Audiobooks for kids are judged unfairly at times. Visually reading a book compared with listening to a book is not a “more than / less than” valuation, nor are audiobooks reserved exclusively for second language learners or children with reading challenges. All reading, whether using eyes or ears, leads to learning.
Kids love storytelling. Listening to a narrator or a full cast who have voices brimming with expression and nuance (as in the new production of Charlotte’s Web narrated by Meryl Streep) is quite a compelling hook to engage a young reader.
Hoopla over 8,000 children’s audiobooks, both fiction and nonfiction, to stream instantly with no wait
Audiobooks to download over 2,500 children’s downloadable audiobooks
Odyssey Award Winners and Honors annual award given to the producer of the best audiobook for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States
Like audiobooks, kids’ podcasts can transport listeners to another world, sometimes adding music, sound effects, and different voices to tell a wide variety of engaging stories. Kids can enjoy listening to podcasts alone or as part of a shared family experience. With the uncertainty of current educational systems, podcasts can be a robust tool to extend learning.
Story Seeds kids who’ve created an original story premise are matched with bestselling authors like Dan Gutman and Jason Reynolds to write and record an original story episode together, in-person. Kids can call in with their own story ideas to be featured in future episodes
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls based on the Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls book series (Listening Library), this podcast about extraordinary women also includes interviews with the narrators of each story
Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian serialized science-fiction story written and performed by Jonathan Messinger, in 15-20 minute episodes. The story is developed around Finn Caspian, an 8-year-old boy aboard The Famous Marlowe 280 Interplanetary Exploratory Space Station. Finn and his friends explore uncharted planets and solve a mystery that threatens to destroy the Marlowe
The Unexplained Disappearance of Mars Patel (ages 8-12) a fun, high-quality, serial mystery scripted for middle grade kids, performed by middle grade kids
Story Pirates a story submitted from a child is read by the host. Actors, comedians, improvisers and musicians adapt the story into entertaining sketch comedy and musical theater, followed by an author interview with the child. Accompanying activity guides are offered for each story
Wow in the World wacky NPR hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz guide curious kids on a funny adventure through unconventional new stories in science and technology
Story Time (ages 2-12) original bedtime stories for toddlers and preschoolers are normally under 20 minutes, with new stories produced every two weeks
Classical Kids Storytime brief episodes include classical music and sound effects to recreate classic children’s stories like The Three Little Pigs, Cinderella and more, read by professional narrators who add a modern touch. Produced by American Public Media
Circle Round (ages 4-10) carefully-selected folktales from around the world are adapted into sound and music-rich radio plays. Each 10 – 20 minute episode explores important issues like kindness, persistence and generosity
Nurture young readers by offering a variety of book formats to cultivate learning and fuel the enjoyment of stories. A big plus for listening to stories is that it can be a moving experience (in more ways than one!) Reading does not have to be a sedentary activity. Imagine the possibilities…household chores, perhaps?
Listen at home, in the car, in your social bubble or with learning pod companions to join the growing podcast revolution!
(n.a.) 2020 Audie Awards. Audio Publisher’s Association [website]
Booth, Heather. (2020, June 1). The Booklist Odyssey Interview: Scholastic. Booklist [online professional journal]
Cole, Sonya. (2020, April 16). Children’s Story Podcasts. Booklist [online professional journal]
Johnson, Denise. (n.d.). The benefits of audiobooks for all readers. ReadingRockets.org [website]
Kleinknecht, Jill. (2020, June 27). Rewrite the rules of reading. Nerdy Book Club [blog]