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Listen Up: Audiobooks for Learning

Posted on April 30, 2014 at 6:00 am

by Cindy Ulrey

I’ve always loved being read to. Some of my best memories are sharing picture books on my grandma’s lap and of my mom in the front seat reading Pippi Longstocking and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my brother and I in the back while dad drove cross-country. These days families have another option to enjoy books together—audiobooks!

Listening to audiobooks isn’t “cheating.” Research over the last few decades has shown audiobooks can be of great educational value! Here are just a few of the benefits of listening to audiobooks:

  • Improved comprehension
  • Increased vocabulary
  • Improved listening (a valuable skill in today’s job market)
  • Readers enjoy books above their reading level, including those being read by their peers
  • Authentic accents and local music provide an entry into other cultures
  • Dramatic narration, sound effects, and music draw in reluctant readers
  • ESL students learn proper pronunciation
  • Struggling readers follow along and better recognize unfamiliar words when they see them

All that and they’re entertaining, too!

There are lots of great audiobooks for kids to choose from. Not sure where to start? Try an award-winning audiobook! The American Library Association’s Odyssey Awards are given each year to the best audiobook produced for children and young adults. And The Audies name best production for children ages up to 8, 8-12, and teens.

These days audiobooks come in a variety of formats from picture books packaged with CDs, to books on CD, to Playaways (single books pre-loaded onto MP3 players), to digital files from Tumblebooks, Tumblebookcloud Jr., and OverDrive that can be easily downloaded to computers, smartphones, tablets, and MP3 players.

All of these formats can be borrowed for free from your local public library, so why not check one out today?

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