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Listen to Children's Story Books Online (for free!): A Link List
When I saw that the Weekly Topic Inspiration for 5/30/11 was children's books, I knew that I had to write a hub for it. Since I'd already written a young adult/children's literature recommendations hub, I decided to write a hub about some of the best free online children's storybook resources.
For computer time in my classroom, one of the most popular choices was always interactive story CD-ROMs. I've linked a few of them at the bottom of this hub. I was surprised to see how many are still available and at a very reasonable price. You can view more options by searching "living books" in the software section of Amazon. Arthur's Teacher Trouble and Harry's Haunted House were always been a particular favorites in my room, even with third and fourth graders.
Although many of the free online stories out there are not interactive, many children still enjoy them. These stories are often very well read. Children enjoy the visual that the web site provides with the narrator and/or pictures from the book. There are numerous other benefits of audio books as well. Just a few of them are outlined in this article.
Storyline Online is the first free online reading site I'd ever heard of and is still my favorite. Over the years, I have come across other great online reading sites as well. These are wonderful resources for both at home and at school. Happy reading!
Storyline Online is provided by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Foundation. SAG members read the children's books out loud. Members include a wide variety of celebrities such as James Earl Jones, Amanda Bynes, and Sean Austen. The story list continues to change and includes both older and newer titles. Currently there are about 20 titles there. Each story includes ideas for accompanying activities and lessons. There are also links for all of the titles in case you'd like to purchase hard copies.
Speakaboos.com's stories section has over 100 online stories, the majority of which are free. There are lots of fairy tales and other classic stories as well as a selection of Arthur books and Spanish titles. A handful of the stories are read by celebrities including Nick Cannon, Daisy Fuentes, and Clay Aiken. All of the stories include pictures from the original texts with accompanying text that is highlighted as the book is read out loud.
KOL Jr. Stories - Online Picture Books Read Aloud
KOL Jr. has over 30 online stories that you can stream. The stories are divided into five categories: animals, Arthur, fairy tales, family, and rhyming. Each story has pictures from the original text with words that are highlighted as they're read out loud. KOL Jr. also offers cartoons, games, music, printables, and a section for parents with health links and recipes.
Light Up Your Brain: Free Audio Stories for Kids
Light Up Your Brain offers 20 free audio stories, which range in length from 5 minutes to an hour and a half. Each story has text online (no pictures) with download links for the audio as MP3 and Zip files. One advantage of having downloadable files is that you can transfer MP3 files to your MP3 player or you can burn them on a CD. Audio stories are wonderful for car trips. Light Up Your Brain also has over 60 brain teaser games.
Between the Lions: Folk Tales and Fables
PBS's Between the Lions Stories site offers 11 free online folk tales and fables. All stories are streamed online with pictures and text that is highlighted as it's read. All of the stories are under 5 minutes long. Titles include the Ant and the Grasshopper, The Little Red Hen, and City Mouse and Country Mouse.
Storynory offers over 200 story texts (limited pictures) with audio, including lots of fairy tales and classics such as Greek myths, Knights of the Round Table, Bible stories, Robin Hood stories, and much more. The audio is offered as streaming or downloadable MP3 files. You can subscribe to their iTunes feed for free so that you can easily download and transfer their stories onto your iPod.