This post is all about my best learn to read trick for all ages. It worked for all three of my struggling readers, and you probably already have access to it!
What is the Learn To Read Trick?
I’ll go into more detail later in the post (how it works, how to get cheaper prices, and a step by step how-to guide) but here’s the trick in a nutshell…
- You purchase a Kindle book through Amazon, then purchase the Audible version of the same book.
- You enable Whispersync within Amazon.
- Then your child reads the book on the Kindle app (or Kindle device) and they listen to the Audible audio narration at the same time- while the words are being highlighted in real time! That’s the secret right there!
By challenging your child with a book at or slightly above their reading level, they learn to read faster by READING the words while LISTENING to the words while WATCHING the words that are being read.
How I discovered the trick!
We’ve been homeschooling since my oldest was in Kindergarten. Before that, he went to a private preschool. I was completely shocked when he wasn’t reading AT ALL by the time we started homeschool kindergarten. I mean- he is so smart!! And I was reading by the age of three, so surely my kids would too, right? Nope.
In a complete panic, I tried everything- I mean everything!
We decided that the All About Reading curriculum was the best fit for us, and we did ultimately use it for all three kids as their primary Language Arts curriculum in the early elementary years. This is not a sponsored post but I HIGHLY recommend it.
However, even after he was getting really proficient at early reading books, sight word lists, and other typical activities, I found he was struggling to make the leap to more challenging books. Like, Frog and Toad- Yes. But Magic Tree House- No. He would come across a “big” word and then give up. But at 7 or 8 years old, he was craving a more interesting read than the “baby” books, and was frustrated that he just couldn’t get there.
That’s when I discovered Amazon’s WHISPERSYNC, and he went from “baby” books to Harry Potter in about 3 months.
The reason this little trick works so well is the fact that they are hearing the words while seeing the words highlighted at the same time.
According to Marie Rippel, from All About Learning Press, “As children listen to you read, they assimilate strong language skills. They pick up correct word pronunciation, word usage, and proper grammar. Their working vocabulary increases, and they internalize correct sentence structure.” Now, this is referring to you reading aloud to your kids, but the same holds true for the audio version of the book.
This trick worked equally as well for my next two kids. At different stages of their reading journey, I use this trick to launch them into the next level of reading and comprehension.
How Whispersync works…
- The first thing you need is a Kindle book. Purchase Kindle books through Amazon. You can browse all of the available Kindle books HERE. KINDLE BOOKS
If you have Kindle Unlimited, any of the books that also have Audible narration will work with Whispersync. KINDLE UNLIMITED
You can read Kindle books on any device with the Kindle App, but for children I HIGHLY recommend getting a dedicated KINDLE meant for kids. They are pretty affordable, especially if you catch a sale. The main reason I recommend a Kindle reader is there are no distractions. No ads, no internet, no games, no TikTok! Just books. And you control the access and set shut off times!
- Next, you need to purchase the Audible version of the same book. (More info on saving some money below!) You do NOT need an Audible subscription to purchase books from Audible.
- Finally, just enable Whispersync in your Amazon account. Click “Manage Content and Devices/ Preferences/ Device Synchronization (Whispersync Settings)/ On
How to Use Whispersync…
When you open your book in Kindle, you’ll see a little headphone icon (bottom of the screen) with the option to download the Audible book. Once your download is complete, press play and listen while you read, all while seeing the text highlighted in real time.
According to Scholastic.com, “[h]earing a book read on tape helps her see how the words on the page can come alive in a fluid, expressive way. It helps her focus on the sounds of words read without interruption and provides a model of fluent reading. Audio books also give her an important introduction to listening — a skill that she must master in order to learn to read.”
Even if your child is struggling, they always know where they are on the page, and the words they are hearing are highlighted- so they are building sight and pronunciation recognition.
PLUS, if your child wants to just read the book through Kindle, or just listen to the book through Audible, your spot is synced through Amazon so they never have to search for where they left off. If your child listens to the book for an hour, the next time they go to read the book will jump right to the spot where they left off.
How to get a deal on the books…
Obviously, buying both the Kindle version and Audible version of the same book could get really expensive if you had to pay full price. But thankfully, I have some tips to help you get a great deal on both!
- When you shop for your Kindle book on Amazon, you will be offered a lower price to purchase the Audible narration. The price varies, but sometimes it’s as little as a couple of dollars.
Tip-This is usually much cheaper than the price you pay for an Audible credit, so even if you have credits to use, I recommend just going ahead and paying the few bucks for the Audible version in this transaction.
- If you have Kindle books already, you can use this MATCHMAKER to see if any of them have Audible companions. This even works with Kindle books you’ve checked out from your library!! When your e-book is no longer on your device, your Audible narration will be, because you own it!
Another TIP- keep checking for cheap Kindle book deals. You can always add the Audible narration later, but at least you snagged the book for a deal!
I hope this was helpful for you- and just know that your child WILL read. I promise it WILL come. You’re doing great!
Please reach out to me if you have any questions. I’ve been there mama!
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