This summer we have been living for our daily walks! We recently moved to a new neighborhood that is full of hills (READ: pushing 60lbs of children up hill….) BUT our daily walks have been a great way for us to get out of the house, explore and meet new neighbors. There is a pond on the golf course that Coleman has naturally named, “Coleman’s Pond” where he checks on his fish and geese daily. We spent the first part of the summer listening to whatever I wanted to listen to which consisted of some Podcasts (with content probably not kid friendly) or whatever was on the “Top Country” Spotify Station that day. I noticed the kids quickly loosing it about 20 minutes into our walk each day. Who knew they didn’t like True Crime podcasts?!? 🙂 I knew I had to figure out a way to extend the walk a little bit while I keep their attention…and then it hit me….
First, let me tell you why I have loved audio books aka “listening to reading” (what we called it in first grade) since I began teaching back in 2009.
5 REASONS WHY I LOVE AUDIO BOOKS
- Everyone benefits from audiobooks! Children who are still learning to read can enjoy books that are at a higher level than what they are currently working with. I’ve used audiobooks with my one year old all the way through my fourth graders that I taught.
- Develops critical comprehension skills. When children listen to books it takes away the “brain power” they spend on decoding (sounding out and saying words) and allows them spend more energy comprehending and thinking about the book.
- Builds fluency in children for when they are reading aloud. Audiobooks provide a great model for fluent reading. Children can learn how reading should sound, with voice inflections, taking on character voices, and smooth reading.
- Increases vocabulary and comprehension. Using audiobooks introduces new vocabulary and allows your children to hear the word used in context and better understand the meaning of the word.
- Invites children to use their imagination! Listening to audiobooks allows children to think about the details of the setting, characters, and events in the story. They can imagine the story based on the descriptions the author uses and allows them to think creatively.
THE BEST PLACES TO USE AUDIOBOOKS
- On walks. This is our FAVORITE time to use audiobooks. Coleman actually requests going on walks and listening to books. His current favorite is. The Bad Seed by Jory John. On our walk, so that both of my kids can hear, I attach our bluetooth Wonderboom Speaker to our stroller and play our favorite stories.
- In the car together. Since both sets of parents live about 4 hours away, we spend a lot of time in the car. We love using audiobooks to pass the time. If we have the actual paper book, we pair the book with the audiobook for the kids to follow along!
- During “quite time.” This year my now 4 year decided he just didn’t need a nap anymore. During his “quiet time” he will listen to audiobooks or watch a read aloud on Storyline Online.
- Breakfast and Lunch times! We love to listen to an audiobook while we prep for dinner or while eating breakfast or lunch. It keeps them focused on actually eating and engages the kids in the book! Win Win!
3 WAYS I ACCESS AUDIOBOOKS
There are so many different apps and ways to get audiobooks. I’m always looking for the most efficient way (both cost effective and easy to access) to play the books while we are walking or driving. Since I want to focus my attention on either driving or keeping my kids safe on our walks, the ease of playing audiobooks is most important.
- YouTube Channels – I have found some great YouTube Chanels that have books that are read aloud. These are great to watch too, but we love to use them as “audiobooks.” My favorite channels are HarpersKids, StorylineOnline, and StoryTime at Awnie’s House.
- Libby App – I use my local library card with the app Overdrive (Libby)
- Audible – Not only do I love Audible for children’s books, but it’s my favorite way to listen to “grown up” books throughout the day.
FUN IDEAS FOR AUDIOBOOKS
- Invite your children’s favorite people to record stories. Ask grandparents, friends, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. to record themselves reading their favorite book. It’s fun to see how long it takes them to figure out who the mystery reader is!
- My 4 year old has recently found some chapter books – audio books have been a great way for him to “read” the chapter books on our walks!
For more research on the benefits of audiobooks check out these articles below.