According to The Verge Amazon’s Alexa is going to help your kids read. Amazon’s Reading Sidekick feature will help the kids of the world. However, the feature is for the company’s Kids Plus service which is on Fire Tablets and Echo speakers. So if you do not have Kids Plus, now might be a good time to get the service.
Reading Sidekick will help kids to improve their reading skills. The way this works is how many parents teach their kids to read. Many parents take turns reading a book with their kids. Alternating pages or maybe paragraphs.
Now thanks to Amazon’s Reading Sidekick, Alexa will take turns reading with kids. The cool thing is the feature isn’t just limited to digital books, but physical as well. As mentioned, the Kid Plus service is needed to take advantage of this new feature.
The service is included with the Kids edition Fire tablets and Echo speakers. However, you can also pay $2.99 a month as well if you are a prime member. If you are not a prime member then you will have to pay $4.99 a month.
The new feature is pretty nifty and easy to use. Kids can say “Alexa, let’s read” and the new feature is activated. From there Alexa will prompt your kid to choose either a physical or digital book. If you are not using a Fire Tablet, you can use a device that can download the Kids Plus app.
Kids can choose to read a lot, a little, or take turns. With over 700 books available to start reading with Alexa, kids can start sharpening their reading skills now. And if your kid somehow goes through a lot of books there is no need to worry. New books will be releasing each week.
Alexa will listen to your child’s reading and will give critiques where it is needed. Any pronunciations that may be incorrect, Alexa will assist your child in learning. The Reading Sidekick also allows your kids to choose how much they read.
Amazon’s Reading Sidekick feature will make your kid a better reader
“Read a little” will let Alexa read more and will prompt your child to read a little bit here and there. “Read a lot” flips the script and lets Alexa take a more hands-off approach to read through the book. And if your kid wants a half and half approach then the “take turns” mode will do that.
However, do keep in mind that Alexa does not administer any type of comprehension test. So, if you want to test your kids’ improvement that will fall on you. However, Amazon is bringing Alexa Voice Profiles for Kids this week.
Voice Profiles will recognize specific children and create a personalized experience. So for any parents who have multiple kids, they can share the same device and still get their individual experience. The Voice Profiles will even automatically switch to Kids mode if an Echo device does not have Kids mode enabled. That is useful.
Marissa Mierow, Amazon’s head of Alexa learning and education says Reading Sidekick is “meant to build fluency and a love of reading”. From the sounds of the new mode, it seems that goal will be easily obtained.
After a year of hard work and a lot of tweaking, Amazon’s attempt to help kids is now here and ready to use. According to Mierow the “sweet spot” age range is six to nine years old.
That means that the child using the new feature will have to be able to read. Reading Sidekick can’t teach a child to read, but rather improves on existing reading skills.
Starting today June 29 Reading Sidekick is available on Fire tablets and Echo devices. However, remember The Kids Plus service is a must-have.