I had never thought much about audiobooks before. I can remember when I was a little girl and had one of those books with the cassette tape that beeped when you were supposed to turn the page (It was 101 Dalmations.) My children have had a few experiences with audiobooks; a borrowed one when I needed to run errands and had no DVDs with me and a book we listened to when I couldn't find it in any other format. Then, I bought a series of Johnathan Park on CD to listen to when we travel after we decided to no longer have a TV in the van (trust me it is much easier without it.)
Recently, we have started using audiobooks on a regular basis. Every night when I send the children to bed they are allowed to read or play quietly until they fall asleep. Nick and Chelsea read their books, but Alex who cannot read well simply pretends to read. I started thinking about how to help a child who's comprehension far exceeds his ability to read in addition to me reading to him. I read a suggestion on how to help children who are dyslexic and/or struggling readers by using audiobooks.
Why use audiobooks? Most young children can understand and enjoy books that are above their reading level. Reading such books will also greatly increase their vocabulary. Reading aloud is a great way to share and enjoy books with your children, but there may be times (like at night when others are sleeping) that it is not possible to read aloud. Plus, some children are auditory learners and understand things much better when they hear them.
I went looking for an inexpensive mp3 player and found one at www.walmart.com for $17. Then, I found this great website www.booksshouldbefree.com which has a ton of classic audiobooks that you can download for free in either mp3 format or for your Ipod. So far we have downloaded Peter Pan, The Velveteen Rabbit, Pinocchio, Brare Rabbit, and Robinson Crusoe. Many libraries have audiobooks (ours does not) and those libraries that are online are starting to have ebooks and audiobooks you can check out online and download to your computer. Project Gutenberg which is a fabulous source for free ebooks also has several audiobooks available for download. This website has several different free resources for homeschoolers including favorite audio book websites.
I think the audiobooks are already beginning to make a difference for Alex and he loves his mp3 player. It can be beneficial in other ways too. The other day during quiet time, I found Nick and Alex in Alex's bed each with one ear bud listening to an audiobook (being very quiet by the way.) My mom gave me a mp3 player she wasn't using and I think I am going to pick up one or two more. Quiet time may just become even quieter, and the next time we travel it would be very useful.