How Do You Make the Kindle Read Aloud Function Work?

How Do You Make the Kindle Read Aloud Function Work?

Amazon’s Kindle 2 eBook reader promises to revolutionize the act of reading. Amazon hopes the Kindle will do for books what the iPod did for music. To this end, the Kindle and Kindle 2 devices boast features to entice users to use the Kindle for all their reading, kind of like how iPods became everyone’s “default” music player a few years ago.

The Kindle 2’s dictionary function allows users to look up unfamiliar words without interrupting the reading time, and with the bookmark function, you can mark a page for easy return.

What is the Kindle Read Aloud Function?

One intriguing feature of the Kindle is the read-aloud function, a piece of text-to-speech software that reads the text of your eBook aloud to you.

The read-aloud function is easy to switch back and forth from while you’re reading, so you can read from your Kindle while enjoying your morning coffee and then switch to read-aloud mode on the treadmill.

The read-aloud function is useful for Kindle users who have difficulty reading due to disability–the software is the same as other TTS software that has been available for blind users since the 1980s.

How Do You Make the Kindle Read Aloud Function Work?

How Do You Make the Kindle Read Aloud Function Work?

The existence of the read-aloud feature is controversial because some publishers say the feature raises copyright issues by creating what is basically an unlicensed audio book. Advocacy groups for the blind say removing the read-aloud feature would unfairly hinder the ability of the disabled to use the Kindle to their advantage.

Amazon has decided to leave it up to publishers to enable the Kindle’s read-aloud function on a title-by-title basis.

Activating the Kindle Read-Aloud Feature

To make the Kindle “read aloud” function work, follow these steps:

1. Press the “text” key. This is the key marked with the symbol “Aa.”

2. Use the 5-way controller to highlight the “Text-to-Speech” option.

3. Press down on the 5-way controller to select “turn on.” You should begin to hear the text of your book spoken aloud through the Kindle’s external speakers. If you wish, you can plug in headphones to listen privately.

Kindle Text-to-Speech Settings

The Kindle’s default voice is male. You can use the 5-way controller to select a female speaking voice instead. The voice’s rate of speech can be increased or decreased as well as paused — all using the 5-way controller. While Text-to-Speech is playing the screen will update to the corresponding page of text.

The Kindle begins to read at the start of the page by default. To start at a particular spot on the page, simply move the cursor to the place on the page you’d like to begin before turning on the feature. If, when you attempt to select “Text-to-Speech” only to find it grayed-out, then your title’s publisher has deactivated the Kindle’s ability to read aloud from this e-book.

You can also activate the Kindle’s read-aloud function by holding down the “Shift” key (marked by an upward-pointing arrow) and the “Symbol” key (SYM) at the same time for a few seconds. You can also pause and resume the feature using the Spacebar.

If you don’t already have a Kindle, buy one from Amazon now using our link. (We’ll get a small commission when you do so.)

This is part of a series of blog posts we’re publishing about various ebook readers. The other posts in this series include:

It’s also part of a series of Kindle articles: