Kids and Kindles Part 1: Kindle reads to kids

Amazon’s e-reader, the Kindle can be a wonderful classroom tool.  So wonderful, in fact, that I can’t do it justice in just one blog post.  Hence the Kids and Kindles series.

Part one: harnessing the text-to-speech feature

The short version: the Kindle will read any book out loud to you.

The long version:

Kindle parents taught me this tip.  Over and over, parents say that Kindle has not only encouraged children with learning disabilities to read, it has practically taught them to read.  Click to read about how the text-to-speech feature has helped many Kindle users who have learning disabilities!

Important: you don’t get text-to-speech with the cheapest Kindle, the $79 one.  You have to buy a Kindle with audio features.  If you need text-to-speech, get a Kindle Touch or a Kindle Keyboard.

The text-to-speech feature will read any English language content to you.  This is extremely helpful for kids with dyslexia or a learning disability.  The kids can follow along as Kindle reads aloud—or not.  Either way, they are building their vocabulary though exposure to the richer variety of words found on the printed page compared to everyday conversation.

I think the read-along-while-I-read-aloud aspect of the Kindle is really valuable.  It hearkens back to Teddy Ruxpin and his books on tape I loved as a child.

Audiobooks, while higher quality than Kindle’s text-to-speech because they’re read by actors and not machines, are expensive.  If you want to follow along with an audiobook, you have to own the actual book, too.  That can get really expensive.

With Kindle, you can listen to any book read aloud.  The deal is especially great when you consider how many free books are available.  Kindle has an extensive collection of public domain books you can download for free.  Many classics are written at quite a high reading level, so even kids without learning disabilities might like the text-to-speech feature.  How nice for new technology to expose kids to classics like the Oz books, Beatrix Potter’s collection, or Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland!

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Posted in Academics,Fun With Literacy by Corey Green @ Dec 26, 2011


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