Monday, June 5, 2023

Google Play Books update brings audio narration to children’s titles

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Google has tried to make eBooks accessible to a wider global audience, including those who are learning at read. The web giant continues to focus on young people by launching a set of audio resource tools for children’s titles on Google Play Books.

Children can now listen to a book read aloud, with the ability to turn the pages automatically or manually, on titles intended for children under eight. The popularity of audiobooks and podcasts on dedicated services such as Audible and Spotify led most adults to listen to spoken word content, sometimes narrated by a celebrity. But the thirst for vocal interpretations of literature is instilled in us from an early age through bedtime stories and school readings, which serve as the inspiration for Google’s new tool.

In a separate feature aimed at improving a child’s vocabulary, users can now tap a word in a book to hear it aloud. In addition, Google is adding the ability to read or listen to thousands of child-friendly definitions, often combined with illustrations designed to support a child’s understanding or learning. Of course, the tools aren’t just for kids and can be used by all beginning readers.

While the new features are available on the majority of Google Play books for ages 0-8, you can check to see if they are enabled before purchasing a book by downloading a free sample first. To coincide with National Reading Day across America, Google is also offering three eBooks, including a STEM title written by Google’s engineering program manager Komal Singh; Ara the Star Engineer. And a pair of Sesame Street books featuring Julia, his first autistic muppet, including We are amazing, 1-2-3! and Family forever.


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