Kids and Audio Books

reading1For me it is clear that audio books are simply part of the equation when it comes to consuming literature. We have read stories to our 4-year-old since she was a few days old, but we also buy her audio books. These are often on CD (how old fashioned), but now more often tablet apps. Audio books provide an additional richness, as they often have great reading voices. Kids don’t always want Mum or Dad reading.

We buy audio books because they offer additional variety and flexibility, especially when your child cannot yet read on his/her own. To illustrate the point, we have a 1-year-old as well. Sometimes we cannot stop everything and read to our 4-year-old. 1-year-old children have their own schedule and care little about anyone else’s. Enter the audio book!

My daughter is already reading individual words, so she’ll be reading simple books soon. However, audio books provide another avenue to help her progress. If she is listening to slightly more complex books in audio format, even better. An audio book that complements a written book is brilliant, too. She will effectively begin to teach herself, which allows her to progress at her own pace and attempt more complex and interesting titles.

My daughter will read and be a reader; I have no doubts about that. She loves books, in whatever format. She has all the CS Lewis, Roald Dahl, Tolkien and Pullman books, as well as various classics like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins and Watership Down–for when she is ready. Her pre-school titles are too long to list. I am currently reading to her The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe … her choice, not mine!

Additionally, video is perfectly fine when combined with traditional, audio books, and all otherreading2 book formats. It just adds another dimension. I remember covering character studies in English literature, and distinctly recall watching “Kes”, but not reading “A Kestrel for a Knave”.  Surely the point is to allow any learner the chance to enjoy the richness of multiple formats delivering the same, similar, or unique content. Let’s not forget, the printed page was ground breaking once, too.

About the author: Iain Home is a UK father, student of education trends, and an international marketing strategist for Promethean.

Iain Home

Iain Home is a UK father, student of education trends, and an international marketing strategist for Promethean. Iain is also a regular columnist at Connect Learning Today.
5 Comments on this post.
  • Emma
    13 August 2013 at 3:58 am -

    Fascinating article. My four year old daughter is enjoying an Enid Blyton favourite, ‘The Enchanted Forest’ at the moment which brings back memories of reading it myself as a child. We tend to use story CDs in the car (Paddington Bear is a common request!) but reading this article made me think that we should be using audio books more – especially ones where she could follow the text to develop reading skills.

    • Iain Home
      Iain Home
      16 August 2013 at 7:14 am -

      Emma, for me as a parent, it is just encouraging to hear of other parents who are still taking the time to read regularly to their children.

      About two years ago I remember hearing a news bulletin stating that 1 in 3 children do not own a book in the UK. I find that really sad.

      I think this is where audio books can potentially have another positive impact by converting a non-reader (they choose not to read books as opposed to not being able to actually read books) into a reader.

      If things had developed differently and audio books were the norm and printed books were the more recently introduced media, I would still be championing the “variety” argument.

      Now is probably not the correct time to mention comic books as a credible source of literature but I have gone and done it anyway!

      And for me personally (and possibly selfishly), this is another blog “breaking its duck”. Thanks for adding to the article and providing an additional perspective.

      • Christine Post
        19 August 2013 at 9:34 am -

        I had a great idea a few years back to buy all my nieces and nephews a “special book” for Christmas from their Aunt Chrissy. I would write a note inside, they would certainly cherish forever. After spending hours in the book store making certain everyone had the “perfect book,” I couldn’t wait for the big day. For Lauren was the Magic School Bus……much to my dismay, my gifts were met with tears. Certainly a book didn’t count as a present. How was that fair? Okay, so now I knew what the true gift needed to be. After taking Lauren out to buy lipstick (which btw does count), we packed a picnic lunch and went to the beach and YES, read the Magic School Bus. In short, don’t give up if you’re not met with immediate enthusiasm.

  • Paul Awtrey
    9 September 2013 at 5:49 pm -

    I wanted to share my love of Harry Potter with my niece. We made a special trip to the book store to buy HP1 and read it together. We would read a few chapters and watch the movie, just to give her the sense of expectation. She has now finished HP2. This weekend, we went to the book store together and bought HP3, took a picnic to the park, and started reading. I hope this lasts all the way through HP7 and then into C S Lewis- Chronicles of Narnia.

    • Iain Home
      Iain Home
      12 September 2013 at 9:33 am -

      How old is your niece? I was worried about the Harry Potter books being too long for my daughter and thought she might not have the attention required so I went with the CS Lewis Narnia books first due to the shorter length of each book. Harry Potter will get read at some point but that might just be me wanting to read them rather than my kids! Guilty pleasure!