3 Benefits of Audio Books for Kids

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For our family, trips to the library mean hauling huge bags of books home. But even though my kids love books, it doesn’t necessarily mean they love reading. I wanted my older ones, especially, to move on from looking and do more reading.

One discovery that we made was the usefulness of audio books. I never thought much of them, but one of the books we borrowed from the library had an audio CD included with it. One of my kids pulled it out, and asked if we can “watch the movie.”

I explained to them that it wasn’t a movie, but they were still curious, so I played the CD, having low expectations based on their short attention span. Surprisingly, they listened. Once they realized it was the same story that we had been reading together, they grabbed the book and started following along.

Audio books certainly provide some great benefits for children. Here are just a few of them.

Enhance their reading ability

After listening to that audio book and following along in their book, my oldest was later able to pick up the book and read it on his own without the help of the CD. The practice of listening and reading the book at the same time engaged his senses, and I believe that strengthened his ability to read. He was able to get a better command of sight words. And during times when he may have been hesitant to pronounce unfamiliar words, hearing them on the CD gave him some confidence.

Expand their listening skills

A friend of mine had shared that she began using audio books to help her son with his listening skills. I had to give this a try, so I brought home C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew, complete with sound effects [affiliate link]. I played the CD while the kids were playing in their room. At first, they were confused. “How am I gonna understand if I can’t see what’s happening?” was the initial protest. But, it wasn’t long before they got into the story.

This is also great way to start your children off with chapter books. After we listened to the CD version, I began reading from the actual book copy of The Magician’s Nephew [affiliate link]. The story was already familiar to them, and they were used to hearing the story without the visual aids.

Enlarge their imagination

Books, as opposed to movies, enlarge one’s imagination. How many times have you watched a movie version of your favorite novel, only to be disappointed because the movie just didn’t measure up to what your mind imagined?  TV can put a child’s mind in a more dull, passive state.  But a good audio book will help a child’s imagination soar.

Has your child ever used audio books?

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Click here for more information on my disclosure.

 

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35 thoughts on “3 Benefits of Audio Books for Kids

  1. My son is only 1, so I just read to him, but audio books are wonderful. I talk kindergarten and there’s a great book called The Daily 5 and one of the components is reading audio books. The kids like it because they can feel independent, but also can listen to the story. It’s a WAY better option than TV.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I tell my clients all the time to do this to encourage reading comprehension, short term memory and tracking skills. Sometimes, they do it but often they don’t.

    1. My child with auditory processing disorder is challenged by those areas you mentioned: reading comprehension, short term memory, etc. It’s great that you are recommending it to your clients. No one, in all the therapy settings we’ve been in, ever recommended it to us. It was a happy “accident” to find that CD in that library book. And, seasoned homeschooling moms that I’ve talked to suggested the audio books.

  3. A great post. And what a good idea. My husband and I use audio books on long road trips. His listening skills are much better than mine as I tend to zone out without even knowing it. You give several compelling reasons for starting kids on audio books young. Thanks!

    1. That’s how it is with me and my husband too! I feel like I have to concentrate more when I’m only using my sense of hearing.

  4. I haven’t really seen the value in audio books at all, but your success with your kids and the points you raise have me fairly sold on the idea. Will have to try them out for sure!

    1. I hear ya! I thought the same way about audio books. But when I saw how it affected my kids, especially one of them (who has auditory processing disorder), I couldn’t deny the benefits. Some people are more visual in their learning style, but listening to an audio book, especially an audio drama, can strengthen what they are weaker in. Hope you get a chance to try! Libraries are a good way to start, just to see if your kids even like it.

  5. This is awesome! We are planning a car trip sometime next year and audio books might just be the ticket for those stretches where everyone declares they’re bored. Haha! Thanks for the idea!

    1. Hope it works out! For young kids, I would recommend an audio drama, like the one I mentioned in my post. It’s fun for kids to hear the dialogue, different voices, and sound effects.

    1. It might work for her. I’ve used an audio drama, rather than just a straight read-through of a book, so it’s more exciting for little ones to listen to. And, I would recommend playing the CD while your child is doing other things, like coloring or playing in their room.

  6. OH MY GOODNESS! I was going to write a post about this myself! We have been listening to so so many audio books lately. It makes car rides, trips, and life so much easier. Plus, it’s valuable! Love this post! Amen!

    1. Great minds think alike! 🙂 I hope you still get to write the post. I would love to see some of your recommendations.

  7. I love audio books, or just audio stories. My children have grown up on Adventures in Odyssey! We’ve listened on trips also. My 12 yo son listens to audio stories as he falls asleep. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Hmmm. I can consider this option. I am very visual as most of us are and honestly, I get distracted by audio books. Hehehe, but it’s really just me! Because my husband is sooo into them. I’d even use the PC to surf the net while he would just play an audio book in the background. Great to know it works best for your kids. I’m gonna try that with my son too and we’ll see if he’s into it. 🙂

    1. I’m the same way. I feel like if I want to get something out of the audio book, I have to just sit there and listen and do nothing else. But then, I get restless because I think I should be doing other things. My kids took to the audio books in the opposite way. You might want to give it a try with your son since you had mentioned that you had concerns about his language development. The auditory processing and the language development are all connected. My child, with auditory processing disorder, really improved with the use of audio books and other things that strengthened his auditory abilities.

  9. Never tried them; I guess our kids just took to reading straight away. But we do recommend these types of resources (along with movies) for our English students. Not too many follow through, but those that do report good progress! I’m sure this could be a good tool for audio learners. Great post, Ai!

    1. I found this to be great tool for at least one of my kids, who is not an audio learner. It really strengthened auditory skills that were lacking before. It’s amazing how our brains function! Thanks for your comment, Sheila!

  10. It’s a great point that audiobooks are a healthy substitute for TV/video, rather than a substitute for reading. They are a way for a child to hear a book he can’t read yet, when a parent is not available to read to him. (My 9-year-old is now reading to himself many of the chapter books I read to him when he was younger, which proves to me that having heard them read increases rather than decreases the desire to read them himself.)

    My uncle made audiobooks for me when I was little by choosing some picture books and reading them aloud into a tape recorder, then mailing me the books and tape. It was extra special because it was my uncle reading me the story, even though he lived far away and was able to read to me in person less than once a year. Later I recorded some books for my younger cousins.

    My son also enjoys storytelling CDs and records that don’t have a book. Although they don’t help him practice reading, they do give auditory attention practice and memory practice: Can you remember where the woodcutter found the second feather? Do you know all the words of the magic rhyme?

    1. Thanks for your input! One of my kids has auditory processing disorder, and I see it as a great help. Even if a child doesn’t have this challenge but may be more of a visual or kinesthetic learner, listening to these types of CDs can strengthen the auditory abilities.

    1. Love the library! We never would’ve been able to financially get through homeschooling without such a great resource.

    1. I love audio dramas because it really sparks the imagination. When the kids and I were listening to one, they were excitedly talking about it as if they were there in the story. Thanks for hosting the SHINE blog hop! I’ve been enjoying taking part in it.

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