While nothing can replace one-to-one reading with a child, there are many potential ways kids can benefit from listening to audiobooks. These benefits include:
- Helping children develop their imagination.
- Introducing kids to books above their reading level.
- Introducing new vocabulary or difficult proper names or locales.
- Improving listening and comprehension skills.
- Learning the proper pronunciation of words.
From a practical perspective, audiobooks may also help kids to:
- Cope better with long car rides.
- Fall asleep on their own.
Audiobooks for Kids
Below are 21 great sites where you can find and download audiobooks for kids:
Alvie, The Little Brown Burro – a fun and entertaining collection of free children’s audio stories about a small, brown, toy burro named Alvie. There are 7 audiobooks designed for preschoolers available for download in MP3.
Audible Kids - Audible is the biggest name in audiobooks, which makes sense since they’re owned by Amazon.com. There are more than 7,000 audiobooks for kids available and you can browse by age group or genre.
BookBox – a nice collection of free audiobooks for kids in a variety of languages available for download in MP3.
Books Should Be Free – my favorite site to browse for free audiobooks for kids in the public domain. You will find classics such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Swiss Family Robinson, and Treasure Island. You can view the original book cover, read an excerpt or listen to a short audio preview. Audiobooks are available in MP3 or you can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.
Candlelight Stories – offers several high-quality classic children’s audiobooks with voice characterizations, music and sound effects.
Cinnamon Bear – this old time radio program was first broadcast in 1937. This site has the 26 original episodes available to download in MP3.
Kids Audiobooks - a collection of 200+ audio stories for kids available for download in MP3.
Kiddie Records Weekly – a collection of children’s stories from the mid-1940s to the early 1950s. Many of these recordings are extravagant Hollywood productions featuring big time celebrities and composers.
Kindersite - this site has a number of stories in flash for reading and listening online, as well as games, lullabies and songs.
Light Up Your Brain – a collection of audio stories for children read by Chuck Brown available for listening online or download in MP3.
Magic Keys – this site has illustrated children’s stories for kids of all ages. There are 4 audio stories available for online listening (3 for young children and 1 for young adults).
MightyBook – a collection of free illustrated, animated audio stories for children.
OverDrive - this service is used by public libraries to deliver audiobooks and other digital content available for downloading. OverDrive Search allows you to search for the title you want and then find a library where the item can be downloaded. Alternatively, try visiting the website of you local library to see if they offer kids audiobooks online.
Oxford Owl – this site has 5 children’s audiobooks available for online listening.
Robert Munsch – a collection of 50+ audiobooks written and read by one of my favorite children’s authors, Robert Munsch. Be sure to check out Something Good, Love You Forever, and The Paperbag Princess. The audiobooks are available for listening online or download in MP3.
Speakaboos – here you will find about 100 audiobooks for kids available for listening and viewing online through a flash viewer. Downloads are available for a fee, though some are available free after registering.
Storyline Online – a collection of children’s audiobooks available for online listening and viewing via a flash player. The site is a production of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation and features some well known actors as the readers.
Storynory – has published a free audio story for children each week since 2005. The online collection includes a mixture of original stories, fairytales, and specially adapted myths and histories aimed aimed at children aged around 8 to 11 years old.
Tales From The Forest – a collection of 11 free audiobooks for kids (4 original and 7 classics) available for free listening online or MP3 download.
Wired For Books – this collection of audiobooks for kids includes a number of Beatrix Potter’s audio stories available for online reading and listening.
World of Tales – features stories for kids, folktales, fairy tales and fables from around the world available for online listening.