Audiobooks for Children
Guest blog by author and teacher Alicia Ortego
Common wisdom says that reading is a sign of a well-rounded person – and it is hard to disagree with that. But is it necessary to read books on paper, or are audiobooks a viable alternative?
Nowadays, many people prefer listening to books instead of reading them. Some might claim that this is no substitute for reading text on the page, but researchers have found that listening to books can actually be good for you!
The Benefits of Audiobooks
They’re great to enjoy while travelling!
Playing an audiobook while on a long journey will help the time pass quickly! It gives the whole family something to listen to together, and can provide a welcome break from playing games on a tablet!
They give our eyes a holiday!
Too much reading can be had on our eyes! Reading for too long can cause eye strain, and trying to focus on a book while riding in a car causes car sickness for many people.
Listening to audiobooks can reduce stress!
According to this research, 60% of children said that reading reduced feelings of stress. Kids have become more interested in audiobooks in recent times because they provide a way for them to relax and escape into their imaginations.
Listening to stories puts us in touch with our emotions!
This University College London Study proves that listening triggers more emotions than watching movies. When listening to a book, we expend energy picturing the plot. We focus more, think about it, and get accustomed to using our imagination instead of our eyes. The more we mentally engage with it, the more compelling the story becomes to us.
After a child has listened to an audiobook, why not discuss how it made them feel? This is a good way to discuss our emotions and develop emotional literacy.
Audiobooks help develop listening skills!
This research claims that listening to books increases kids’ vocal skills by teaching them about the importance of pauses, intonation and rhythm. It can also increase vocabulary and sentence-construction skills and teach correct pronunciation of words or names that they might otherwise only see written down. (For example, when listening to Harry Potter, kids get a better idea of how to pronounce names like ‘Hermione’.)
Reluctant readers can enjoy audiobooks!
This study in the Journal of Neuroscience indicates that the brain reacts to stories in the same way if it is read or listened to! This means that children with dyslexia or poor eyesight can benefit from and enjoy books in audio format, even if they might find reading them challenging.
Tips on choosing an audiobook for your child
Children will let you know what they are interested in! If a child is crazy about action and adventure stories, you won’t necessarily be able to make them excited about fairy tales. Be open to exploring subjects that they like!
Discuss the genres your children enjoy and surf the Internet searching for page-turners (audio ones, of course). Make sure they meet these criteria:
- Good recording quality
- A clear, pleasant narrator voice
- Interesting plots
- Positive themes
By finding audiobooks that your children will engage with, you will help them develop their language and comprehension skills while they explore the magic of stories!
Alicia Ortego is a school teacher and children’s book author, who has worked with children foir more than 20 years. Her books are available on her blog: https://aliciaortego.com/books/