Reading aloud to our kids is incredibly beneficial. But we only have so much time (and voice!) to read all the books out loud. Audiobooks to the rescue! Keep reading to learn how audiobooks can benefit your children and see our list of some of the best audiobooks for kids.
Why Listen to Audiobooks
While it’s still important to make the time to read together, audiobooks allow your children to devour even more books in between family read alouds. And they get to do it hands free which means other things can get done at the same time (think: laundry, dishes, sweeping the floor, mowing the lawn…)
Encouraging your kids to listen to audiobooks has other benefits as well. Weareteachers.com shares these in their article entitled, 7 Ways Audiobooks Benefit Students Who Struggle with Reading:
- Increases word exposure and improves vocabulary.
- Builds background knowledge.
- Reduces working-memory deficit.
- Removes printed word decoding anxiety.
- Increases comprehension.
- Develops grade-level appropriate content knowledge.
- Gives students educational independence.
Let’s not forget one of the best reasons to listen to audiobooks: it’s fun! The right kind of audiobook has a reader who gives each character a voice, bringing the story to life. It’s engaging and enjoyable, even for the child who struggles to sit still during family reading time.
When to Listen to Audiobooks
There is a time and a place for audiobooks. You don’t want your child wandering around with earbuds in all day, cutting herself off from the real world. If this is a problem, set appropriate boundaries. But if you’re looking for more opportunity to listen to audiobooks, try these ideas:
In the car – if you use bluetooth, you can all listen together!
Before bed – give your child a few minutes to listen as he winds down for the night.
During chores – keep them happy while they clean!
On a walk/run – your older children can enjoy audiobooks while exercising, as you should!
In a waiting room – an audiobook could calm nerves and pass the time.
During quiet time – set aside some time to listen just because you can.
How to Listen to Audiobooks
It’s a very techy world we live in. There are so many different ways for your kids to listen to audiobooks. I’m sure I don’t know all the ways, but here are some popular options:
Books on CD – If you still have a CD player lying around or in your car, the library has a plethora of books on CD to choose from.
Overdrive – Just about any library in the nation will have this option. Download the app, then download a book from your library. Options vary, and you’ll have to wait for titles just like with physical books from the library, but it’s another excellent and free option.
Hoopla – This is my personal favorite as you don’t have to wait to borrow a title, but it’s still free through the library. There tend not to be as many options, but they’re typically high quality choices. Each library has a limit on how many you can borrow each month (mine is five).
Audible – This app is a favorite because it’s super easy to use and has an excellent collection. There is a monthly membership, but you keep whatever books you buy, including the two free audiobooks you receive when you sign up for the 30-day trial.
Which Audiobooks Should Kids Listen to?
Your family is all set up to listen to audiobooks now, but which to choose? There are so many wonderful audiobooks for kids that it can get overwhelming! I’ve been there. Let me help you wade through it all with these suggestions.
Audiobooks for the Whole Family
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz performed by Anne Hathaway: Anne Hathaway is amazing in this classic. Her voices are incredible. Your family will be riveted just like mine was! We’ve listened to it twice!
Harry Potter Series performed by Jim Dale: There’s no better way to enter into the magical world of Harry Potter than through the voice of the gifted Jim Dale. Keep in mind that this series can get a little scary at times which is why I recommend it as a family listen!
Little House in the Big Woods performed by Cherry Jones: You really can’t go wrong with the whole Little House series. The audio version of this classic makes the descriptive portions beautiful and engaging. Pa’s fiddle even makes a few real life performances in this one!
Charlotte’s Web performed by E.B. White: Yes, this beautiful tale is read by the author himself!
Echo performed by various readers with music by Corky Siegel: This is so much more than an audiobook. The tale is inspiring and the music performed just might change your life.
Bud, Not Buddy is a young adult book your kids might have read (or will read in school). It’s a Newbery Medal winner full of laugh-out-loud humor and wonderful characters.
Audiobooks for Kids
Nancy Drew Diaries by Carolyn Keene
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
Whatever After Series by Sarah Mlynowski
Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol
“I have lived a thousand lives and I’ve loved a thousand loves. I’ve walked on distant worlds and seen the end of time. Because I read.” -George R.R. Martin
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