Elizabeth Kennedy, Guide to Children's Books, praises kids' audio books for improving listening, comprehension and vocabulary skills as well as teaching correct pronunciation.
But what I love about them is how they light a spark in a child's mind. Kids may want to read more of an author or really delve into a new subject introduced by audio book.
Kids' Audio Books by AgeNote: For all but the youngest listeners, who probably need adult interaction to keep interest in the story, headphones are recommended to keep distractions at bay.
Toddlers and PreschoolersSome may have trouble sitting still long enough to listen, but this will vary by personality. At this age, it works best to play the audio book aloud and listen along as you work, so you can ask questions, make comments and engage them more deeply in the story.
Pre-Readers and New ReadersKids' audio books build excitement about reading for this age. Learning to read is a lot of work, and the books that they are able to read at first are not all that intellectually stimulating. Listening to a short novel is more satisfying, and it builds comprehension skills and concentration before they can even read. Many of the audio books for this level include picture books that they can follow along with.
Elementary School Age ReadersWhile these kids can read independently, that doesn't mean they'll always want to. A mix of reading and listening to audio books lets them expand their horizons further than just reading alone. For kids who have trouble with reading, audio books allow them to keep up with the books their peers are reading.
Tweens and Teens
Audio books are a good way to get these kids to expand the scope of their literary taste. While you may want them to read the classics, listening to them could be a good compromise. Also this is a good way to introduce non-fiction or new authors.
Where to Find Audio Books for Kids
- Your local library is a great source for audio books. At some libraries you can actually download from their website.
- This list includes some of our family's favorites. It spans the ages from toddlers to teens. Favorite Audio Books for Kids
- We signed up for Audible.com and downloaded a number of free books (one a month). It was so many, in fact, that we had to cancel for a while to catch up. Try Audible Now
- This list included many place to download free audiobooks. Free Audiobooks