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What is immersion reading?

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You may have heard of immersion reading as a new reading technique. But what is immersion reading, and how can you use it? Discover the answers in our guide.

What is immersion reading?

Interactivity and immersion are hot-button topics in education today. Teachers often find that encouraging student involvement in the classroom or helping them engage with the materials they work with produces impressive results.

Immersion reading fits nicely into those categories.

Immersion reading is a new technique that combines traditional reading with sensory stimuli. If you’ve ever listened to an audiobook on a Fire tablet while reading along, you’ve experienced immersion reading in action.

The technique aids reading comprehension, especially for those with ADHD and dyslexia. Here we look at what immersion reading is and offer some valuable tips that support immersion reading success.

What makes immersion reading immersive?

As mentioned, immersion reading uses technology to engage students. In practice, this often means reading along with narration, usually provided by a text to speech tool, so you can hear what you read as you read it.

Many immersion reading tools take things a step further.

In addition to enhancing the reading experience with a voice, many platforms that offer companion audiobooks, highlight the text it’s reading so learners can follow along.

Other text to speech (TTS) tools also offer different immersion reading features. For instance, Speechify allows you to adjust your reading speed in real-time, making it easier to focus on difficult passages. Microsoft’s Immersive Reader lets you adjust the spacing between words, making them easier to decipher.

Key among all these tools is that they add audible, and sometimes visual, elements to the reading experience. By taking this multi-sensory approach, immersion reading enhances textbook or audiobook reading.

The advantages of immersion reading

Immersion reading takes advantage of the benefits that reading while listening provides.

There are a host of benefits associated with immersion reading.

Easier language learning

Anybody who’s tried to learn a new language knows how difficult it can be. You have to get to grips with strange pronunciation and word structures. You also have to figure out how to write using different grammatical constructs.

Immersion reading helps with all of these issues. Pronunciation challenges get simplified because you have a narration to show you how to say different words. You’ll also develop an “ear” for the language, especially if you use TTS to read work that other people write aloud.

Removing the guesswork

There’s no guesswork involved with immersion reading. Just hit the play button on a text to speech reader, and it will say the sentence or word as you should rightly pronounce it.

That feature is helpful for dyslexic students who often find it challenging to associate how a word looks with how it sounds. By removing the guesswork from the equation, immersion reading helps students feel more confident in their language understanding.

You can read more

Reading is an exhausting experience for those who have reading difficulties. The activity requires a great deal of focus, in addition to constant second-guessing regarding pronunciation. In the end, many who struggle with reading feel like giving up because of how tiring the process can be.

With immersion reading, fatigue is less of a factor. There’s a constant voice that confirms how to say what you’re reading. As such, you get real-time feedback from your tools, meaning you don’t have to read the same thing over and over to figure it out.

The result is that you can read more. That’s obviously helpful for students when studying for exams. But even those who don’t have reading difficulties can use immersion reading to get more out of their books.

Strengthening writing skills

It’s not just reading that immersion reading can improve. Having a better understanding of language structures also helps with writing.

For instance, you can paste a passage into a TTS tool and have it read aloud. The narration pays attention to grammatical constructs, such as the small pauses that come after commas. By paying attention to how the software reads, you can figure out how to structure sentences, so they read as they sound in your head.

Tips for more efficient immersion reading

Immersion reading tools introduce new features all the time. And with so many available, you may feel overwhelmed when figuring out how to use those tools to enhance your reading experience. These quick tips help you get the most out of immersion reading, regardless of the tools you use:

  • Experiment with narration speeds until you find something that works for you. Remember that you’re in control of the learning experience.
  • Consider building a playlist of books that you want to complete. Think of this playlist as a to-do list. By working through each book, you get a sense of completion that inspires you to move on to the next book.
  • If you need to listen to your book using headphones, consider a good Bluetooth option. Bluetooth headphones allow you to move around as you listen rather than tying you to your device.
  • Hunt down podcasts that come with transcripts. This technique is great for language learners because it lets you read along while listening to people speaking in their native tongues.

Try immersion reading with Speechify

With the “listening” part being such a critical component of immersion reading, you need a quality text to speech tool.

That’s where Speechify comes in.

Speechify is available as a Chrome extension, in addition to being downloadable as an app for iOS, macOS, and Android, so users can access the app whether on an iPad, iPhone, or Microsoft Windows device. It uses powerful technology to generate natural-sounding voices that can read text aloud in over 14 languages.

Furthermore, you can use Speechify to read digital text or take advantage of its optical character recognition (OCR) tech. OCR allows you to take photos of words, which Speechify interprets and reads aloud.

If you’d like to discover what Speechify offers, try it for free on the Speechify website today.


What are immersive reading activities?

Immersive reading activities involve using other senses as you read. Listening to audio of the text and using visual stimuli are both examples.

Why is immersive reading important?

Immersive reading is vital because it makes reading more accessible to those with learning difficulties.

What is a good book to use for immersive reading?

Almost any book can benefit from immersion reading techniques. However, audiobooks that keep the reader engaged with quality narration, such as the Harry Potter series, are excellent choices.

What is the difference between immersive reading and reading aloud?

When you read aloud, you’re verbalizing what you’re reading. Immersion reading involves having a narration playing as you read, which improves comprehension. Some common ways to engage in immersion reading are to check out the Audible narration on Amazon’s Audible App; a Kindle ebook on the Kindle App, Kindle Fire, or Kindle Oasis; or join subscribers over at Speechify audiobooks.

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.