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Reading can be supported in so many ways with traditional books, ebooks, and audiobooks. All children benefit from being read to or reading daily. This consistent exposure to vocabulary, rich texts, new worlds, and letters accumulate over time, developing literacy and language skills.
Here are three different services that allow you to download stories directly to your smartphone, tablet or computer and listen at your convenience.
Overdrive partners with public libraries and schools throughout the country to allow patrons to borrow audiobooks for free. Their easy to use app Libby can be added to your phone or iPad. These books are borrowed and have a due date, though they are automatically returned, so you don’t have to worry about any overdue fines. When they are returned, the audiobooks are no longer available for listening on your device. Just like the library, you can place an audiobook “on hold,” and it can be downloaded to your device as soon as it becomes available.
Audible is a monthly subscription service that provides users with a specific number of monthly downloads, depending on what plan is purchased. Once the books are in your library, they are yours to keep. Books of all genres for all ages are available through this service.
Skybrary is produced by PBS’s Reading Rainbow and geared towards children ages 2-9. This paid subscription service provides users with stories in digital and audio formats. A child is able to read the story independently, listen to the story, or read along.
Why try audiobooks?
- Audiobooks can support children’s different learning styles. They can help a child who is new to chapter books with verbal reinforcement as reading stamina increases.
- The narration and voices are cool. When authors like Mary Pope Osbourne of the Magic Tree House series or Louis Sachar of The Wayside School series read their own stories aloud, listeners are treated to the story straight from the author. Some audiobooks use professional voice over actors and others use familiar actors, like David Hyde Pierce reading The Phantom Tollbooth.
- Audiobooks make good use of time spent in the car going on a road trip, zipping to school, practices and lessons. This allows multiple family members to be engaged in the same story, providing conversation points.
- Listening to audiobooks provides children with the opportunity to hear a fluent reader. The narrator reads the story at a steady pace smoothly, which is a model of how we want children to read aloud.
Go ahead, explore the world of reading through audiobooks!