Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Audio Books

We all know that reading to and with our children is VERY important. Not only for the literacy skills but for the bonding that happens. But as a busy parent I know that it's not always easy to put aside supper preparations or paperwork or ...... to take time to sit and read with your child. In our home we have special "book times" set aside so that we always get a chance to read. Sometimes we all sit on the couch or in the rocking chairs in the living room and read our own books, sometimes we all sit together and read books out loud. Before bed is a great time to read books. Sometimes on Saturday mornings we all snuggle in our big bed with our jammies still on and read some books. I've found that if I make a special time to read books that happens every day then my daughter is more likely to read to herself while I'm making supper than demand that I drop everything and read with her. One fun thing I've started doing is collecting books on tape and CD. You can get them from your library, you can get them from online audio book clubs. Once a week or so I do a google search for free children's audio books that I can download. I don't always find good ones but now and then I find a few gems.

My daughter is now at an age where she likes to listen to the book while looking at the pictures, this is great for in the car or when I'm trying to get something done around the house. If you have an iPhone or iPad or iPod touch you've probably seen the reading applications you can download. Barnes and Noble now has a kids book app that reads the books to the kids (unfortunately it's only for the iPad) and has lots and lots of kids audio books, some of which also have the pages kids can look at. Many of the Dr. Seuss books have been made into interactive books on iTunes. I did a search for interactive children's books on iTunes last week and there so many I had to stop looking. Some are free some are inexpensive, and some cost quite a bit.

A really fun and easy to use free program offered through Dakota County Library is Tumble Books. These are eBooks for eKids! A new collection of animated, talking picture books that also includes puzzles, games, audiobooks, and language learning.  These books aren't portable but are still fun and a great way for kids to learn to enjoy reading.

 When I was growing up my dad was in the Navy. He was deployed for 6-9 months at a time with 2-3 months between deployments. One of the best things my mom did was have Daddy read books onto tapes and then send them to us. She'd send a box with books and tapes and he'd record them while he was on the ship and then send the box back. Nothing beats going to bed at night hearing a loved voice. You don't have to be deployed to do this:
  • Record yourself and or your spouse reading some of your child's favorite books and then play them when your children are going to sleep.
  • Have grandparents or other relatives who might live far away record some books for your child to listen to.
  • Have an older sibling or cousin record books to listen to.

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