Trying out Reading Immersion with Kids Audio Books and Digital Books
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Trying Out Immersion Reading with Narrated Books for Kids


Trying out Reading Immersion with Kids Audio Books and Digital Books

We are big fans of audiobooks in this house. I listen to fiction and nonfiction books on my own and, as a family we always seem to have a good kids’ audiobook that we’re listening to together here and there throughout our daysin the car, while cooking or cleaning in the kitchen, and while drawing and doodling together.

Now we’re trying something new for six year old Daphne who is learning to read. This is an Immersion Reading experience for kids that combines audiobooks with digital books in a partnership between Amazon and Audible.

A big thank you to Audible for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Reading Immersion with Kids Audio and Digital Books

While big sis is at gymnastics, Daphne gets to listen and read along to a story on the Kindle Fire.

We’ve tried a couple of books in this Immersion Reading programthat are available as both Kindle books and audiobooks and have this transition-to-read feature that highlights the text as it’s being read.

It’s a great idea!

Here’s what Amazon and Audible say about it ::

Immersion Reading immerses you in a story by narrating and highlighting text as you read. It sparks an extra connection that boosts engagement, comprehension, and retention, taking you deeper into the book. The feature is especially enjoyed by kids learning to read.

They also show that reading immersion helps kids who struggle with reading.

Audio Books for Kids

Our issue, at the moment, is that Daphne’s reading level and her interest and comprehension level are so far apart. The books that she can read are very basic. Think short picture books with simple words and lots of repetition. But the stories she wants to listen to are much more complex chapter books, such as Harry Potter and The Mysterious Benedict Society (both series that we’ve been listening to as a family).

I can’t seem to find any easy readers on the list of Kindle books with Audible narration.

Which is probably fine as they can be a bit boring for her.

Immersion Reading with Narrated Audio Books

But then I said yes to Beezus and Ramona, knowing that she would want to listen to it but would not necessarily be able to read along yet. But also that she’d be closer to reading along with this one than, say, Harry Potter.

Like about 200 other children’s books on Amazon and Audible, it has this read-along feature. She followed along with her eyes for a while, but then asked if she could draw while she listened instead and I said yes, of course. Combining read-aloud time with drawing time is one of our standby activities.

Reading Immersion with Kids Audio Books and Digital Books

So Daphne drew and colored while listening to Beezus and Ramona.

I love the idea of this Immersion Reading program but am not sure how to make it work for us at the moment. Because of the current book selection, it seems to be better for kids who are farther along with their reading skills.

There are about 200 books for kids ages 6 to 12 with the read-along feature right now and I imagine the number will continue to increase!

Read Aloud Books in Performance Bridge

Here are a few of the books we’ve tried or would like to try ::

Audible is offering the audio narration for Immersion Reading at a big discount right now (for a limited time) while they introduce this feature.

Real Time Highlighting in Action

Here’s how the Immersion Reading program works ::

  • Buy the Kindle book
  • Add the Audible audio companion
  • Use the Immersion Reading feature where the text is highlighted on the digital book for you while you simultaneously listen to the audio book version.
  • (Or, if you prefer, simply switch between reading and listening on the Kindle app or tablet)

If you’re not Audible members yet, I highly recommend giving their audio books a try! I’m a big, big fan. Click here to get a 30-day trial with a free download. 

Trying Out Reading Immersion with Narrated Kids Books

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible. The opinions and text are all mine.


  • Reply
    georgine BOSAK
    July 14, 2016 at 9:26 am

    I am not sure of Daphne’s age, but if you are concerned her reading isn’t progressing, look at the Bright Solutions website. Twenty percent of the population is dyslexic to varying degrees. Dyslexic children tend to be quite creative and intelligent. I am not saying she is dyslexic. But as I have learned, dyslexia can be stealthy. =And Audible is the best. My girls love being read to. Some libraries also carry play-aways. Kind of like little ipods.

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      July 15, 2016 at 5:47 am

      Thanks, Georgine. Daphne is 6 and reading fine for her age. Just not reading the chapter books she’s most interested in yet. :)

  • Reply
    Monica Scheel
    July 17, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    As an experienced first grade teacher, I can tell you that teaching littles to read is indeed like rocket science! Your daughter has a fantastic foundation to begin her journey learning to decode the symbols we call text. I suggest you look at providing a more well-rounded approach, including phonics, pattern-books, a sight-word bank, and writing (writing and reading are best friends, to be taught in tandem). Listening to reading is a different skill than decoding text, so your work is helping your daughter learn to decode at this point. Her ability to listen and comprehend is fantastic, and will help her learn to decode at a much faster rate. Good work! Use what I have to say, or lose it. Just thought I’d throw in my two cents. Out of love, of course. :)

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      July 19, 2016 at 6:14 am

      Thank you, Monica! I’m thankful to have experienced teachers like you to help me with that, as it’s not my area of strength. She began learning to read and write in the well-rounded manner you mention in Kindergarten and will continue to do so in first grade when school begins again in the fall.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    I was surprised to see this post in my favorite art blog:) This is a huge project for us right now, as my 13-year old son is still a struggling reader. The “text-to-speech” feature along with highlighting the words seemed perfect for him. This is a regular feature on apple products – you can easily turn it on in the accessibility settings. Alas, after a lot of clicking (and I bit of swearing…) I determined that you couldn’t do this on the iPad (an apple product) even if you purchase the book on Kindle and purchase the extra audio narration. However, this was a few months ago, so I wonder if this is a new feature since then. Do you know if it works on iPads or just on Kindles? And, thanks for the post!

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      July 19, 2016 at 6:11 am

      I’m not sure, Erica. I would think it would work on any Kindle app, too, whether it’s on an iPad or phone. Good luck! Although, just FYI, I recently bought my Kindle Fire after my old kindle finally bit the dust and I think I only paid about $60 for it.

  • Reply
    July 31, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    Often stamina for reading is less than stamina for listening so reading with this “immersion” approach for 10 minutes and then listening for an hour (just be sure to stop at a chapter ending for simplicity) can still move the needle immensely. Or read the first two pages of each chapter then listen and draw to the end of the chapter. A major goal is to maintain the love of reading so putting the pieces together to keep the joy is essential.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 11:54 am

    We face the same gap issue in terms of what our six year old reads naturally at this level and the stories she’s interested in. I was amazed, however, how quickly our older one did end up in chapter books in first and second grade. I feel iffy about the audio books–even though in general we enjoy them and they offer exposure to greater vocabulary (especially Harry Potter), they often take priority with my eldest. She would rather listen than read, and she reads at a much higher level than she needs to at her age–reading is not generally an issue. But she becomes lazy and would choose to listen even when she can read if the options are separated. Maybe this would be an interesting thing to try? :)

  • Reply
    iconic coupon
    August 7, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Paragraph writing is also a excitement, if
    you know then you can write otherwise it is complicated to write.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    Hi! Friendly internet-neighborhood children’s librarian here! This sounds like a great feature. I just wanted to pop in and recommend checking your local public library to see if they have a subscription to Tumble Books or Bookflix, which is a similar product that does animated and read-along picture and chapter books. Tumble Books has some good fiction and nonfiction, including chapter books!

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      September 16, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      Thank you, Jessica! I’ll have to give that a try! Is it an app or something that you can use on your own device?

  • Reply
    November 16, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Hello :) What Kindle can I get these features on ?

  • Reply
    April 9, 2018 at 9:29 am

    I am untested in this can someone please contact me . I would really like Our 11 year old son to try this to engage him in stories with a bit more ease and get a liking for books .

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