When I launched Raising Readers a couple of weeks ago, the number one question I got was “What devices do your children listen to audiobooks on?”
I am a massive fan of audiobooks for children and I want to make it as easy as possible for my girls to listen on a daily basis.
Both of my older girls have cheap CD players that we picked up at Target or Walmart – this one has medium reviews, but it’s been going strong for years at our house, despite lots of not-so-careful handling.
I showed the girls how they worked a few times and then they were able to use them on their own.
Our library has a decent book on CD collection so every time we visit the library we pick up a stack of new ones that they can listen to in their rooms during quiet time or while they work on puzzles at the dining room table.
We also usually have a book on CD in the car that we listen to while we run errands or do the school drop-off and pick-up. I like this to be a book that they’ve listened to before since one or more of them isn’t always in the car and that way if they miss something, they still know the basic plot and can follow along.
Or we pick a book that’s reasonably episodic (like Beverly Cleary’s books) so that if you miss a chapter, it doesn’t matter too much.
I’ll also download an audiobook to the Libby app on my phone and I can connect that to the car stereo, so we have a few other options.
We also own three tablets and each of them has the Libby app or Overdrive app downloaded to it which syncs to your library card and lets you check out free audiobooks from your library’s digital collection.
The girls are allowed to use them during quiet time, but they know if they use the tablets for anything other than listening to audiobooks, they’ll lose them for a few days (Ella did it one time back in 2014, lost her listening privileges for a day, and I’ve never had trouble with either girl since).
Ella knows how to navigate the app by herself at this point and can check out audiobooks for children, although we often sit down together and pick out a new set of things to listen to.
Ani doesn’t yet know how to check things out, so once a week or so, I’ll help her choose about ten new books. She likes a mix of picture books and chapter books, and she’ll listen to them each a couple of times before returning them and asking for a new set.
I also like listening on the tablets because it’s easy to move them around – Ani will often bring one of them upstairs and sit on the couch listening while I make dinner or fold laundry, or Ella will set up a tablet on the table while she works on a puzzle.
The girls each have a set of headphones (these ones which have a volume limit so they don’t hurt their ears) but truthfully, they probably only listen via headphones about 10% of the time. Most of the time, they just let the tablet or CD player run while they listen nearby.
Bart and I are both huge audiobook fans (we share an Audible membership), so it’s been fun for us to see the girls love audiobooks as much as we do, plus it’s been delightful to listen along with them around the house or as we drive.
Do you have other questions about audiobooks for children? I’m happy to try to answer!