Many parents wonder about the benefits of audiobooks for kids. They ask themselves - are audiobooks as good as reading? The short answer is – yes. Audiobooks and read along books for kids offer many benefits, no matter where your child is at in their reading journey.
For instance, listening to audiobooks supports language development, helps children build relationships with others, and promotes lifelong learning. From a young age, listening plays a vital role in developing one’s ability to read. Thus, audiobooks and read to me books provide children with an educational source of entertainment and help them develop the skills needed to become proficient readers.
Want to learn more about audiobooks vs reading? In this article, we will explore the many benefits of audiobooks for kids and students. Most importantly, we’ll answer the common question, “Are audiobooks as good as reading?”
Let’s get into it!
What is an audiobook, exactly?
An audiobook is a recording of a book read aloud. Audiobooks allow kids to listen to stories rather than read the text. Audiobooks can be accessed through any device that supports audio streaming, including smartphones, computers, and tablets.
Audio books for kids are becoming more and more popular around the world. This is because they can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and provide many benefits, especially for young readers.
Audiobooks vs Read to Me Books
Audiobooks and read to me books (or read along books) for kids are similar. However, unlike audiobooks (which are audio-only), read to me books also include text and illustrations. Thus, with read along books, kids can read the book, look at illustrations, and follow the words while listening to the narrator’s voice.
The benefits of audiobooks for kids discussed below also apply to read to me books. In fact, many parents prefer read along books over classic audiobooks. This is because read to me books allow children to follow along with the text while listening. As a result, many of the benefits below are enhanced by read along stories.
Now that you know what an audiobook is, let’s take a look at the benefits of audiobooks.
14 Benefits of Audiobooks vs Reading
Many people love audiobooks, including us at Booka! But we also know that promoting early literacy at home is essential. So, do audiobooks help with reading, and should children listen to audiobooks?
Here are fourteen benefits of audiobooks to consider. The advantages below include both physical and mental audiobook benefits.
1. Listening to Audiobooks Boosts Reading Achievement
As children listen to audiobooks, they have the opportunity to practice meaning-making. In other words, to practice making sense of a story, its characters, and its settings. This prepares them to better comprehend texts when they read independently. In fact, developing listening comprehension skills with the help of audiobooks has been found to support greater achievement in reading.
2. Audiobooks Help Improve Vocabulary and Word-Recognition.
When children explore audiobooks, it opens up their world. Through audiobooks, children gain exposure to new and interesting words. As a result, their vocabulary strengthens. In addition, listening to audiobooks allows kids to hear how letter sounds and letter patterns create words. Children can more easily recognize words in text as they improve their vocabulary and understanding of letter sounds and patterns.
3. Audiobooks Allow Children to Hear What Fluent Reading Sounds Like
Reading fluency, or the ability to accurately read out loud at a reasonable pace and with expression, is an important skill. Audiobooks are great for developing this competency. How? Well, the more often a child hears fluent reading, the more likely they are to develop reading fluency themselves. Therefore, listening to audiobooks can help them develop this valuable skill.
Audiobooks are also beneficial for students learning a second language and kids who experience difficulty reading.
4. The Benefits of Audiobooks for Kids Include Expanded Knowledge
When children are learning to read, much of their cognitive load is focused on decoding words. This is especially true for students who struggle with reading. But, with audiobooks, children can explore text through an auditory means. As a result, they can explore a broader range of topics and genres, broadening their knowledge base and worldview.
Through exposure to more complex ideas and new vocabulary via audiobooks, kids can also build a deeper understanding of content. For instance, listening to audiobooks lets children practice their comprehension skills and engage with stories in meaningful ways – without worrying about deciphering words or context.
5. Audiobooks Make Reading Accessible
Young readers often find they cannot access the stories they are interested in due to their reading level. Thus, audiobooks give children access to a broader selection of books – even those they may not be able to read independently.
For children with visual impairments, dyslexia, or other reading difficulties, audiobooks also offer an accessible alternative. In addition to the enjoyment of hearing a story, listening to audiobooks reduces the physical stress associated with reading.
6. Listening to Audiobooks Helps Children Strengthen Their Imagination
Listening to audiobooks allows children to practice visualizing what is happening in a story. Not only does this support a strong imagination, but it also helps to develop creativity.
7. The Benefits of Audiobooks Include the Development of Reading Comprehension Skills
Audiobooks for kids promote the development of fundamental comprehension skills. This includes asking questions, making inferences, visualizing, and making connections. These skills are foundational for understanding both spoken and written language.
Since audiobooks decrease cognitive load by minimizing the need to decode written words, children can focus on implementing and building upon learned comprehension strategies.
8. Audiobooks Promote a Love of Reading
Audiobooks can cultivate a love for stories and reading, especially among reluctant readers, by offering an enjoyable and accessible experience.
As mentioned, new readers are often limited to books they can read independently. However, audiobooks can open up a broader range of literature. Thus, motivating children to explore different book titles and genres. As a result, children can explore their interests and continue to develop their identities.
9. Listening to Audiobooks Inspires Writing Skills
In addition to helping kids develop strong reading skills, audiobooks also promote writing skills. For example, audiobooks expose children to new words and ideas. As a result, their vocabulary and critical thinking improve. In addition, hearing engaging stories inspires imagination and can promote an interest in creative writing.
10. The Benefits of Audiobooks Include Enhanced Cognitive Skills
Audiobooks can also enhance focus, attention, and memory by engaging children in auditory learning.
11. Audiobooks for Kids Promote Emotional and Moral Development
Many audiobooks and stories explore diverse emotions and situations. As a result, listening to audiobooks can aid in developing empathy, emotional intelligence, and social skills.
For example, these books that teach life lessons (some of which are audiobooks or read to me books) explore meaningful topics like inclusion, courage, and perseverance. Thus, exploring these stories with your child can promote valuable life skills.
12. Audiobook Benefits Include Stress Reduction
The act of listening can also be relaxing. Therefore, listening to audiobooks can reduce stress and provide mental well-being.
13. Listening to Audiobooks Encourages Critical Thinking
Engaging with complex narratives and diverse perspectives in audiobooks can also foster critical thinking and reflection.
14. The Benefits of Audiobooks Include Reduced Eye Strain
Unlike reading traditional books, audiobooks don’t strain the eyes. Thus, audiobooks can be physically beneficial, especially for children who spend prolonged periods on screens or reading.
As you can see, by offering an alternative way to access and enjoy literature, audiobooks can play a significant role in a child's holistic development.
In addition to the audiobook benefits listed above, audiobooks for kids have numerous benefits for students who struggle with reading. Let’s look at some of the most prevalent benefits of audiobooks for students struggling with reading.
Benefits of Audiobooks for Students Who Struggle with Reading
Does your child struggle with reading? If so, you might be wondering – can audiobooks help struggling readers? The answer is yes.
Students who struggle with reading are often reluctant to engage with text. In many cases, they are still building their confidence and learning to find joy in reading. Thus, by providing struggling readers with access to audiobooks, you can help them in many ways.
Here are some benefits of audiobooks for students who struggle with reading.
- Audiobooks allow struggling readers to hear what fluent reading sounds like. This helps them build the knowledge necessary to read on their own.
- Listening to text rather than reading it frees children from having to decode words. Therefore, they can focus on building an understanding of the text. This fundamental skill is essential to become a successful reader.
- Audiobooks provide access to a wider range of stories and topics. Listening to stories of interest can encourage struggling readers to read the print version of audiobooks they enjoy.
- Audiobooks can help students who struggle with reading build self-confidence by allowing them to enjoy stories without facing the challenges of reading. Improved self-confidence will encourage them to explore stories with text.
Looking for more strategies to support a struggling reader? Check out this article – How to Help a Child with Reading Difficulties.
Now that we’ve covered the various benefits of audiobooks for kids and students struggling to read, you’re probably wondering how audiobooks compare to reading. In other words, are audiobooks as good as reading? Let’s take a look.
Audiobooks vs Reading: Are Audiobooks as Good as Reading?
As a parent, you might contemplate – does listening to audiobooks count as reading? While there are differing views regarding audiobooks vs print books, many studies suggest that listening to audiobooks is equivalent to reading.
Audiobooks for kids undoubtedly provide a different experience than physical books. However, the same level of attention is required to comprehend the narrative and build meaning. Although audiobooks may not allow children to practice their decoding skills, studies have found that the same part of the brain is activated when reading words vs hearing words.
In addition, by reducing the cognitive load required to decode words, audiobooks allow children to focus on building their comprehension skills and developing background knowledge. By exposing them to new vocabulary and information, children are better equipped to improve their reading skills. In fact, strong connections have been found between listening comprehension skills and later reading achievement. Therefore, not only does listening to an audiobook count as reading, but it can also contribute to reading proficiency!
RECAP: There are many benefits to listening to audiobooks, including improved vocabulary, enhanced comprehension skills, emotional and moral development, stress reduction, and more. According to various studies, listening to audiobooks is just as valuable as reading.
Want to take advantage of the benefits of audiobooks? If so, you’re likely wondering - what are some good audio books for children? Let’s take a look.
Experience the Benefits of Audiobooks with Our Favorite Audiobooks for Kids
Below are some of our favorite audiobooks and read aloud books for kids.
Written by Darcy Pattison
Illustrated by Rich Davis
Slumber My Darling
Written by Stephen Foster
Illustrated by Beatriz Castro
Rosie the Ribeter
Written by Darcy Pattison
Illustrated by Nathaniel Gold
Want to see more of our favorite audiobooks and read aloud books? Check out our list of the top 10 best audiobooks for kids, plus 3 great family audiobooks!
Finally, how can you access audiobooks? Here’s where you can find audio books for kids.
How can my child listen to audiobooks?
You'll need the proper resources to allow your child to explore audiobooks. But is there an audio book app for kids? Yes! There are many audiobook apps for kids – and Booka is one of the best!
Booka is a one-stop shop for kids’ audiobooks and more. This reading app for kids offers numerous benefits for children and parents who are engaging in at-home reading. When you choose Booka, you gain access to exclusive and unique features. This includes Booka’s read-to-me function, which allows children to listen and follow along with the text of a story. With hundreds of books for all ages, using Booka to listen to audiobooks and read to me books is a no-brainer.
Provide your child with all the benefits of audiobooks and more – Download Booka Today!
Benefits of Audiobooks - FAQ
Have more questions about audiobooks for kids? The quick answers below can help!
Don’t see the answer to your question? Let us know; we'd happily answer it for you.
What are the benefits of sound books?
Sound books, also known as audiobooks, offer a range of benefits - especially for young listeners. They can enhance vocabulary, improve comprehension skills, and foster a love for reading by providing a dynamic and engaging experience. Furthermore, sound books, or audiobooks, are an excellent tool for language learning. That’s because they help instill a deep understanding of language nuances such as intonation, pacing, and expression.
What are the pros and cons of audiobooks?
While there are many benefits of audiobooks, they also have some disadvantages. Below is a list of the pros and cons of audiobooks.
- Audiobooks are accessible and convenient
- Allow for multitasking
- Can enhance story comprehension and retention
- Help expand vocabulary
- Provide an engaging and entertaining experience
- Reduce eye strain from screen time
- Distraction or loss of focus may be more likely
- Requires a device with battery power
- Not all book titles are available in an audiobook or read aloud format
- Lack of visual or tactile engagement
Are audiobooks just as good for your brain as reading?
Yes - like books, audiobooks for kids engage the brain - sometimes even more than reading. Listening to a well-narrated audiobook can stimulate the imagination and improve focus. Moreover, it activates the same areas of the brain that are used when reading text. This means listeners can enjoy similar cognitive benefits, such as improved vocabulary and language comprehension.
Do audiobooks count as reading?
Yes, audiobooks do count as reading! Children listening to an audiobook can enjoy a captivating story, learn new information, and build their vocabulary - just like when reading.
Audiobooks deliver the same content and storytelling as written texts, just through auditory means. They allow listeners to comprehend the narrative, engage with themes, develop language skills, and connect emotionally with characters, much like traditional reading. Additionally, audiobooks foster cognitive engagement, critical thinking, and an appreciation for literature. They also provide an inclusive learning experience, particularly for individuals with reading challenges, making literature more accessible. In essence, the core components of reading are present in both audiobooks and written texts.
Are audiobooks good for ADHD?
Audiobooks can be beneficial for individuals with ADHD. Listening to audiobooks allows individuals with ADHD to focus on the content without the potential distraction of decoding written words. Moreover, audiobooks can help hold the attention of individuals with ADHD by providing a dynamic and engaging way to access content. This is especially true if the audiobook is narrated in a captivating manner.
Do audiobooks help you sleep?
Many people find listening to audiobooks to be a relaxing activity before bed. That said, the effect of audiobooks on sleep varies from person to person. For kids, listening to audiobooks before bed is a much better option than scrolling through social media or playing games on a device.
Tips for promoting sleep with audiobooks:
- Choose audiobooks with soothing narration
- Avoid intense or thrilling content
Does listening to audiobooks count as screen time?
No - listening to audiobooks does not count as screen time, as it involves auditory engagement rather than visual. This means that kids can enjoy audiobooks without the adverse effects associated with prolonged screen exposure, such as eye strain.