We love it when parents read storybooks with their preschoolers everyday. But sometimes, for logistics or other reasons, it can be hard to find the time – especially for parents who are working long hours or shifts (and often commuting long distances), and parents who may have reading or other communication challenges themselves.
For parents who are struggling to find the time or energy to read with their kids regularly, we recommend audiobooks. While they lack the interaction you get from shared “live” book-reading, audiobooks can be the next best thing, e.g. when a parent is driving or away at work.
Here are two ideas (and 20 free resources) to help you get started:
1. Free Classic tales
Listening to audiobooks of classic stories – at home, or just as background sounds in the car – can help. It gives preschoolers exposure to enriched vocabulary, complex sentence structures, “story grammar” and important background knowledge of the world, including cultural references many of us take for granted.
Here are 20 of my favourites, each with a YouTube link for immediate, free access. Thanks again to CoreKnowledge for its suggestions, supplemented by some of our favourites:
If your preschoolers likes these, check out our free audiobooks for Kindergarten and Year 1 kids.
2. Do it yourself audiobooks!
A few years ago, I stumbled on “The Read-Aloud Handbook” by Jim Trelease. It’s a fantastic resource, which gave me the idea of making my own audiobooks. Thanks to new technology, it’s never been easier to do it.
Does your child have a favourite story – one they like to listen to over and over? If so, simply grab your smart phone, find the voice recording app (or, even better, the video function), and record yourself reading it. Email it to yourself and – just like that – you have an audiobook ready to share with your kids any time, anywhere.
Another great thing about DIY audiobooks: you can make them for kids (or adults) of any age. For example, here’s one I made for my (now) teenager a few years ago. I made it on Garageband, on an old iMac, but I could just as easily have done it with my phone these days.
Just don’t play this one to your preschooler – it’s a bit scary!
If you take us up on our tip and decide to make your own audiobook, we’d love to hear about it.
Principal source: Trelease, J. (1995). The Read-Aloud Handbook, Penguin Books, NY, NY.
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Hi there, I’m David Kinnane.
Principal Speech Pathologist, Banter Speech & Language
Our talented team of certified practising speech pathologists provide unhurried, personalised and evidence-based speech pathology care to children and adults in the Inner West of Sydney and beyond, both in our clinic and via telehealth.