Kindle App for the iPhone

Image by Yuya Tamai (CC by 2.0)

Last week’s post featured some of the highlights of the Kindle and Kindle app for the PC for classroom use. The Kindle app for the iPhone is one more choice in this category. Kindle for the iPhone offers fun, on-the-go options for reading — anywhere, any time. Once you’ve installed the free app, you can send copies of all your e-books from your account to your iPhone. (This is another nice feature of Kindle books — you can have all your books available on all your devices, and never again be caught without something to read!)

One thing you’ll notice right away about the iPhone app is how smooth page-turning is: swipe your finger left to right to move ahead, left to right to turn back a page, and the app gives the impression of real pages turning. It’s a nice touch. 
There are other appealing features. Tap the top of the screen for options to brighten or darken the background. You can also choose the background colour — black is perfect for reading late at night if you want to leave your roommate(s) undisturbed. Use the font size icon to zoom in/out — the pinch-to-zoom feature on some models of the iPhone (4 and 4s) is at times unreliable. To highlight and make notes, tap, hold and drag to select text, then choose from options to either annotate, highlight or share (Twitter, Facebook) what you’ve selected. Tap and hold a word to activate the dictionary look-up. Tap the open book icon at the bottom of the page to view your highlights and notes.
These are all standard Kindle options and help to make the Kindle and Kindle apps good overall options for e-reading. They offer most of the features teachers look for in order to provide differentiated learning. They’re flexible and easy to navigate. And they’re fun. Give your students time to explore the features and options, and soon they’ll be building impressive e-book libraries of their own.

But like the Kindle for PC app, the iPhone app has no text-to-speech capability. And unfortunately, the Kindle iPhone app (tested on an iPhone 4s) does not allow the reader/user to copy and paste text from a Kindle book. This means that you won’t be able to use inexpensive text-to-speech software, such as SpeakIt, to provide reading support.

There may be a workaround to remedy this shortcoming — if anyone knows of a way to do this, please let us know!

Text-to-speech functionality is really one of the best arguments for using e-books with students – especially ELLs and students with learning disabilities. Stanza remains the best option for apps if you want and need this feature. Read more here about how to use the text-to-speech apps.

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