By Kitty Felde
More and more of us are “reading” books with our ears these days. A survey by Edison Research finds that more than half of American adults say they’ve listened to at least one audiobook. And 56% of those same audiobook listeners say their children are also listening to their books.
“Sometimes kids are audio listeners,” said Jill Lansky from the Kalamazoo Public Library in Michigan. “They learn better that way than visually.” She says listening can get a kid hooked on a story or characters in a series. “And then they might read the next one themselves.”
Some kids aren’t confident readers, she says and that’s why they don’t like a book in print. “So you have to build that confidence slowly.”
One trick teachers and librarians use to make the transition from audio to print is to match up the physical book with the audio book. Kids can read along with the narrator.
But not all audiobooks feature a solo narrator. These days, many publishers are creating full productions for the ear, with a large cast, music, and sound effects. Lansky recommends Stuntboy, written by our own DC local literary treasure Jason Reynolds.
You don’t have to pay a monthly subscription to Audible to listen. Audiobooks are FREE on the Libby library app. That means they’re portable, too: a library of stories you can keep in your pocket.
Kitty Felde produces the award-winning Book Club for Kids podcast. She turned her Fina Mendoza Mysteries books into an audio production, available for free wherever you listen to podcasts.