Listening to audiobooks for children

by Victoria Bennion

Why am I listening to audiobooks for children? Well, the almighty Stephen King said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” So, in January I set myself a target to read 52 books this year.

Stephen King Quote

In sticking to my goals I’ve found listening to audio books essential because they mean I can fit in extra reading while I’m getting ready in the morning, in the car, on the train or doing chores around the house. In fact, I feel quite twitchy if I don’t have an audiobook on the go now – like I’m wasting valuable reading time.

Girl wearing headphones

Where do you find audiobooks for children?

We have a subscription to audible which has a great selection of audiobooks for children. I often purchase audiobooks from iTunes as well and buy CDs for car journeys. The cost of audiobooks can vary quite a lot between different providers so it’s worth making a quick comparison. There are also some sites where free audio books are available.

The Girl of Ink and Stars

The current audiobook I’m listening to is the beautiful Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. I didn’t have enough audible credits when I wanted to buy it. I found it on iTunes for £6.95 when it was £15.39 on Amazon.  

I typically listen to more biographies or instructional writing books on audio but it depends what I’ve got coming up and what’s at the top of my reading list but they’re a great way of fitting more books into your schedule.

Audiobooks for children – The benefits

The magic faraway tree

And of course audiobooks for children are perfect for their intended audience too. I read to my children every day but find audio books add another dimension to reading. My daughter still gets a bit anxious at bedtime and so often listens to them for a few minutes before she goes to sleep to relax. She recently listened to the Magic Faraway Tree over and over again and then progressed to the first Harry Potter. It helped develop her interest in the rest of the Harry Potter series.

The Julia Donaldson Collection

Some books are meant to be read aloud. We have the Julia Donaldson Collection on CD which we listen to to and from Pre-school. My son’s favourite is The Gruffalo’s Child. We’ve worn out the physical book but he still likes to listen to it as well and especially enjoys the bonus Gruffalo’s Child song by Imelda Staunton. This is another good thing about audio books – the added music and sound effects which help to keep children engaged.

Listening to audio books helps to develop a child’s listening skills as well as improving their speaking. This is an area my son has struggled with and through repetition of listening to the rhymes and practising along in the car it’s definitely helped his development.

Boy with books

Sometimes we play books meant for slightly older middle grade readers on journeys. The children enjoy the Roald Dahl Audio Collection in a tin. We’ve found  it's something the whole family can enjoy.  If my daughter was trying to read a Roald Dahl book by herself she’d find some a bit difficult at the moment but she can enjoy the story when it’s on audio and listen for longer than she could read it.

So there are some of the benefits of audiobooks. Enjoy!

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