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Listen Up, Kids!

Discover the many benefits of audiobooks for children.

By Stacey Hall, Library Aide, Richard Byrd Library

An Advantageous Alternative 

While it’s common knowledge that reading books plays a key role in children’s development and future success, caregivers may wonder: Does listening to audiobooks offer benefits for kids, too? The answer could surprise you! 

A research study released by the National Literacy Trust (NLT) in 2020 on the benefits of audiobooks for literacy indicated that the same cognitive skills necessary for reading a book in print are just as important for listening to audiobooks. The study also found that audiobooks help children who struggle with reading and lessen any stigma they might feel, since others don’t know what they are listening to. 

In sharing its findings, NLT noted the growing interest in audiobooks for children, reporting a 138% year-over-year increase in their sales. Research suggests that children who get bored with books in print can discover that they enjoy listening to audiobooks.

For caregivers with limited reading levels or for whom English is not their native language, audiobooks may ease the discomfort of sharing books with their children by providing an alternative to reading aloud. Listening to audiobooks as a family can help introduce books and reading into homes and be a fun shared activity during vacations. 

Educational and Entertaining

According to, children who listen to audiobooks can learn new vocabulary and enhance their word recognition. They can gain better understanding of pronunciation, tone and dialect, as well as build up their attention span, improve their listening skills and learn to focus better. To maximize these benefits, start kids off with brief stories, then move on to chapter books encouraging longer listening periods.  

Denise Johnson, writing for, notes how audiobooks read by the author or featuring commentary by the author — especially a child’s favorite author — can help add to the excitement of listening.

The FCPL collection offers audiobooks for children of all ages, and exploring audio options can help readers discover new genres of books to enjoy. Check out audiobook CDs from your local branch or download eAudiobooks from OverDrive to enjoy together as a family at home, to provide entertainment for your next road trip, or to help your children develop cognitive skills and a love of reading. Happy listening!

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