If you are trying to create a literacy-rich home environment and raise kids who are passionate readers, be sure to add listening to audiobooks to your list of family activities.
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Here are eleven compelling reasons to make audiobooks a regular part of your family life – or to give the gift of audiobooks to the families on your holiday gift list.
1. Listening to audiobooks promotes a literacy-rich home environment. Kids who grow up in a literacy-rich home environment tend to learn to read easily, and develop a lifelong passion for books and reading.
2. It fosters your family’s identity as readers and book lovers. Prioritizing time to listen to audiobooks together sends the message loud and clear, “We are a family that loves stories and books.”
3. Enjoying audiobooks together creates shared memories you’ll treasure forever. My husband and young adult children still reminisce about listening to Holes by Louis Sachar on a road trip to Sedona, Arizona.
4. Listening to audiobooks can involve all family members, no matter their age level. You’ll be amazed at how many children’s chapter books and novels are enjoyable for adults, too. Did you know that kids’ listening comprehension levels are typically two years above their reading comprehension levels? Younger children who may not be ready to fully understand a story can sit nearby and enjoy quiet activities or a snack while listening and being a part of family time. You can choose a wide variety of books without worrying about leaving anyone out.
5. Listening to audiobooks together leads to terrific family discussions. Listen to a chapter while cooking dinner, and then discuss it together as you eat dinner. While listening in the car, pause after each chapter to let everyone share their thoughts and reactions to the story.
6. Relaxing by listening to an audiobook reduces stress and calms the mind and spirit. When life gets crazy and the energy level in your home is too rambunctious, load up a favorite audiobook and feel the chaos subside.
7. Listening to audiobooks improves language development and vocabulary in children of all ages, and improves speech articulation in younger kids. Audiobooks are a fantastic way to expose your children to the rich vocabulary found in high quality literature. Skilled voice actors model crisp, clear pronunciation and speech articulation.
8. Audiobooks help kids improve their listening and visualizing skills, which are crucial for good comprehension. Children who listen to audiobooks develop the ability to listen carefully and visualize the events in the story.
9. Listening to audiobooks is a powerful, effective way to support struggling or reluctant readers. Listening while following along on a device or in a book improves decoding, fluency and comprehension. It also builds confidence and motivation by giving kids access to the same popular books their peers are reading.
10. It improves fluency in readers of all ages, by modeling reading rate, phrasing, tone and expression. Kids start to model their own oral reading after the expert readers and voice actors who narrate audiobooks.
11. Audiobooks offer an attractive, persuasive alternative to screen time. Instead of breaking out the tablets in the car, load up an audiobook. Experiment to find other times to substitute an audiobook for screen time. Once your kids have become accustomed to listening, you might be surprised at how willing they are to accept this alternative!
Listening to audiobooks is a powerful strategy for developing literacy in your children.
Fortunately, audiobooks are easy to find these days, and the cost doesn’t have to be prohibitive.
My favorite way to get audiobooks for free is through Overdrive, a network of libraries and schools. With a card from a participating library, you can check out any eBook or audiobook for as long as 21 days. Unlike many sites that feature free audiobooks, Overdrive provides access to just about any title available. This is important because you will want access to quality children’s literature.
The easiest way to purchase audiobooks is through Audible by Amazon. You purchase credits by the month or in bulk, and then use them to buy audiobooks. (Each audiobook costs one credit.) Credits start at $14.95 per month for one credit and range up to $229 for 24 credits.
Credits do roll over from month to month, but not indefinitely. Be sure to check the current terms of service. The selection of available titles is vast and up-to-date, and Audible offers a 30% discount on any additional titles you purchase.
To start your family’s free 1 month Audible trial, click here.
Looking for a thoughtful, meaningful gift for a birthday or holiday? Audiobooks are a fantastic gift option for anyone from families to individuals of any age. To give the benefits of audiobooks through Audible by Amazon, click here.
I hope you’ll make audiobooks a part of your family culture today. The benefits are priceless, and I promise you won’t regret it!
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