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Amazon’s new Reading Sidekick helps kids learn how to read

You’ll need an active Amazon Kids Plus subscription to use the new feature.

amazon alexa sidekick reading feature
Image: Amazon

Amazon’s Alexa has become a staple in households all over the world. Now, Alexa is getting an upgrade with a new feature, called Reading Sidekick, that helps teach children how to read.

So here’s how it works. Reading Sidekick is designed for children ages 6 to 9 (though it can certainly help younger or older kids as well) to help “make reading more fun.” With Reading Sidekick, kids can sit down with a children’s book from Amazon’s library, either physical or digital, and have Alexa read along.

Once the child has decided on a book, they then get to tell Alexa how much of the book they want to read. If the child chooses “a little,” Alexa will do most of the reading, prompting the child to read a few sentences here and there. Conversely, if the child chooses “a lot,” he or she will be the one reading the most, and Alexa will pick up the rest.

While using Reading Sidekick, Alexa offers words of encouragement, such as “Amazing Job!” or “Woohoo!” Additionally, the Reading Sidekick will offer help with words when a child gets stuck, helping to build vocabulary and boost confidence in a kid’s reading abilities.

Reading Sidekick requires an active Amazon Kids Plus membership to be used. The membership will run you $5 if you don’t have Amazon Prime, or $3 if it’s attached to an active Amazon Prime account.

Do keep in mind that Amazon records and saves voices in order to analyze speech patterns to further enhance Alexa’s capabilities, and that includes kids’ voices. Fortunately, there are methods of deleting those recordings if you are not comfortable with Amazon having control over them.

Reading Sidekick seems like a very cool feature. I could be a great way to help kids become more proficient at reading, as well as build confidence in their ability to do so.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at alex@knowtechie.com

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