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The Case for Audiobooks

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Photograph by Twenty20

I’m a big reader. I love books—both fiction and non-fiction—and aim to pass on the joy of reading to my four children. But, recently, I was conflicted on if I’m doing enough, in the right ways, to introduce and emphasize reading at home. I mean, my son did just recently tell me, “I’m not really a book boy, Mom.” So, we definitely have room to grow!

Maybe "conflicted" is a bit strong of a word. I know books and reading practice are important—but why, exactly?

Rebecca Hathaway, a reading intervention specialist at a Western Washington elementary school shared with me: "While language occurs naturally just by exposing a child to speech, reading does not occur naturally. It is learned, which means that it can also NOT be learned. It involves several areas of the brain and is a complex skill. It's possible that a child who is not exposed to instruction, or the right instruction, or whose brain is wired a little differently, or who is determined not to learn ... and the list goes on ... may NOT learn to read. Sending a child to school is no guarantee that the child will learn to read. Children need instruction. That instruction needs to begin at home before the child begins preschool."

Begin at home. Before preschool.

That’s right, mamas, it’s up to me and you and the people we bring into our little one’s life to begin teaching the complex and rewarding skill of reading. Hathaway recommended audiobooks as a fun addition to book awareness and reading practice; audiobooks are a good bridge for resistant readers. I can attest to the success of doing this. My kids, even the non-book boy, LOVE audiobooks. Even my 2-year-old engages with stories when we listen together in the car or during play time.

Audiobooks are a good bridge for resistant readers.

Audiobooks are also a read-aloud activity that give me the chance to focus on just snuggling, join in on the Play-Doh fun, or folding laundry!

Here are a few of our favorites:

"Tumtum and Nutmeg" — An Audible exclusive, this series about two sweet mice will surely become a favorite.

"Anna Hibiscus" — Anna lives in Africa and dreams of seeing snow. Listen on to see what happens!

"The Mercy Watson Collection" — A wild pig and silly friends will leave your whole family laughing through shenanigan after shenanigan.

"The Princess in Black" — This series is my non-book boy’s top pick. I’d venture to say he’s listened to it 50+ times!

"Story Party" — Eight hours of listening fun! Each chapter is a different story with a different narrator.

"A Children’s Garden of Verses" — Don’t be afraid to steer your kids toward older poems and reading. It’s a good way to introduce them to a unique cadence and new vocabulary.

"The Fancy Nancy Collection" — Almost four hours of Fancy Nancy? Bring on the pink!

"The Little House" — Y'all, this costs just 41 cents on Audible and is simple and sweet!

"Llama Llama Red Pajamas" — Hathaway shared, “Children need to hear rhymes and songs that rhyme that they can recite or sing along with. It helps them learn to manipulate language.” Books like Llama Llama do just that.

"The Otter Who Wanted To Know" — This is just one of Jill Tomlinson’s books and they’re all so sweet, especially for animal lovers. Look for “The Gorilla Who Wanted to Grow Up”, “The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure” and others.

"Corduroy" — Bring on the classics! You’ll love reliving them alongside your children!

If you’re excited to incorporate audiobooks into your day-to-day lives, I can’t recommend Audible enough. You can also listen to audiobooks for free through your local library.

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