How to use the Reading Sidekick feature on Echo devices

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th Gen)
Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th Gen) (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

With some of the best Android tablets for kids and smart speakers like the Echo Dot Kids, there's no question that Amazon has been a leader in the kid's tech space for years. Amazon recently launched a new Alexa skill called Reading Sidekick to help kids improve reading. It's an interesting feature that can help younger kids start exploring the world of books and inspire older kids to improve their skills. Reading Sidekick is intended for children ages 6 to 9 and already works with hundreds of books. And with an Amazon Kids+ subscription, kids have access to curated age-appropriate apps, movies, games, and books while you have complete control via the parental dashboard. So let's get your child ready to start reading with Alexa.

How to set up Reading Sidekick on your Echo devices

To get started with Reading Sidekick, you'll first need to have a subscription to Amazon Kids+. Once that is taken care of and you have set up your child's profile, the rest of the process is relatively simple.

  1. Choose a supported book, either physical or digital.

Amazon Fire Kids Tablet Reading Sidekick Screenshot

Source: Chris Wedel/Android Central (Image credit: Source: Chris Wedel/Android Central)
  1. Get your child ready to read near their Echo Kids or another Echo device with Amazon Kids enabled.
  2. When ready, your child can say, "Alexa, let's read" or "Alexa, open Reading Sidekick."
  3. Tell Alexa the name of the book and begin reading.

Alexa and your child will take turns reading from the book. The Reading Sidekick will enable Alexa to listen while your child reads and offer encouragement and support to help with difficult parts of the book.

While Alexa can be enabled on Amazon Fire Kids tablets, these devices can't be used as the Reading Sidekick companion — that will have to be an Echo device. However, your child can use an Amazon Fire HD 10 Pro tablet, any of the other excellent Fire Kids tablets, or a device with the Amazon Kids+ app installed to find books that are supported for the Reading Sidekick skill. Then, after your child has found a book to read, Alexa is ready to go on your Kids+ enabled Echo speakers.

Reading is fun-damental

As you can see, Amazon's hardware for kids is essentially the same internally as the "grown-up" versions. Although only the kids get fun cases and fabrics on their devices and specially designed software for their profiles. Knowing how to use the Reading Sidekick feature on Echo devices could be perfect for your little one to discover the adventures awaiting them in hundreds of curated book titles found on Amazon Kids+.

Chris Wedel
Smart Home Writer
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, he enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes.