Reading is beneficial for all age groups. It provides a lot of benefits such as learning knowledge, improving concentration, mental stimulation, etc. But for a young child who does not know alphabet yet, reading himself/herself is not possible and listening is an alternative option.
For parents, reading a picture book to a young child is highly recommended. As an alternative, audio book is also a powerful option. When a child listens to an audio book after observing a picture book, he or she can correlate the visual images from the book and ‘the words/ sentences/ songs’ from the audio book. Repeated listening will empower its positive effects. The benefits of young children’s audio book will be explained herein.
Benefits of audio book
Young children’s audio book is becoming more popular in recent years. Parents began to aware that it is a great learning tool and highly effective. Let’s check how audio books benefit children.
- Most likely, the narrator of a book is a gifted actor. While reading, he or she put emotions into the reading with accurate pronunciation, punctuation and accent. Also, children can hear correct speech patterns and rhythms. Children can learn these ideal features either consciously or subconsciously. They can also learn correct sentence structures.
- Listening to audio books is helpful for expanding vocabulary of a child. Mary Beth Crosby Carroll, a reading specialist at the Children’s School in Brooklyn, NY, once indicated that “Following along visually while listening can enhance word-recognition ability, while listening alone can expand vocabulary”.
- While listening, children will be attentive to the story & learn subconsciously how to hold people’s attention.
- Children’s imagination can be improved. Through repeated listening, their imagination will keep expanding.
- Children can listen to audio books with less limitation or restriction. For example, they can listen to it in a car during long journeys.
- Children can easily try more difficult books beyond their current level. Step-by-step challenge can be tried without high barrier.
Recommend sites and reviews
Several sites which offer young children’s audio books are studied and reviewed. Some sites cover more general topics, but they still contain valuable materials for young children.
- LibriVox: It is a free public domain site for audio books. Extensive materials are available for free download. No sign-up or log-in is required. Main menu has two buttons: Read & Listen. Read menu is for a volunteer who want to read a book for others. Listen menu contains a catalogue of books: more than 2000 books for children on various genre such as adventure, animals, family and school. By the way, reading may not be as professional as paid contents because the readers are volunteers.
- Bookriot A lot of useful articles related to audio books are posted. You need an account for free download.
- Readbrightly There are a lot of useful information/ advice on education. Several articles on audio books are available. Some sample audio clips are also available. After creating an account, audio books can be purchased. Links to audio books for purchase include Apple, Audible.com, audiobooks.com, audiobookstore.com, Google Play Store and Libro.fm. Recommended books for age 2~4 years old include Curduroy Audiobook Collection and Don’t Let Them Disappear,
- Myboredtoddler: The site suggest useful advice/ activities for toddlers. Recommended toddler books on several categories are introduced such as family, fantasy, dinosaur, animals, Easter, Halloween and Christmas.
- Audible: On this site, one of the biggest audio book subscription service is available. You need to sign up with Amazon account for free download. After 30-day’s free trial, you need to join a subscription service ($14.95/M subscription service which include 1 audio book + 2 original is the minimum)
Recommended Audio books
The following recommended books are selected after reviewing several sources. When necessary, their contents are checked through available sites such as YouTube. I have purchased some of them for evaluation with my daughter. My personal reviews are also included if applicable.
- 16 books of Mother Goose series read by Tracey Moroney: There are two versions of audio files for each book: story & song. The pictures in the books illustrate stories effectively. My daughter listened to all of them many times. Then, when she heard a story or song, she can pick up the matching book. It means that the book’s illustration and the lyrics she listened to have been matched in her mind. Lyrics are easy to follow and enjoyable. She especially loves the lyric “And the dish ran away with the spoon” from “Hey Diddle Diddle”. She laughs at the scene where the dish and the spoon hold hands and run away.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar: It is a cute story of how a caterpillar is becoming a butterfly. It implies how precious even a little bug is. It teaches counting up to 5 and naming of weekdays. A number of fruits is also introduced.
- Curduroy: Another cute and heart-warming story about a teddy bear in a big department store. He (assumed gender) is alive when no one is around, and he tried to find a missing button on a shoulder strap. He later finds a friend (Lisa) who takes care of him and a comfortable home. The book will make children think about friend, family and home. Also, children will compare a huge bed in the department store and a petty and comfortable bed in Lisa’s room. The meaning of family, friend, home will be pondered through repeated listening.
- Don’t Let them disappear: Note: ordered and on the way. Evaluation will be followed
Audio books have a lot of benefits for children and they are highly recommended as explained above. I hope the benefits shown above are convincing to you, and your children enjoy listening to audio books. I also hope that above sites and books are helpful to your children. If you have any suggestion or advice on the related matters, please let me know. Thank you.