Listening to audio books in the car is something we have done since the boys were little. We started with CDs and moved on to audiobook apps when we discovered how handy and economical it was to have a library of books on my smart phone. Then our Tales2Go membership expired and I went searching for other audiobook apps to try out and discovered Scribd.
Scribd is an app that allows you to read or listen to any number of books, audiobooks, and magazines/news at a membership price of $8.99/month. This has got to be one of the best apps I’ve stumbled across. Not only does it fulfill our audiobook requirements, I now have a digital library for G1 to access – bonus! He’s so excited about it, he can barely contain himself.
There are some limitations, however:
- Books we can’t access because of our geographical location.
- Some of the books are available on audio but not in e-book format and vice versa.
- The collection is not all-encompassing – there are still books we would like to read that are not available in the Scribd collection.
Nevertheless, what is available is still pretty extensive – definitely much better than what the Kobo shop had before we were able to buy e-books from Kindle. I also really like the fact that they have moved away from that silly token system used by Audiobooks and Audible (not that we could use Audible anyway because our country is restricted).
Why Listen to Audiobooks
Research has typically found that shared reading experiences are highly beneficial for young people. Benefits of shared reading include facilitating enriched language exposure, fostering the development of listening skills, spelling, reading comprehension and vocabulary, and establishing essential foundational literacy skills. They are also valued as a shared social opportunity between parents and their children to foster positive attitudes toward reading. – The Conversation
Many parents stop reading to their children when they are capable of reading on their own. But experts say we should continue reading to our children long after they are capable of reading by themselves. Here’s why:
- Encourage them to read outside their comfort zone with books they wouldn’t ordinarily pick up on their own.
- Expand their vocabulary with challenging books they find too tricky to read on their own. It also allows them to hear how unfamiliar words are pronounced.
- Allows us to explore difficult topics that crop up in the stories – like when we talked about the good and bad of Professor Snape from Harry Potter.
- Opportunity to bond with our children. There is nothing like sharing a story and knowing the secret terminology that comes along with the stories.
- Develops children’s listening skills and their working memory which is important for helping children do well in school.
- Fosters cognitive development as children try to make sense of the story and create mental images in their head while they listen.
- Listening to someone else reading allows children focus on understanding the story rather than being distracted by having to decode the words as they read.
Audio Books Versus Parent Reading Aloud
Most of the articles that talk about the importance of reading with children often refer to parents reading aloud. If reading aloud with your child is beneficial, then surely increasing your reading time together with audio books is even better. Additionally, a good narrator can add more humour and expression that we may sometimes struggle to do on our own.
Audio books can also be listened to when we are not physically able to read aloud. For instance, during a car ride. Not only is it fun for the family, but it is also a great way to keep the peace in the car. When my boys are listening to stories in the car, I find they are too busy to annoy each other.
Parents who dislike reading aloud can have their cake and eat it, too. Audio books allow children to be read to without the parents having to do the reading. I find that I also enjoy listening along to the stories with the boys. Besides, I can only read aloud for so long before my voice gets tired.
A point to note: While you can replace yourself with an audio book, it is still beneficial to your children if you listen to the stories with them. This allows you to discuss the stories with your children which is another beneficial reason for reading with them.