Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Making the Most of Audio Books for Your Grade School and Middle School Children

If you have been following my blog for any length of time you may have noticed that I have been missing for a while.  I started a new job this year as a half time Grade School Librarian half time Para Educator.  I love it but had no idea how busy being a librarian could be! 

I really enjoyed sharing the importance of reading and encouraging parents to raise readers.  So, today I am covering a reading topic that I thought parents might want to know more about:  Audio Books and how to make the most of them as a reading tool for your grade school and middle school children.

  1. They are free or affordable. Many local libraries offer Audio books, so check out your audio book choices on both their website and the libraries digital reading site using reading application they suggest.  Many schools use sites like Tumble Books for their students and you can continue to use this site over the summer.  Libraries and school subscriptions offer free options.  You can also look for free trials through sites like Amazon.  Or, you can get a paid subscription that the whole family can use too, making this option affordable for some.
  2. They foster more reading.  This is a fabulous way to engage the first time chapter book child, or the tween who has begun to consider video gaming and friends more fun than reading.  For my boys, I would get the first book in a series on audio and the second book from our local library. Once they heard a few chapters,  they were hooked and read the rest of the series themselves.  Audio books can be the perfect way to engage your child in a summer reading program too.
  3. Easy Access.  When life gets busy with activities, sports, travel and more, you can download an audio book any place you have wifi or use your data at any time of day.  My local library Sycamore Public library uses the app OverDrive and Online Media of Northern Illinois Libraries.  You can also listen directly from your computer for devise by visiting their website and clicking on the e-audio book link (see photo at the top for example).  So, use this tool when your library is closed to prep for the next days reading!
  4. Provide Comfort and Sooth.  These are great for the overnight in a strange place, or to quite a child!  This was one of my go to's with a wound up toddler and vacation bedtime.
  5. Size Doesn't Matter:  well to your child anyway.  If you have a child who shies away from large or long books like "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince," audio books are a great tool. I can say that some audio book files downloaded from your library are downloaded in sections because they can be big, but in your child's perception this is not a "long" book.
  6. Productive:  audio books can help them get books read for school projects or reading groups. Our local school district has a Battle of the Book competition that requires student to read the Blue Stem award books.  This year that list includes 20 books.  So, audio books for road trips can help a child get through a large number of books without feeling overwhelmed by the number! Which brings up my next point...
  7. Portable:  Audio books take up less space for vacations.  These are perfect for road trips when your child can't read in a car without getting nauseous.  I love how this results in great discussions about the book we listen to, and books that we have read we all might like!
  8. They're Fun!  The actors and authors add a depth that will have your child loving books and wanting more!
So, audio books are like many other tools and can be used for good or bad.  Make choices that foster more reading, and life long reading habits in your child.   


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