Monday, September 10, 2012

Books Should Be Free!!!!

We love reading "real" books in this household but Alyssa and I have a new addiction! We began listening to audio books to change things up a bit around here especially during our recent move. Our busy and hectic life was begging for a change. We started integrating audio books into our homeschool day to complement our studies while improving a variety of literacy skills. Audio books will never replace actual reading in our home. However, audio book resources are constructive ways to make use of time when you and your child can't sit still to read aloud for whatever reason at the time. My hope is that audio books will occupy Alyssa in a fun and engaging way. Alyssa listened to audio books as I packed for our upcoming move which unfortunately was very time-consuming.

Interest in audiobooks will depend on your child's age, abilities, and needs. Audio books are great resources for all ages and all types of readers regardless of their levels. I love choosing longer chapter books for Alyssa to hear. Chapter books allow for multiple read aloud sittings where she can anticipate what will happen during the next listening session. She needs little assistance with this activity ... she can control which books she hears and how long she listens to it. She knows that I must approve ALL books before she is allowed to hear them. I am usually in the room with her working as she listens attentively.

You can find audio books available at your local library, but I came across a wonderful website last week that we have been enjoying tremendously. It was called Books Should Be Free. Wouldn't that be awesome! There are a ton of free audio books including many children's books. Alyssa and I listened to several audio books during her free play as I packed for the upcoming move. We also listen to them as I unpack. We haven't listen to all of the books listed below, but we have plans to do so this year. There are some great stories out there ... we love the classic children's books! If we have the actual book at the house, then I give it to Alyssa to follow along (if she chooses).

Our most current read aloud before bedtime is Black Beauty. The whole family gathers on Alyssa's bed as I read a chapter or two aloud. The next day, Alyssa and I listen to the audio version of the book. We are a few audio chapters behind since I just found this website, but we'll catch up real soon at the rate we are using it. Erica, at Confessions of a Homeschooler, has a classic literature pack that I will be utilizing this year in conjunction with Alyssa's literature studies. She is currently having a Literature Unit Mega Pack Giveaway if you are interested in participating - click on the above giveaway link. The ideal situation would be to give Alyssa activities from this pack as she listens to the audio book. We will implement this plan in the near future.

Audio Book Benefits

  • Increase Attention Span
  • Improve Active Listening Comprehension
  • Encourage Critical Thinking Skills
  • Promote a Love of Good Quality Literature
  • Develop and Build Vocabulary
  • Hear Proper, Fluent Reading Emphasizing Correct Pronunciation, Punctuation, and Intonation
  • Modeling of Appropriate Read Aloud Strategies
  • Expose Children to Unfamiliar Genres
  • Opportunity to Discover Classics and More
  • Raise Cultural Awareness
  • Repetitive Read Aloud Opportunity
  • Chance to Hear Books Above Reading Level
  • Motivate All Types of Readers

What She Can Do After Listening to an Audio Book
There are so many activities you can do after reading a book ... this is a short list to get you started:

  • Make Mini Books
  • Respond to Literature Creatively
  • Narrate the Story
  • Illustrate Favorite Part or Story Element
  • Complete Related Copy Work Pages
  • Notebook Chapters or Entire Book
  • Make Connections: Text to Text, Text to World, Text to Self

Alyssa's Top Ten Audio Books From This Website (Ok ... Top 11 Favorites)
  1. Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  2. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  3. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  4. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  5. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  6. The Little Princess by Francess Hodgson Burnett
  7. Just So Stories Rudyard Kipling
  8. Aesop's Fables by Aesop or Milo Winters
  9. Andersen's Fairy Tales or Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tale Collection by Hans Christian Andersen
  10. The Burgess Animal Book for Children by Thorton Burgess
  11. The Great Big Treasury of Beatrice Potter by Beatrix Potter
Many audio books are also available on this website for the following FREE literature curriculums:
What's your favorite audio story or book? Do you have any audio book resource recommendations? 

What I Have Been Listening To
Stepping Heavenward
Anne of Green Gables

Other FREE Audio Book Resources
Gutenberg Project - This is the audio book project.
Free Audio Books - Website containing free children's audio books.
Audio Books for Free - This is the link to many children's classics. There are several other genres to download.
Storynory - Storyteller, Natasha, publishes a new audio story every week.
LibriVox - A website containing more FREE audio books from the public domain.
Wired for Kids - This website contains audio books for Beatrix Potter, Brothers Grimm, and a few other classics.
Lit2Go - I didn't have time to explore this website but the audio books were divided by genre.
iTune Apps - There are a variety of free audio apps available here. I haven't checked this one out either.

Do you know of another FREE audio book resource? If so, please comment below.

I also heard about which is not free. They do offer a free trial and audio book to attract new customers to the website.

NOTE: Please make sure you listen to ALL stories first before allowing your children to hear them. I can't possibly guarantee all material is age or content appropriate for your children. We all differ in what we allow our children to hear and see.  

Now, I just need to figure out how to burn the audio books on a CD ... if that is even possible and legal! Then, we could bring the CD's in the car while traveling.

I will link this post up at Blogging Through the Alphabet at Marcy's Ben and Me blog. Come join us!  This week we are covering the Letter B. Choose any topic that starts with this letter and blog about it. It is so much fun and I would love to read what you posted, please let me know if you participate so that I can visit your blog.

Blogging Through the Alphabet


  1. Great post! I've not yet ventured into the audiobook world, although I've been meaning too. Now I have a great jumping off point.

  2. Audio books are a HUGE hit around here. We get ours from and have never been disappointed.

    Thanks for the great post!

  3. We loved listening to Focus on the Family's audio drama of The Chronicles of Narnia. We bought our entire set for just $10 on the clearance rack at Barnes and Nobles several years ago. also gives away one free audiobook a month when you sign up for their emails.

  4. Wow, all the resources that are available, it's mind boggling! Thank you for these. We'll be using them all.

  5. Thank you for stopping by my blog ladies.

  6. My daughter spent many hours happily listening to stories while I worked. . Now we share great tales in the car. This post is a great resource.

  7. Diane - Thank you for letting me know that you found the resource helpful. I am so glad that your daughter enjoyed listening to the stories available on the websites. I love it when children discuss the stories they have read or heard.