May 12, 2016

8 Reasons To Try Audiobooks with Your Child

You already know that I'm a little obsessed with audiobooks.

And my girls are hooked on them too. Ella spends almost all of her quiet time each day listening to audiobooks while she colors or paints, and Ani loves the audiobooks that come with the accompanying picture book.

A few months ago, one of my friends sent me a text saying her husband was concerned about their children listening to audiobooks and that it might be a crutch that was preventing them from developing reading skills.

Twenty impassioned texts from me later about why audiobooks are basically the best thing on earth, and she was probably regretting texting at all.

Here are eight reasons I'm a huge fan and why I think they are so beneficial for kids:

Wondering if you should try out audiobooks with your children? Here's why they're so beneficial!

  1. They can usually listen at a much higher level than they can read. Your child might be reading at a kindergarten or 1st grade level, but they can probably listen to something much more advanced (just like a kindergarten teacher might read aloud a Roald Dahl book that your kindergartener would have a hard time reading alone). 
  2. It makes reading a fun activity for kids that struggle with reading. If you're a struggling reader, it's hard to ever get to the parts of reading that are actually fun (most of us that love to read don't love it because of the decoding part . . . ), like the story itself. I love that audiobooks mean kids can have positive reading experiences even when they're struggling with their reading skills. 
  3. Audiobooks help them develop the skills for more advanced reading. Reading involves more skills than just the technical ability to sound out words, and audiobooks give kids practice in reading skills like keeping track of characters and following a story arc. 
  4. For a wiggly child, it can be easier to listen than to read. Reading is a pretty stationary activity, but with an audiobook, they can build with Legos, paint, or just run laps around the room. I remember braiding my sisters' hair endless or painting our nails while my mom read to us at night. 
  5. It can help launch independent reading. If your child listens to the first couple of books in a series, it's much easier to transfer to the paper version later on, since they are now familiar with the setting, characters, and basic format of the book. 
  6. Following along with the text while the audiobook plays helps build fluency without slowing down the story. Your child gets a lot of opportunity to see the word, move quickly through text, and practice sight words. Or just look at the pictures. 
  7. Audiobooks can teach great vocabulary. I love lots of easy readers and early chapter books, but the vocabulary usually just isn't as rich as books at a higher level. Audiobooks introduce a much wider vocabulary than books they can read on their own, and also teaches pronunciation so when they come across those words on their own later, they know what it should sound like.
  8. You can use them to spend quality time together in the car. I love listening to audiobooks as a family when we're on a road trip or just running errands. There are so many books I want to read with my girls and we'll never get through them all with me reading aloud, so this helps us share some of the other books I don't want to miss out on. 
If you haven't tried them out yet, grab one or two at your local library and give it a spin - here are some tricks for getting them started

(And if you need suggestions, here are some of our favorite audiobooks for little kids).


  1. We had a whole series of Disney stories and cassettes for my daughter when she was little (she's a couple of years older than you). She listened on her Fisher Price cassette player. They were a great way to spend quiet time in the car or in her room. As a matter of fact, I had a set of LP's with books when I was little girl.
    One additional benefit that you didn't mention was the excellent example of expressive reading provided by the readers of audiobooks.
    Like Ella, my daughter was reading fluently in preschool, so I don't think the audiobooks hindered either of their reading skills.

  2. Izzy (almost 4) recently caught the audio book bug at our house. Not only has it has transformed quiet time, but her vocabulary has EXPLODED and she's learning and retaining all sorts of amazing things (since it's Magic Tree House that she's obsessed with at the moment... ask her about the Amazon rainforest. :) I thought she was too young, but I was totally wrong!

  3. I just remembered that I was obsessed with some Famous Five and Secret Seven lps (!) when I was a child. I used to listen to them so much my mum thought I was getting an English accent :) Love this list!

  4. About 6 months ago I started checking out the picture books with CD from our local library. I was skeptical, but my 3 year old LOVES them. He asks every time we get in the car for a book and can actually follow the story and follow the page turns (with a little bit of practice). The thing I don't like though, is the constant passing books back and forth and switching CDs in my car. It's distracting. I also hate listening to the same book OVER and OVER again. But it's a small price to pay for a happy [reschooler (who's actually learning!)

  5. I heartily agree! My son always identified himself as a reader and as someone who loved books, even though he actually struggled with learning to "read". But he loved being read to, picture books through chapter books, and started listening to audio books on his own in KG or so. These helped build his story muscles.

    He ended up as a voracious reader who went straight from Ricky Ricotta to regular length novels. Reading is worthwhile in all forms.

  6. I LOVE audio books and can't wait for my daughter to be old enough to enjoy listening to audios (I really hope she'll be a reader like me :-D)

  7. The next time someone expresses that concern, you can send them this article I found: New Research Shows Audiobooks Have Powerful Impact on Literacy Development

  8. I have to thank you because you are the reason I even thought to start audiobooks with my young kids. It's only recently stuck with them, and we've been sailing through books while on our (constant) drives. Only problem is that they love, love the Curious George one we actually own and I'm rather sick of it. So, obviously, a good problem to have!

  9. Hear, Hear! If you need more reasons why audiobooks are a terrific tool for building literacy, as well as curated lists of the best in children's & young adult listening, visit the Sound Learning website:


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