Are Our Children Being Audiobook Deprived? | My Musings

Today's Question: Do you buy/borrow audiobooks for your children? Why or why not?

2016 Discussion Challenge

The 2016 Discussion Challenge is hosted by Nicole @Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @It Starts At Midnight. “So often book bloggers mean to post more discussions on our blogs, but we just don’t quite get around to it. Well, we wanted to give everyone a little motivation to keep the discussions going, plus give us a place to link up our discussions so that more people will see our precious words of wisdom (or … you know … our GIF-filled rants).”

On Monday, the Audio Publishers Association (APA) announced the results of their 2015 sales survey (for the U.S.). I wasn't surprised to hear that the number of total sales was up by 24%, nor that nearly 10,000 more audiobooks were produced last year (over 2014). I also found it completely reasonable that 76% of audiobooks sold are fiction (I myself prefer physical books when reading non-fiction, since it is easier to take notes) and that digital downloads are becoming the preferred format. What did surprise me was the claim that 90.4% of all audiobooks sold were adult titles; or, to turn it around, only 9.6% of all audiobook sales were children's books. I am assuming that YA must be included in the adult titles, if not that number is even more astonishing


My very first introduction to "audiobooks" was as a child, sitting next to my record player and listening to a "read-along" book. I didn't get into audiobooks again until I was a college graduate commuting on the bus to my first grown up jobs, but children's books were part of what I listened to even then. I wrote about it in this post on "Why I Listen to Audiobooks" and in this one on "How I Learned to Love Audiobooks".


What are some of the possible reasons we aren't buying more audiobooks for the children in our lives?

  • You have never tried or don't like audiobooks yourself, so you haven't considered them for your children.
  • You tried audiobooks once or twice with your children and they didn't seem to like them.
  • You don't think that audiobooks count as reading, and maybe even think it is "cheating."
  • You are concerned that audiobooks will interfere with your child's literacy development.
  • Your children read audiobooks, but you get them from the library. In this case, good for you! Keep it up.


Here are some articles regarding the positive benefits of audiobooks for children (which, apart from the relationship development aspects, are the same as those for reading aloud to your child):

"4. For children with reading difficulties, they can slowly follow the readings from audio books until it feels comfortable to read.


Simply following an audio book to read along while looking at the printed material in front of them can increase their learning skills by a very high percentage."

"Audiobooks have traditionally been used with second-language learners, learning-disabled students, and struggling readers or nonreaders. In many cases, audiobooks have proven successful in helping these students to access literature and enjoy books. But they have not been widely used with average, avid, or gifted readers. This article lists the benefits of audiobooks for all students."

"3.    Exposure to new vocabulary comes with independent reading, reading aloud, or listening to audio books.  Audio books can also be a way of introducing books above your child's current reading level, so that more complex stories and vocabulary can be introduced and enjoyed. Your child will benefit from the introduction to new and varied vocabulary without the frustration of not yet being able to read it himself."

 Although I don't have children of my own, I have many younger siblings and nieces & nephews; one of my favorite of the benefits listed is that they can save you from having to reread the same book over & over again. I still remember working hard on my droning monotone voice, so that I could have my sister asleep by the 2nd or 3rd page of The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins when I was reading it for what seemed like the 500th time.


So, again:

Today's Question: Do you buy/borrow audiobooks for your children? Why or why not?

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This week's discussion will also be linked up with the following (hover for descriptions):