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What About Audiobooks?

Books, Reading

Published on: November 30, 2023

Written by: Gina Hagler

boy listening to audiobook

Overview

Audiobooks are books you listen to. They are the same words as those on the page in the physical book. For beginning readers and kids who haven’t yet found the fun in cuddling up and reading books, they are a way to introduce a kid to the magic of stories. And most libraries have audiobooks to lend for free.

You can argue that kids should read books, but if your kid is not interested in picking up a book, you’ve got to start somewhere. The same is true for kids who love to read but enjoy being read to – especially at bedtime or while you’re driving around running errands – sort of like the kid version of multitasking. Audiobooks are equally important for kids with dyslexia or who otherwise struggle with print books.

I love to read. There are those who swear I was born with a book in my hand, and they may be right. I resisted audiobook listening because it wasn’t reading. The problem was, as book lovers who spend a lot of their time in their cars commuting or running around can attest, the only times I had for reading were times when I was pretty much asleep on my feet. When I finally gave in and listened to an audiobook, I was so excited that I drove around until the chapter was done. I’d forgotten how comforting is to be read to – how much the reading experience is about the story and not the medium.

Audiobooks vs Print Books

Our goal at KidWrite! is to create avid-reading kids. The first step in the process is for a kid to fall in love with “story.” There are many ways we do this, but a simple way for you to do this is to incorporate audiobooks into your kid’s routine. You can have your kid:

  1. read the physical book while listening to the audio version as a way to improve reading comprehension and reading speed. How? Often kids know a word before they can decode the word on the page. This practice helps them make the link.
  2. listen to the audiobook version when falling asleep. One of my kids listened to Rascal so many times that I’m surprised he can’t recite it by heart; maybe he can. I’ll have to ask.
  3. skip the radio and video games and put on an audiobook when you’re all in the car. The bonus to this is that all of your kids will be hearing the same story, which makes it possible for you to talk about the book with them. Talking about it is an excellent way to boost their retention of the story while talking about what happened.

Public Library vs Monthly Sub

It used to be that you needed to purchase audiobooks or sign up for a monthly subscription service. I’ve tried both of those and have settled on Audible for myself. I also get many free audiobooks through my public library. And you can buy audiobooks from Audible on Amazon without a subscription. The books available include non-fiction and bestsellers, whichever one I decide to use. It’s also possible to purchase an e-book on Kindle and pay the difference to listen to an audio format or read the book on your ipad or e-reader and have the book “know” where you are when you return to read it. With the resources available, you don’t have to pay to listen to a book.

Is There an App for That?

Haven’t we reached the point where there’s an app for everything? Seriously. There is a free app for borrowing audiobooks from your public library. This award-winning app, Libby from Overdrive, puts ebooks and audiobooks within easy reach without rounding everyone up for a physical trip to the library. There are sources as well – like Spotify and Apple Books. Whether you’re Android or Apple, in preschool or high school, love fiction or non-fiction, prefer headphones or bare ears, speak English or another language … There is an audiobook for you.

Bottom Line

The goal is to raise an avid-reading kid. With the first audiobook, you just might be providing a way for their love of a story well-told to lead them to a lifetime of literary enjoyment.

Read more Support Your Child: Reading