unlimited access to thousands of books. That is not too bad, but you do have to pay extra for every whisper sync-ready professional narration that you add. For the 2 Boxcar Children books that I got for free with my audible trial, that means I would have paid $5.99 to add the audiobook for each one. This is definitely going to cost me some money, but it is a great technology. I would love to hear more about how you utilize a notes app to enhance the experience. I can’t seem to figure out how to make text to speech work on my kindle fire. If the kindle fire could read the notes to my daughter AND she could dictate the answers to the device…THAT would be awesome!

    Reply
    • marianne

      I’m so glad to hear of your experience Emily! Have you contacted the Amazon Kindle customer service? They are quite good though you have to dig a bit to find the contact info.

      Reply
    • Heather Costomiris

      I wish the audible books weren’t extra $$. It just doesn’t make sense financially foe us when the kids are enrolled in Bookshare through the school district, and their IEP’s. They can get any book that bookshare has for free. The only downside is that the narration is that fake electronic voice.

      Reply
  4. Liz

    This is really helpful, thank you!
    How do you search for only children’s books in the whisper sync area? I can’t find how to refine my search. Thanks Liz

    Reply
  5. Re

    We have most Amazon services including Amazon Unlimited books and several kindles, but will not pay for Audible. We use Bookshare.org and LearningAlly.org as the price is little to nothing for an incredible selection of books with so many features for dyslexics or those with vision disabilities. LearningAlly has the best selection for school age kids and Bookshare has provenough invalabel for all 3 of us. Wish Amazon would allow LearningAlly app to be downloaded onto kindle or offer discounts for visual disabled individuals.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 26 Reasons E-Books Are Better Than Actual Books - […] 10. Apparently it’s easier to read on an e-reader than on paper for the dyslexics among us. […]
  2. The Best Tablets For Kids - 1 Happy Kiddo - […] You can read more about how homeschooling parents use Kindle to help their dyslexic kids learn to read better…

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