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Advice about Audiobooks

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > The Arts, Books, Entertainment, & Media > Advice about Audiobooks


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Audio books for 5 & 7 yo - ever too much?

June 2009

My kids (almost 7 and 5) are obsessed with listening to audio books. My oldest is technologically savvy enough to turn on our ipod, find what she wants to hear, etc. She can also use the kid CD player easily. This independence is great, but I'm wondering what other parents think about this. They will just sit and listen listen listen listen and get very focused on it. It's not visual of course, like the tv or computer, but they do get transfixed in a similar way. My take on it is that it is really great, that they like to listen, etc. but curious to hear others' thoughts. Thanks much. Different Mama


My first instinct was to wonder whether it gets in the way of them reading to themselves, since you don't want the ease of listening to keep them from doing their own independent reading. Even if that's not the case, it's still possible it's keeping them from having a balance of activities--only you know if that's the case. Last summer our daughter ''discovered'' reading and spent all her free time with a book. At times, we thought it verged on too much, because no matter how fabulous books (or, perhaps, audiobooks) are, there are other things in life. Luckily for us we didn't need to resort to strict limits on reading (!) and this summer she's seeming more balanced--lots of reading and lots of other playing. reader's mom
My own daughter loved audio books and went to sleep listening to one almost every night for years, gradually working her way from Harry Potter to Dylan Thomas. She, too, could listen for hours at a time on weekends or vacation. And it's far better, of course, that your kids are entranced by good stories than by endless television. I think it's all a matter of balance. Do they get outside and run around? Do they have hobbies and other interests? Participate in sports? Play with other children?

You might experiment with telling your girls that they may listen for an hour (or for two sides of a tape, one disk, five chapters, whatever), then it's time for lunch and a trip to the park or something, and more stories that afternoon. Or that listening for hours on end is something they may do one day a week. Another possibility is saying, ''Listen for an hour, and then we'll do a craft project about the story or go outside and act out the story.''

(If they're listening so intently to a particular book, the story probably means something important to them. It would be interesting to know what this might be. Books can provide mental and emotional nourishment, and perhaps your girls are at a developmental stage where they especially need this.) Melanie


count your blessings and listen in. That's what I'd do.
Hi! The key information missing on your post is if they enjoy reading and/or if their reading skills are at grade level. Listening to a story shouldn't take the place of independent reading time or reading time with mom or dad and a print source in front of them. You might also consider having them read along in a print version of the book, as the story is being told. This technique can be really wonderful for reluctant readers or auditory learners. If they enjoy reading as well as the listening, I see no problems! Plus I imagine that it makes long car trips fly by. Just be sure to regulate the volume and maybe set a time limit so that their ears get a break to rest from the constant noise, just like you would if they were listening to music. Bookworm

Toddler audio books for a car trip

July 2007

I read a post through BPN a couple of months ago recommending a few wonderful storytelling cds. I ordered them through Amazon but something happened to the order. I can't seem to remember the names of the artists. We will be travelling with our 2 year old son this summer and would love to bring the cds along. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help! onika


My kids and I are avid story listeners. When they're done well, they're fantastic. My kids' vocabulary and sentence structure owe a lot to good books read well and listened to several times. For toddlers, I would recommend:
Beatrix Potter
Winnie-the-Pooh
Any of the Rabbit Ears series - NPR series done several years ago, read by actors (who do it well), combined with music by well-known artists (which adds atmosphere without distracting). They cover traditional tales from around the world.
Our family enjoyed them when we got them at the library on cassette with the book to accompany, but now they compile several on one CD. (I just had a look on Amazon - I'm going to buy several!)

In a year or two, I would add:
Roald Dahl (you can get a lot of them read by the author himself)
Harry Potter
Beverly Cleary books
almost anything read by Jim Weiss
Joel Ben-Izzy (local Jewish storyteller - funny, touching, thought-provoking)
Bill Harley - stories and songs (loads at local library)

Definitely try a variety at your local library. There are sooo many good recordings of traditional tales told by really good storytellers which are great for any age. And for younger children, there are loads of books with the cds. ''I, Crocodile'' is one that stands out for me as especially good. And I find the Frog and Toad series very soothing - so simple and sweet. Alas, I find the Cam Jansen and Magic Treehouse series painful - read by the authors, who, frankly don't do it well. -Love Books in All Forms!


Rent-by-Mail Audiobooks?

Dec 2006

Does anyone know of any Netflix-style rent-by-mail audiobook companies, apart from Simply Audiobooks? I'm especially interested in outfits that have a good selection of kids' books.


Hi I am addicted to audio books and have bought them and rented them for years, I belong to Audible.com and I download audio books to a Nano and then listen to them on my care radio using a cassette tape insert that was bought at Target. I know Audible has quite afew childrens books. It is $15 a month for the rights to 1 download and $20 I think for two Plus you get a bonus one for signing up. Check them out. and have fun. We loved The Princess bride, when we were on a long car trip with our kids years ago.
Depending on what format you need, a lot of libraries now offer eAudioBooks... audio books in mp3 formats that you simply download on-line. That could be a free solution to getting some audio books you'd like anon
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