Sometimes getting children to read is tricky.
In the beginning, they convince you they’ll be diehard readers for life. You buy ALL the books. You take them to your local library so they can pick out reading material that interests them.
By the time they hit middle school, they spend more time on video games, Youtube, and TikTok than they do on books.
You’ve tried everything to get them to read again.
Have you considered introducing them to audiobooks? Audiobooks 100% count as reading (with your ears)!
There are many benefits of audiobooks for kids of all ages. Read on for the skinny on just five of the advantages of “talking books” for kids…
Audiobooks help kids listen to books at a higher level than they can read on their own.
Reluctant and struggling readers grow frustrated when reading doesn’t come easily to them. Add the academic pressure to succeed to the mix, and you have the perfect storm.
When I volunteered to help build fluency with emergent readers at my kids’ elementary school, I witnessed this firsthand.
The younger reader and I would sit in the hallway, away from all distractions, at a tiny table built for two. As the child attempted to read, I pointed out letters and words.
At least 50% of the time, the child became discouraged and shut down. It was heartbreaking to watch, even as I did my best to build them up with praise.
Audiobooks allow readers to listen to material at a higher level than they can read on their own. In turn, this builds confidence and fluency.
Hands down, you can use audiobooks to improve your child’s reading skills. This goes for children of all ages–including middle and high schoolers.
More schools (and homes) need to incorporate audiobooks into their reading comprehension strategy. Kids with reading challenges like dyslexia benefit from simultaneous listening and reading. Listening helps children who have ADHD as well.
But for the most part, American schools have limited students to the knowledge and vocabulary they can acquire from texts easy enough for them to read on their own. If students are going to acquire knowledge of the world and become familiar with the conventions of written language, it’s crucial for them to hear those concepts and conventions in complex text before they’re expected to understand them independently.Natalie Wexler, The Fordham Instititute
The following infographic taken from Audio Publishers Association sums up some of the ways audiobooks promote literacy:
Bonus tip: Pair an audiobook with a print copy to help build comprehension.
Audiobooks help kids with vocabulary and pronunciation.
This one sounds like a no-brainer. Right?
First of all, when you hear someone mispronounce a word, it’s usually because they learned the word by reading it.
Hearing words spoken aloud helps children with the detection of speech sounds. After all, kids learn to listen before they learn to speak.
Additionally, audiobooks promote better listening skills by requiring attention. Children hear the words and figure out meaning using auditory context clues. Audiobooks for kids benefit them by increasing literacy skills.
Bonus tip: Ask your child to watch a movie with subtitles. The act of listening and reading simultaneously helps build vocabulary and fluency.
Audiobooks tap into auditory learning.
Audiobooks are perfect for learners who take in information by listening.
Not many people know this, but I was diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) in the 5th grade.
What is APD exactly?
For me, it means my brain perceives sound differently. I have trouble filtering out background noise, and I only pick up bits of surrounding sound.
Example: In a lecture hall full of 200 students, I hear dozens of little sounds instead of the professor’s lecture. Repeated clicks of a pen. Coughs. Obsessive throat clearing. The tap of computer keys.
It can be a lot.
Gemm Learning describes undiagnosed APD in the following infographic:
The thing is—–I’m an auditory learner and take in information by hearing and listening. An auditory learner who has APD needs to work ten times harder to focus and retain new information.
As a student, I read my notes aloud to myself. In class, I made sure to sit near the front of the room where I heard the teacher better over the din of other students.
Audiobooks never crossed my mind. Isn’t that silly? Sure, they weren’t as readily available back then as they are today, but they existed.
Tap into your child’s auditory learning style by listening to books. If your child wears headphones, they can filter out background noise and distractions. Audiobooks benefit kids who learn by listening.
This is a strategy you can implement for any of your children if they learn better by hearing information rather than reading it.
Audiobooks are a fun way to engage readers.
Books have to compete with technology, especially for older readers.
Your middle or high school kiddo sits in class all day. Once school ends, they engage in extracurriculars, homework, chores, etc.
With what little downtime they have, do they read? Or do they game, scroll TikTok, and watch Youtube videos? I know what mine choose to do, and it irritates me.
Not long ago, I set my kids up with audiobooks because they have the ability to compete with technology. After all, a great audiobook is a performance.
Digital media is here to stay, and we need to adapt.
Audiobooks have the unique ability to compete other modern entertainment mediums.
If you find your tween or teen stepping away from the books, suggest they try an audiobook. It might be a whole new ballgame.
They can listen to books while they do their chores, or as they’re trying to fall asleep. They’re perfect for multi-tasking.
Audiobooks are convenient.
How many apps do your kids have on their phones? Social media. YouTube. Spotify. The list goes on and on.
In order to listen to audiobooks, it’s as simple as downloading another app on your kid’s phone.
Want to hear something cool?
You can download the Libby app on your child’s phone, connect your library card to the app, and check out audiobooks from your local library for FREE.
They are convenient!
Your children can listen in the car, while waiting for appointments, and in bed at night. Headphones block out all ambient noise.
What My Kids Say About Audiobooks…
16-year-old: “I think some kids take in information differently. Some are more auditory than others. Many kids, especially at the high school, prefer audiobooks. It’s a lot easier to digest information that way.
14-year-old: They appeal to me because you can do other stuff while you’re listening to them. Audiobooks benefit kids who prefer to multi-task.
12-year-old: Some kids aren’t as strong at reading, and this is a way to obtain the same knowledge as kids who prefer the hard copies. It’s not as hands on as reading a physical book, but it’s still productive.
10-year-old: With audiobooks, you hear the words spoken to you. For some kids, that could help them because I know many people who have trouble focusing. Even I have trouble focusing sometimes! Having it read to you makes it feel more natural, especially for younger kids who have trouble reading. Sometimes they’re read by the author of the book, which is pretty cool.
Five New Audiobooks for Middle Grade Readers
New Kid by Jerry Craft
Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.
As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?
Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo
Beverly Tapinski has run away from home plenty of times, but that was when she was just a kid. By now, she figures, it’s not running away. It’s leaving. Determined to make it on her own, Beverly finds a job and a place to live and tries to forget about her dog, Buddy, now buried underneath the orange trees back home; her friend Raymie, whom she left without a word; and her mom, Rhonda, who has never cared about anyone but herself. Beverly doesn’t want to depend on anyone, and she definitely doesn’t want anyone to depend on her. But despite her best efforts, she can’t help forming connections with the people around her — and gradually, she learns to see herself through their eyes. In a touching, funny, and fearless conclusion to her sequence of novels about the beloved Three Rancheros, #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo tells the story of a character who will break your heart and put it back together again.
Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
When Odilia and her four sisters find a dead body in the swimming hole, they embark on a hero s journey to return the dead man to his family in Mexico. But returning home to Texas turns into an odyssey that would rival Homer s original tale. With the supernatural aid of ghostly La Llorona via a magical earring, Odilia and her little sisters travel a road of tribulation to their long-lost grandmother s house. Along the way, they must outsmart a witch and her Evil Trinity: a wily warlock, a coven of vicious half-human barn owls, and a bloodthirsty livestock-hunting chupacabras. Can these fantastic trials prepare Odilia and her sisters for what happens when they face their final test, returning home to the real world, where goddesses and ghosts can no longer help them? Summer of the Mariposas is not just a magical Mexican American retelling of The Odyssey, it is a celebration of sisterhood and maternal love.
When Life Gives You Mangos by Kareen Getten
A small village on a Jamaican island.
A girl who doesn’t remember the previous summer.
A best friend who is no longer acting like one; a new girl who fills that hole in her heart.
A summer of finding fallen mangos, creating made up games and dancing in the rain.
Secrets she keeps from others…and herself.
The courage to face the truth even in the toughest of storms.
Inspired by the author’s childhood experiences, When Life Give You Mangos is a celebration of island life as well as a rich, lyrical mystery.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
In the tradition of great storytellers, from Dickens to Dahl, comes an exquisitely dark comedy that is both literary and irreverent, hilarious and deftly crafted. Never before has a tale of three likeable and unfortunate children been quite so enchanting, or quite so uproariously unhappy.
Are you made fainthearted by death? Does fire unnerve you? Is a villain something that might crop up in future nightmares of yours? Are you thrilled by nefarious plots? Is cold porridge upsetting to you? Vicious threats? Hooks? Uncomfortable clothing?
It is likely that your answers will reveal A Series of Unfortunate Events to be ill-suited for your personal use. A librarian, bookseller, or acquaintance should be able to suggest books more appropriate for your fragile temperament. But to the rarest of readers we say, “Proceed, but cautiously.”
The Benefits of Audiobooks for Kids Summary
There are many benefits of audiobooks for kids of all ages.
Five of them are:
- Audiobooks help kids listen to books at a higher level than they can read on their own.
- Listening helps with vocabulary and pronunciation.
- They tap into auditory learning.
- Audiobooks are a fun way to engage readers.
- Audiobooks are convenient.
Mix up your kid’s reading list by adding audiobooks to the mix.
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