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Are Audiobooks Beneficial for Kids?

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A Blog For Grown-ups Helping Little Readers

Blog Article #4 January 12, 2023

Dear Mrs. Emmons,

My 5 year old son loves audiobooks and depending on how busy our day is, sometimes listens to 4+ hours of stories a day. Sometimes he lays down and listens to them and sometimes he is doing other things and it is more in the background, or sometimes it is on while we drive somewhere. Is this healthy? Is too much of a good thing a bad thing? Does he need to have more quiet time or be able to play or do other things without audiobook "noise"?


Pondering Parent

Dear Pondering Parent,

Oh my goodness! I’m so excited to hear that your child has 4+ hours access to beautiful stories! What a great experience you are allowing your family to have. I’m going to let you in on a secret- audiobooks are READING! Your child is absolutely reading when they listen to stories. Yay! We have to look at what our main goal of reading is. It is to connect new thoughts and ideas with what we already know and we can do that in many different ways and listening to stories is one of them. It could be sitting on your lap listening to a story, it could be an audiobook or it could even be with a podcast.

When looking at brain activation, the strongest activation comes from reading when the child is looking at the book and following along with the story as it is read to them, either by another reader or recording, but that does not mean that only listening is not beneficial. Here are some benefits of kids listening to audiobooks:

  1. Children can exercise their creative muscles by making the pictures in their heads of the characters and setting.

  2. Children are exposed to a higher level of vocabulary.

  3. Audiobooks are excellent for long car rides or wind down time at the end of the day, providing a stimulating, but calm presence.

  4. Children learn how a story sounds with phrasing and cadence.

  5. Audiobooks have been proven very beneficial for children with dyslexia and also ADD/ADHD because they offer less distraction than actual books.

  6. Audiobooks can be accessed anywhere, so they are easy to find!

As to your question if it is too much of a good thing, I think it all depends on your child. If your child loves to listen to books, do it! If they do not enjoy this form of reading as much, don’t do it. We want our children to have positive interactions with reading which means we want to pay attention to what forms of reading they enjoy and to what extent. One of my daughters could listen to audiobooks all day long. The other one, listens maybe to one story a couple times a week. It’s all up to the individual.

Our library offers some amazing audio opportunities for patrons! We have a large selection of VOX books which are books that have a speaker built in so the child can listen and follow along with the recording while looking at the actual book. These are fantastic!

We also have some audiobooks with CD’s. If you have an actual CD player at home or in your car, this is an option.

For those that prefer to play through your phone or device, there is Libby! Libby has thousands of books for all ages to listen to. You check them out on your device and get to keep them for two weeks. I highly recommend Libby to all of our patrons. If you have questions about how our library can assist you with your audiobook adventures, just let us know!

Until next time, happy reading!

Bookishly Yours,

Mrs. Emmons

Early Learning Specialist

Frankenmuth Wickson District Library

Check out these NEW VOX books that can read aloud to your little readers! They are available now at our library!

Humble and Kind by: Lori McKenna

This gentle picture book is about a family striving to be kind.

Leilong the Library Bus by: Siyuan Liu

If your kiddo is a dinosaur lover like mine, this one is for you!

One Mean Ant by: Arthur Yorinks

Follow the story of this grumpy ant as he learns to deal with conflict.

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