Trying to cultivate a love for reading can be a difficult task with so many other exciting things vying for kids' attention today. Screen time, social media, hobbies, sports, down time, and the busyness of life leave little time to slow down and enjoy a story. Time for a quick win with AUDIOBOOKS! Using audiobooks with kids provides them numerous benefits in their journey to becoming lifelong readers.
Any of these situations sound familiar?
A beginning or struggling reader who is frustrated with the whole reading process?
A child whose love for reading has fizzled (or has yet to develop!).
An avid reader who is tiring as books are becoming more challenging?
Finding learning activities that don't involve screens!
It is challenging to turn reading into a "fun choice" instead of frustrating activity for a lot of kids. But today we have an easy and effective solution for you! Incorporate audiobooks (and read-alouds) into your daily routines and just watch as your kids curiosity for books develops and grows!
One of the most significant benefit is that it allows a child to experience text at a higher level than they are reading. Often a child’s listening level is a grade or two higher than his reading level. Incorporating these higher level books into your program will expose a child to more complex storylines, elements, and literary devices. This exposure challenges a child to expand their reading boundaries, plus when they encounter these elements back at their own reading level, they will be more comfortable and confident!
10 Other Benefits of Audiobooks:
Expands word exposure and vocabulary--kids will hear and learn words beyond what they just can read in print!
Strengthens listening skills--while listening to a book a child relies on their hearing since there are no visual cues to support the story, this will enhance their listening ability.
Builds background knowledge--books can expose children to locations and periods they can’t experience first hand. It will widen their perspective of the world!
Increases comprehension--at first, a child may only remember the main plot events, but as you listen to more books, they will begin to notice incredible details that will generate deeper insights as they interact with the story and characters.
Models fluent reading and expression--this is especially important for new or struggling readers.
Reduces working memory effort--instead of spending time and energy on decoding words, kids can listen and focus on comprehension.
Increases attention spans--start with shorter books and work your way into lengthier selections.
Develops imagination--kids will create the story in their mind!
Exposes children to different genres--incorporate titles that a child typically wouldn’t pick up on their own to expand their perspective.
Allows for independence! Audiobooks provide a means for children to explore books on their own.
Do kids just listen or follow along with the text?
Both are excellent options and have benefits! Try it both ways and see if the child has a preference. But also occasionally encourage them to do whichever way they don’t prefer so they can expand their comfort zone a bit!
When to use audiobooks and read-alouds?
The best thing about these books is you can incorporate them into ANY part of your day! Of course there are great time during a school routine that you can fit in audiobooks. But there are countless opportunities to use them during “non-school” times like car rides, during a mealtime, quiet times (and yes, many kids can sit and listen as well as draw, color, or do another manual dexterity activities like building blocks while listening), or before bed. But they are also great as part of your curriculum! There are so many great books that support and enrich any subject-- history, science, social sciences, English, and more.
Where to find great audiobooks and read alouds?
Check out your local library for audiobook options that you can check out or play online for free. YouTube, Amazon, and Audible are also great spots to find audiobooks! (Bonus Tip: you can find a 30-day free subscription to Audible on our Reading Resource page!) Other sites provide free audiobooks as well!
Some of our favorites include: