11 Powerful Reasons to Make Audiobooks Part of Your Family Life

11 Powerful Reasons to Make Audiobooks Part of Your Family Life

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.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers earns a small commission.

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!

 

Want to save this post for later? Pin “11 Powerful Reasons to Make Audiobooks Part of Your Family Life” to your favorite Pinterest board.

 

 

   



The Ultimate Quick and Easy List of Dyslexia Resources

The Ultimate Quick and Easy List of Dyslexia Resources

Just a no-nonsense list of resources to help you learn more about dyslexia and how to help your dyslexic child learn to read.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers earns a small commission.

 

Websites to Learn More About Dyslexia

The International Dyslexia Association

Dyslexia Help at The University of Michigan

Understood

The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity

The Reading Well

Bright Solutions for Dyslexia

The Dyslexic Advantage

The Dyslexia Training Institute

Homeschooling With Dyslexia

 

Books About Dyslexia

Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz

The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child’s Confidence and Love of Learning by Ben Foss

Proust and the Squid: The Story and the Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf

The Dyslexia Checklist by Sandra F. Rief

The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain by Brock L. Eide

 

What is the Orton-Gillingham Approach?

The Reading Well

Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators

Decoding Dyslexia OH

 

Orton-Gillingham Reading Programs and Teaching Materials for Dyslexia

All About Learning Press

Pride Reading Program

Barton Reading & Spelling System

Logic of English

Reading Horizons

Nessy

Online Dyslexia Tutoring by A Family of Readers

 

 

dyslexia resources pin 1dyslexia resources pin 2pin 3

 

Does My Child Have Dyslexia?

Does My Child Have Dyslexia?

If you have a struggling reader, you may have asked yourself this worrisome question – “Does My Child Have Dyslexia?” Dyslexia is an inherited neurological condition that makes it difficult to read, write and spell, despite having average intelligence overall.

It takes a licensed educational psychologist or a neurologist to formally diagnose dyslexia. However, and fortunately, parents and teachers can certainly be on the lookout for valuable warning signs of dyslexia in children. If your child demonstrates three or more of the following behaviors, consider more thoroughly researching dyslexia and what can be done to treat it.

The following information regarding dyslexia warning signs is excerpted from Bright Solutions, a fantastic dyslexia resource for families and teachers.

unhappy preschooler looking at a bookSigns of Dyslexia in Preschoolers

  • delayed speech
  • mixing up the sounds and syllables in long words
  • chronic ear infections
  • stuttering
  • constant confusion of left versus right
  • late establishing a dominant hand
  • difficulty learning to tie shoes
  • trouble memorizing their address, phone number, or the alphabet
  • can’t create words that rhyme
  • a close relative with dyslexia

Dyslexia Warning Signs in Elementary Schoolelementary school child holding face

  • dysgraphia (slow, non-automatic handwriting that is difficult to read)
  • letter or number reversals continuing past the end of first grade
  • extreme difficulty learning cursive
  • slow, choppy, inaccurate reading
  • guesses based on shape or context
  • guesses based on shape or context
  • skips or misreads prepositions (at, to, of)
  • ignores suffixes
  • can’t sound out unknown words
  • very poor spelling
  • often can’t remember sight words (they, were, does) or homonyms (their, they’re and there)
  • difficulty telling time with a clock with hands
  • trouble with math
  • difficulty memorizing multiplication tables
  • trouble memorizing a sequence of steps
  • confusion about directionality
  • when speaking, has difficulty finding the correct word
  • extremely messy bedroom, backpack and desk
  • dreads going to school

Dyslexia Warning Signs in High School

Consider all of the above symptoms plus:unhappy teenager looking at book

  • limited vocabulary
  • extremely poor written expression
  • large discrepancy between verbal skills and written compositions
  • unable to master a foreign language
  • difficulty reading printed music
  • poor grades in many classes
  • may drop out of high school

Signs of Dyslexia in Adults

Education history similar to above, plus:

  • slow readeradults with dyslexia
  • may have to read a page two or three times to understand it
  • very poor speller
  • difficulty putting thoughts onto paper
  • dreads writing memos or letters
  • still has difficulty with right versus left
  • often gets lost, even in a familiar city
  • sometimes confuses b and d, especially when tired or sick

If your child shows three or more of the warning signs above, consider digging in and doing some research. Fortunately, plenty of information about dyslexia and how to treat it is readily available.

To learn more about dyslexia in general, visit these links:

To learn more about how to help your child with dyslexia learn to read, visit this link:

 

Want to save this post for later? Pin “Does My Child Have Dyslexia” to Your Favorite Pinterest Board.

 

Sad girl holding head in hands, wondering if she has dyslexiaUpset boy with head in hands wondering if he has dyslexia



How to Help a Child With Dyslexia

How to Help a Child With Dyslexia

If your child has a dyslexia diagnosis, or even if you just strongly suspect dyslexia, there is plenty of information available to help you decide on next steps. Decades of scientific research have given us clear, concrete information about how to teach a dyslexic child to read.

Kids with dyslexia must be taught to read with the right method, at the right level of frequency and intensity. There are methods and approaches that research has proven to be effective, and fortunately they are easy to find. Research tells us that dyslexic readers need the right instruction for at least two hours per week in order to make strong gains.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers earns a small commission.

 

How to Effectively Teach a Child With Dyslexia to Readyoung girl receiving tutoring for dyslexia from her father

In addition to being provided at least twice per week, reading instruction for children with dyslexia must be:

  • Individualized – An effective reading method can be adjusted to meet individual needs. This means that even after you choose a program, the instructor will need to modify as your child progresses. Learners may master some concepts quickly and need more review on other concepts. Dyslexic readers need a program that can be readily adjusted, and an instructor who is skilled at individualizing instruction.
  • Multi-sensory – Reading instruction for kids with dyslexia must include as many of the senses as possible: seeing, hearing, feeling (touching), and movement (kinesthetic). The most powerful learning happens when more than one sense is used at the same time.
  • Direct and Explicit – Everything must be presented directly, deliberately, and clearly. Children with dyslexia should never expected to infer or deduce in order to learn how to read. Each piece of information or idea must be taught, practiced and discussed.
  • Systematic – Systems or procedures for learning must be taught and used consistently to learn new material. Kids become so familiar with these procedures that they become automatic, leaving more brainpower available for learning the information being presented. Within each lesson the procedures are followed in the same format, creating a framework that allows the deepest learning to take place.
  • Sequential and Cumulative – The organization of material to be taught must be logical and sequential. The sequence must begin with the easiest and most basic concepts and progress to more difficult concepts. Learning should be cumulative, meaning that each step is based on concepts that have been previously mastered.
  • Synthetic and Analytic – Synthetic (part to whole) means taking the individual parts of reading (phonics) and showing how they are put together (reading words). Analytic (whole to part) means looking at words and breaking them into individual sounds. Good readers must be able to think in both ways.

Taken together, these elements are referred to as Structured Literacy or the Orton Gillingham approach. These are not specific programs or curriculum. Think of Structured Literacy or the Orton Gillingham approach as names for the collection of components that must be included in any instruction for a child with dyslexia.

 

boy receiving Barton tutoring for dyslexiaHow to Find the Help Your Dyslexic Child Needs

Now that you know the type of instruction that your child with dyslexia needs, how do you find it?

Thankfully, many public school systems have begun to implement English Language Arts programs based on the Orton Gillingham approach. Talk to your child’s teacher or principal to make sure that the elements of Structured Literacy are being used to teach your child. In many districts, this is already the case. You may be able to arrange for your child to participate in “intervention” Structured Literacy lessons that are more targeted and intense.

For a child with dyslexia, whole group or even small group instruction in Structured Literacy might not be enough. Even if your dyslexic child has a well-trained, highly skilled teacher who is using a program based on the Orton Gillingham approach, your child may need additional support.

If intervention support hasn’t helped significantly, you may want to talk to the teacher or principal about evaluating your child for special education services. In the best of circumstances, this could result in your child receiving exactly the Structured Literacy instruction they need. It can also be tricky, because public school educators are constrained by federal criteria for special education eligibility that often doesn’t “catch” dyslexia. And if your child is eligible, you may disagree with the school about what services are appropriate.

Kids with dyslexia can benefit enormously from the right one-on-one instruction, either from a parent or a private tutor.

 

Parent-Friendly Reading Programs for Children With Dyslexia

There are several Orton Gillingham-influenced programs available that have been designed specifically for parents or private tutors to teach children with dyslexia how to read. Although I settled on using the Barton Reading & Spelling System in my private tutoring practice, there are other options available.

In researching each of the products below, I truly felt that the authors or publishers of the programs are deeply committed to helping struggling readers. There are differences in each product, but I believe that no matter which one you choose, you’ll be providing your child with a research-based program that works. These are widely known as the best “at-home” reading programs for struggling readers.

tutor providing dyslexia tutoring using the Barton Reading & Spelling SystemLet’s talk about the Barton Reading & Spelling System first. It was designed for parents and tutors to be able to use, almost “right out of the box.” Each level comes with training videos, and the manuals are carefully scripted. The company offers unlimited support to anyone who purchases the Barton Reading & Spelling System. The founder, Susan Barton, has created tons of valuable instructional videos available on the Barton website, her Brighter Solutions website, or YouTube. As a private tutor who wants to help as many children as possible, the deal was sealed when I learned that the Barton Reading & Spelling System has an online version, so I can tutor remotely over the internet.

All About Learning Press is a company that publishes two Structured Literacy products. All About Reading and All About Spelling are both based on the Orton Gillingham approach. These programs are scripted for parents and tutors to use, and the company describes them as “open and go.” All About Learning Press offers plenty of support through its website and blog, along with an offer to contact them by email or phone if you have any questions.

Logic of English is a comprehensive, completely scripted program that aims to make the Orton Gillingham approach available to anyone. The Essentials materials cover reading, spelling, writing and grammar. There is also a separate program that teaches handwriting in a multi-sensory way. The materials are easy to use and include optional activities categorized by learning style to allow parents or tutors to provide individualized instruction.

Reading Horizons offers instruction through online software, instructor-guided written materials, or a blended program using both. Plenty of training is provided through the website and blog.

The Pride Reading Program is also meant to get parents and tutors up and running quickly with their student. The manuals are scripted, and training videos provide clear instruction on each part of the lesson structure.

If you have a child with dyslexia, or a struggling reader who needs to catch up, you may choose one of these programs to teach your child yourself, or you may want to hire a tutor. Either way, you’ll know that you are providing the right instruction for your child with dyslexia.

Learn more about my online and in-person tutoring services using the Barton Reading & Spelling System.

 

Want to save this post for later? Pin “How to Help a Child With Dyslexia” to your favorite Pinterest board.

 

          How to Help a Child with Dyslexia

 


How to Motivate Kids to Read

How to Motivate Kids to Read

How to Motivate Kids to Read – In the world of kids and reading, interest and motivation are hugely important. Increased interest equals increased motivation!

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers earns a small commission.

For a young child, interest in books and reading translates into motivation and readiness to learn how to read when the time is right.

For a struggling reader, interest in books and reading can translate into motivation to keep going when learning to read doesn’t come easily.

For a reluctant reader of any age, interest in books and reading can ignite motivation and liberate an avid reader within.

Here are helpful tips for increasing your children’s motivation by raising their interest in books and reading.

Create a Family Culture of Reading

The best way to support your children’s interest in books and reading is to create a family culture of reading, right from the start.

how to get kids interested in reading1. Read aloud to your babies from the very beginning.

2. Launch your family library with a variety of awesome board books and cloth books designed especially for babies.

3. Keep a few board books in the crib, in baskets around the house, and in the car. Your goal here is to make books as readily accessible as toys all through childhood.

4. As your baby becomes a toddler, create traditions and rituals around reading, such as a nightly bedtime story routine.

5. Make reading time fun, and make sure your child can see how much you enjoy it. Your little ones are looking for you to model what is important in your family. In this case, it is books and reading! If you take delight in books, so will your child.

6. For kids of all ages, let them see you enjoy reading on your own. Keep books and e-readers around the house where your children can see them, and see you reading them. Let your kids hear you talking with other adults about what you have read.

Discover and Follow Your Child’s Passions

when do kids start to read7. Make regular trips to the library and/or the bookstore so that your child can explore different types of books.

8. When your child shows an interest in something, provide books on that topic. I really can’t emphasize this enough. With toddlers and preschoolers, you are embedding books and reading into all parts of your child’s life. With older kids, you are showing them that reading is a way to enrich any part of their life. This tradition can continue for years – I still bring home relevant books for my young adult children, and my parents still pick up books for me on topics they know I am interested in!

9. With older kids who may not be spending enough time reading on their own, find engaging books that match their passions, and are slightly below their independent reading level. Read a few pages out loud each day, and leave the book in a visible, accessible place, without comment. It may take a while, but eventually you are likely to see your child pick up the book on their own. Another variation of this strategy is to read the first book in a highly regarded series, and leave the second book in a handy place.

Use these tips to super-charge your children’s interest in reading and books, and watch their motivation soar!

Want to save this post for later?

Pin “How to Motivate Kids to Read More” to your favorite Pinterest board.

Cute blond boy laying down and looking at a book.young girl with pigtails and glasses resting folded arms on a stack of booksyoung girl standing between bookshelves in a library