- Books, Literature, and Writing
Kids LOVE Audiobooks
What sounds do kids make when they listen to an audiobook? All is quiet and peaceful.
Audiobooks are mesmerizing, thrilling, tear-jerking, thought provoking, thoroughly entertaining.
Listen in the car or with earphones. Rainy day playtime becomes calm and happy with an audiobook playing in the background. Sibling rivalries fade away as the story consumes the room.
Appreciate books on a new level by listening, just like enjoying a live play or a concert.
These are some of our family favorites.
Photo courtesy of www.lowvilleacademy.org
Short stories on CDs are great for those daily car trips or play times. - My favorites come with music in the background.
We drove my kids to different schools across town, so we spent considerable time in the car. I chose to listen to these CDs primarily for the cranky twins in the back seat. My sixth grade son was old enough to appreciate the fact that they weren't fighting, so he didn't complain. Later in the year, my son had a writing assignment to write his own fable. His teacher was amazed at his colorful tale. My son said he got his ideas from all of the fables we had been listening to in the car on the way to and from school. And here I had been using the short stories to calm my younger girls...
"The simple act of listening to a story has a powerful impact on a child's literacy skills. If you have a child who is struggling to understand what he is reading, using audiobooks in conjunction with their daily reading practice could actually improve their ability to remember what the story is about, and help them internalize the meaning."
-Audiobooks Help to Improve your Child's Literacy (LINK below.)
Written Words Come Alive!
Sometimes authors read their own stories. Other stories are read by famous actors.
Eric Idle was an English actor in the movie, "Monty Python". He read "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." with amazing flair. And his accent...wow!
Denzel Washington narrated the short story "Anansi" in the Rabbit Ears series, complemented by beautiful African music and drums.
Shel Silverstein read and SANG his poetry from "Runny Babbit." It is tempting to dance a jig while listening.
E.B White read his own book, "Charlotte's Web", every character coming to life with his voice.
Beverly Cleary also read her own Ramona novels. She gave a lovely talk about her writing process at the end of the stories. (Her picture is courtesy of the Falk School.)
Mary Pope Osbourne reads all of her "Magic Tree House" audiobooks, giving Annie and Jack their own special personalities.
These books just come alive like a play performed on a stage. I hope you enjoy these audiobooks as much as my family does.
Family Vacation Exhaustion - The "Magic Treehouse" audiobook saves the day.
Recently I went on a "family" vacation with my 6 year-old twins to visit Grandma and Grandpa. We had just started reading the series, "The Magic Tree House" out loud to them at the beginning of summer vacation. We were also reading the series "in order" so we could solve the mysteries. It was quite a project to find the next book at the library. We didn't want to purchase all fifty! We were were overjoyed to find that the library had them to check out both in paperback and on the Kindle.
My girls were hungry for more "Magic Tree House"- crying "Read, read, read!" This is a great feeling, of course, having your children BEG to hear a book. But alas, on a family vacation, parental units tend to become exhausted. Grandma, bless her heart, pre-ordered the audiobooks of the "Magic Tree House" 36-40 at her library. We popped those CDs in, gave the girls some crayons and coloring books, and immediately crashed for an afternoon nap. Again, at bedtime, when the kids were bouncing and adult patience was running low, in went the CD. The lights were dimmed, and the little bodies were horizontal on the beds, mesmerized by the words.
So why buy audio CDs when they are at the library? Well, the books are not always at the library. Grandma had to order them from another library branch and hope they would arrive soon. Also, the most popular audiobooks often have scratches. Unfortunately, we couldn't listen to the end of "Magic Tree House" #39 because the disk kept skipping. (Wow, the girls were mad.) We got the hard copy the next day, and all was good in the world again. Phew.
We buy the classic audiobooks that we absolutely adore. I have compiled a list of the All-Time great audiobooks, which we have listened to again and again. These have appealed to my son and daughters- and to any adults in the vicinity.
Audiobooks Help Learning
- Using Audiobooks to Boost your Child's Reading
This article explains how audiobooks help reading.
- Developing Reading Skils, Literary Benefits of Listening
Why do teachers set up reading stations with audiobooks in their classrooms?
We LOVE Roald Dahl. Charlie Bucket got us to the airport. - Roald Dahl inspired Grandpa to write a book!
Grandpa was driving us back to the airport at 5am (dark o'clock) after a wonderful 2 week vacation. The kids were cranky and sleepy, but not sleeping. We had two airplane flights to get home. I really didn't want the kids to sleep in the car this early in the day. I was hoping for in-flight napping.
So I brought out my favorite audio CD, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl. While we watched the sun rise out of the car windows, we were transported to the land of Charlie Bucket. Even my son, the ever critical "tweener" was silent. At one point, Grandpa whispered under his breath, "This is really good writing." We arrived at the airport just as Charlie found the Golden Ticket.
Now Grandpa is the type of guy who enjoys a quiet breakfast while listening to NPR. Amazingly, after dropping us at the airport, Grandpa drove back to a his quiet house and listened to the whole "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" audiobook AGAIN from the beginning. They both thought they had read the book to us as children, but couldn't remember the story at all.
Grandpa happens to be a published writer himself. He was so inspired by "Charlie" that he wrote his first chapter book for children in the following week. Wow, audiobooks can be powerful. I'll let you know when Grandpa's book is published. (wink.)
I can't stop thinking about certain relatives in my family when listening to this book. I think this audiobook is better than the movie.
Even though the book is about a "Big Friendly Giant", my more sensitive daughter doesn't like listening to it. My other kids love it.
My all time favorite. Love this.
Remember Eric Idle from Monte Python? He is the Best narrator for this story. Nails it.
Narrative Stories about Composers
I love all of these amazing musical stories.
"Beethoven Lives Upstairs" is one of my all time favorites. The story is told from the point of view of Beethoven's young nephew. It is both heartwarming and heart wrenching. Your kids will remember Beethoven forever as a person, not just a composer.
"Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery" and "Bach Comes to Call" are also stories about the composers' lives.
My all time favorite audiobook. Ever. I will never tire of it. Moves me every time. LOVE this.
Have you ever listened to an audiobook?
Young Children Love the Classics
"They (Audiobooks) are also a wonderful way to introduce young children to literature that is too difficult for them to read, like many of the Classics. Waiting until a child is old enough to read some of the Classics can be a mistake. Children have to learn to appreciate well-written literature while they are young, before their minds get used to the easy "candy" on the bookshelf.-Audiobooks Help to Improve your Child's Literacy (LINK Above.)
Children's Classics for Younger Kids
Children's Classics are great to own on CD because you can listen again and again and not get bored. Even though they are called "children's classics", adults love listening too. These audiobooks can bring family together while coloring, doing a puzzle, or building with blocks.
This book may be one of the best audiobooks of all time just because E.B. White does such an amazing job of personalizing each character.
Most people know Beverly Cleary for her "Ramona" stories, but this series is just as imaginative and endearing. Boys will be mesmerized.
This is a classic which is not as well known as other books. This book makes a great first read aloud for children as young as 4. The cute pictures and animal characters appeal to boys and girls.
Children's Classics for Older Kids
Better than the movies? Yep, I think so, but have your kids compare. Even if they already saw the movie, they will be interested in comparing details to the book. Was anything left out of the plot in the movie? Were the characters different in the book? Or if they haven't seen the movie, make listening to the audiobook a prerequisite. The movie could be a celebration.
Finally if your child is doing a book report for homework, listening to the audiobook could help get them interested, or reinforce the reading they did by themselves.
I put this in the "older" kids reading, although I suppose some younger children could deal with the themes of loss. There is a bit of violence too.
These books are amazing. Kids can listen to them many times and not get bored. I think the first book is the best.
Links about Audiobooks
- Audio Homeschool
Squidoo Genius, Jimmie, has a lens describing the benefits of learning with Audiobooks. She also has links so you can buy the MP3 version, or get it for free.
These audiobooks are great for kids who are struggling to free themselves from videogames. if you start them on the audiobook for Book 1, chances are they will pick up and read the rest of the series in hard copy. All of these books are considered "cool".
I consider all of these books just as entertaining as adult literature. Sometimes I think these young adult novels have better plots, only because the authors are forced to leave out the sex, violence and gore which are so prevalent in adult best selling novels.
Shucks, kids might even be learning a tiny bit of Greek mythology in this series.
This is a survival/adventure story which reads like a thriller. Gary Paulsen doesn't have a sequel, but his other books are just as good. This whole genre is great for boys "who don't like girl books".