Finally, the vacation you’ve been waiting for arrives. You’ve packed for the family, boarded the pets and filled the tank with gas. And…after the first hour, the kids are bored. Games of '20 Questions' or state license plate counting can kill time for a while…but then what?
Enter the audiobook!
The benefits of audiobooks are many. “Audiobooks provide a great opportunity to extend the learning process while on road trips. It also creates a powerful opportunity for the whole family to engage in the experience,” says Byron Garrett, Chairman of the National Family Engagement Alliance. “For example, you can all have a discussion about various passages within the book as they are read or you could even try a flash vocabulary quiz.” "Audiobooks require kids to focus on the actual content and listen intently to keep track of the story line. That develops and enhances their cognitive skills," says Garrett.
Plus, not all readers are comfortable reading in a moving car. This way, you and your kids can experience family read-aloud with everyone contributing their thoughts on the story., and have a great time doing it.
Here'a our list of the best audiobooks for every stage.
PRE-K TO GRADE 1
1. Giraffes Can't Dance (Audiobook Read–Along) by Giles Andreae illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees
Gerald the giraffe is sure to teach your little one about the importance of being yourself. Even though Gerald loves to dance, he's embarrassed when the rest of his jungle friends laugh while he's on the dance floor. But after getting advice from a helpful friend, he gains back his confidence—and his cool dance moves!
From pigs and pancakes to a mouse and his cookie, share these stories with your child for a family read-along full of songs, recipes, and silly hijinks by a trio of unsuspected friends. Inspired by the national bestselling series, If You Give, your little ones will smile as they hear their favorite characters brought to life.
3. Pigsty (Audiobook Read–Along) by Mark Teague
Does your child have a hardtime with clean-up after a day of play? Meet Wendell Flutz and his messy room; in fact, it's a total pigsty. When this little boy thinks his room is just fine the way it is, a few pigs come to play and teach him otherwise. This read-along is the perfect tool to help teach your kids about the importance of tidying up, and the fun they can have along the way.
4. Clifford the Big Red Dog (Audiobook Read–Along) by Norman Bridwell
Who doesn't love Clifford and Emily Elizabeth? Share this classic story with your beginning readers as they read-along with simple words, perfect for early learning and sight word practice. Plus, they'll meet a big, silly dog and discover the heartwarming relationship he has with his best friend.
GRADES 2 TO 3
1. Marty McGuire (Audiobook) by Kate Messner illustrated by Brian Floca
Marty McGuire doesn't fit in with the other girls in her class. She loves frog-catching at the local pond and they love to play dress-up. But one day, Marty's teacher casts her as the princess in the school play, and Marty must find a way to make the play her own — and hijinks, including a live frog, ensue. Your grade-schooler can learn about why it's okay to be different with this special story full of laughs.
2. The Adventures of Captain Underpants (Captain Underpants #1) Audio CD by Dav Pilkey
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...Captain Underpants? Introduce your child to the beloved scantily clad superhero Captain Underpants. Your elementary school reader can follow along with the iconic best friend duo George and Harold as they turn their school principal into the goofiest hero the world has ever seen.
3. The 39 Clues Book 4: Beyond the Grave (Audiobook) by Jude Watson
Does your child love adventure, mystery, and a little bit of problem solving? Give your treasure-seeker the 39 Clue series and she can join the rivalry between characters as they go to the depths of the earth to find their next important clue. Full of suspense and wonder, this story will have the whole family at the edge of their seat.
4. Third Grade Angels (Audiobook) by Jerry Spinelli illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell
What does it mean to do a good deed? Now that George is in 3rd grade, his new class teacher awards the kindest kid with a "halo" and George is determined to win it. But does being good only count if someone else is watching? Share this prequel to the beststeller Fourth Grade Rats with your children to teach them about what being good really means.
1. Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond: The Serpent's Secret - Audio CD by Sayantani DasGupta
Kiranmala is no ordinary middle schooler. When her parents disappear and demons come after her, this average 6th grader learns that she may be the Indian princess her parents always told her about. Now, Kiranmala must save her parents, her home in New Jersey, and the entire world on her own, even though a few princes come along to rescue her. Share this empowering story full of adventure with your middle grade reader for an interdimensional tale of courage.
2. Refugee - Audio CD by Alan Gratz
Acclaimed author Alan Gratz has opened up three different worlds for his readers. From Nazi Germany in the 1930s, to the Cuban revolution in the 1990s, to present-day Syria, Gratz tells the stories of three different children escaping their homelands to seek refuge. In stories full of perseverance, heartache, fear, and family, your middle schooler can learn about the acts of bravery people have taken over the years to keep their families out of harm's way.
3. Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson read by Will Patton
Does your child love history and suspense? This read follows the true story of finding John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated president Abraham Lincoln. Your advanced reader can follow the 12-day journey through Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia as real-life characters tracked down Booth. Based on the adult novel, this young-adult version is sure to thrill your reader and give insight on the presidency years ago.
4. The Traitor's Game - Audio CD by Jennifer A Nielsen
Bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen has created a kingdom full of intricate detail, suspicious characters, and a line of royalty who must be stopped. A thrilling read-aloud for advanced readers and parents alike, this story introduces brave rebels, cruel kings, and a new heroine who will leave an impression well after the book is finished.