Use tools to make children’s books easier to read

You can make children’s books on Play Books easier to read with a set of tools to help new readers.

The tools for beginners are available for books intended for children between the ages of 0-8 on Android and iOS devices. Some features, like “read & listen,” are only available for books with narrated audio.

Use reading tools

Hear a word spoken out loud

To hear how a word is pronounced in the book, tap the word. Your device will read the word out loud.

Find the definition of a word

To learn the meaning of a word in a book:

  1. Tap a word.
  2. Select Dictionary lookup Lookup.
    • If it doesn’t appear: the word’s definition isn’t available.

Tip: To hear the definition out loud, on the definition card, tap Listen Play .

Listen to a book read out loud

Important: Read & listen is only available for children’s books with narrated audio. On the book listing page, if this tool is available, you can find Read & listen .

To hear the book read out loud:

  1. Tap anywhere on the book page.
  2. Tap Listen Play.
    • If you can’t tap the icon: Read & listen isn’t available for the book.

To turn the pages after the narration pauses at the end of a page, manually turn the page, or set Play Books to automatically turn the page.

  1. Open the Play Books app Play Books.
  2. At the top right, tap your profile picture.
  3. Tap Play Books Settings.
  4. Turn on Automatically turn pages.

Practice reading

Important: The Reading practice tool is only available for English children’s books with narrated audio. On the book listing page, if this tool is available, you can find Practice .

To practice reading out loud, tap Practice . Your device follows along as you say each word, and highlights your place in yellow. To set a new reading position, tap on a word.

  • At the end of the page, you receive guidance for any words pronounced incorrectly. To skip the guidance, tap Skip .
  • To get help with a word, tap on it to have it read to you.
  • To receive more assistance with a word: tap Help .
  • To hear a word broken down by its sounds: Tap Sound out .
  • To hear a word used in a sentence: Tap Hear Sentence .
  • To read and hear the definition of an available word: Tap Define .
Tip: The Reading practice tool requires microphone permission. You’re prompted to allow microphone permission the first time you tap Practice . If you reject the permission and wish to allow it in the future, you can change app permissions in the Settings app.

Bookmark pages in a book

To bookmark a page:

  1. Go to a page.
  2. Tap anywhere on the page.
  3. At the bottom, tap Bookmark.

To go to a bookmarked page:

  1. On the book, tap anywhere on the page.
  2. Tap Skip for Skim view.
  3. At the bottom, scroll to find the bookmarked page.
  4. Tap the bookmarked page.

Fix issues with the reading tools

If you have trouble with the tools for beginners, follow the steps below.

Check if the tools are turned on

  1. Open the Google Play Books app Play Books.
  2. At the top right, tap your profile picture.
  3. Tap Play Books Settings.
  4. Make sure Tools for beginners is turned on.

Tip: When you sign in to Play Books with a child account, the tools are turned on by default.

Check if you’re reading a children’s book

To check a book’s age range:

  1. Open the Play Books app Play Books.
  2. Search or browse for a book.
  3. Tap the book.
  4. Check the book’s details page.
    • If the age range is 0-5 or 6-8: Tools for beginners are available. 
    • If the age range is 8+: Tools for beginners aren’t available.

Send feedback

If you still have trouble with the tools, you can send feedback about your experience. You won’t get a response, but your feedback will help us improve the reading tools.

  1. On your phone or tablet, open the Google Play Books app Play Books .
  2. At the top right, tap your profile picture.
  3. Tap Help & feedback and then Send feedback.
  4. Describe your issue.
  5. Tap Send Send.
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