What makes them great:
1. They’re super easy
No need to carry around a big clunky book. Pop one in when you’re on the road or while you cook together. Have your child listen while she cleans her room or helps with the dishes.
2. They can beef up your little one’s reading skills
Following along visually while listening can enhance word-recognition ability, while listening alone can expand vocabulary, according to Mary Beth Crosby Carroll, a reading specialist at The Children’s School in Brooklyn, NY.
3. They allow your child to “read” more difficult books
She’ll be able to delve deeper into complicated topics and listen to better-quality books than she might find at her own level. That exposure strengthens comprehension skills, particularly for children who have reading difficulties, says Crosby Carroll.
4. There’s no stigma
Struggling readers are often reluctant to read below their level for fear of being picked on. With audiobooks, nobody has to know what they’re listening to.
5. They’re fun!
Well-done readings give the story a more concrete sense of drama. We love Jim Dale’s Grammy Award–winning narration of the Harry Potter series and Stockard Channing’s indignant Ramona the Pest.
Where to find them:
We’re fans of Audible.com. In addition to buying books one at a time, you can become a subscriber to access free content and receive credits toward books. Check out the reviews there for audiobook-specific info. Most audiobooks can also be bought wherever you normally buy books. And don’t forget your local library! To borrow digital files, you may need to download a free app, usually the OverDrive Media Console. Some even have books on mini iPod-like players — always a hit with kids.