Audio books are becoming more and more popular as people with no time to sit down and read a book take advantage of iPods and MP3 players to listen to the latest bestseller as they rush through their daily lives. Where is the place of audio books for kids though, at a time when we are struggling to promote literacy for all and encourage kids to read?
Theycan work very well alongside printed books for kids that have grasped the basics of reading but need to develop vocabulary. They can sit down with the printed book and follow the text as they listen to it being read on a CD or MP3 download.
Not only does the reading aloud bring the story to life, at a time when slowness of reading skills can frustrate children when they are trying to make out a plot line, but it means that they can cope with more complicated vocabulary than they might otherwise be able to. Hearing a book read aloud teaches them the correct pronunciation of words that might otherwise be hard to work out from the complexities of English spelling.
By listening to the same story over and over as children love to do, they can memorize it and will suddenly find that they can actually ‘read’ the printed book with the help of their memory. This soon translates to real reading as word recognition increases.
Of course if parents have time to read aloud to their children this is invaluable in developing a love of reading, but today when we are hard-pressed to find the time for more than a quick bed-time story, audio books give us another way of satisfying our children’s demand for more stories and give them the love of good books and the motivation to learn to read themselves. I don’t think that they should replace reading to your children, nothing can be better than snuggling up to Mom or Dad on the sofa, but they can supplement reading time when Mom or Dad are too busy to sit still!.
Another perfect way to use them for kids is on long car journeys. Take along a few favorite audio books as MP3 downloads and as long as each child has his own MP3 player you can get through hours of tedious driving with barely a complaint!
I really do recommend that each child should have their own system though. If you expect them to use the car CD system you’ll end up listening to endless squabbles over what to listen to next. Either that or you’ll be screaming with boredom as they repeat the same favourite story for the ninety-ninth time!
The huge range of books available as audio books, from Harry Potter to Roald Dahl, means that there is something for each age group and endless variety, from the classics like Winnie the Pooh and the Narnia series to the latest Philip Pullman.
If you want to build up a collection of kids’ audio books in an affordable way consider joining an online audio book club, where for a reasonable monthly fee you can download one or more books every month, according to your membership plan. Your only problem will be in resisting the enticing books on offer for adults and heading over to the kids’ section!