Do You Hear What I Hear? Listening to Audio Books with Preschoolers and Beginning Readers

Audio books come in various forms today.  You can download a book to your computer or PDA or you can listen the old fashioned way – by CD.  Either way audio books are a fantastic resource for pre- and emergent readers.  Children’s listening comprehension surpasses their reading ability when they are beginning readers.  Audio books provide many benefits to children at this stage in their literacy development.

Among the benefits of audio books:

  • Improved listening skills – If you are able to provide headphones for your child as they listen to a book being read, you are more likely to help your child block out distractions and focus solely on listening to the story.
  • Increased comprehension and vocabulary – Audio books are read by professionals who are able to use their voice to emphasize words and allow children to make meaning as they listen.
  • Visualization – Children are able to make pictures in their minds of the book as they listen (if they don’t have a copy to follow along with).   As children visualize, they are making meaning of the text.  Visualization is an important comprehension strategy that children will continue to use as they begin to read independently.
  • Fluency – As children follow along in the book and read aloud, they are building their fluency.  In order for children to become independent readers, they must be fluent readers.
  • Independent reading skills – By listening to audio books and following along in their own copy, children learn the skills that independent readers employ to read and comprehend text.

Consider purchasing (or checking out from the library) several audio books for your child.  Your child will be motivated to read and you’ll likely see a difference in your child’s reading ability.

Some of our favorites:

Frog and Toad CD Audio Collection

Little Bear Audio CD Collection: Little Bear, Father Bear Comes Home, Little Bear’s Friend, Little Bear’s Visit, and A Kiss for Little Bear

Brown Bear & Friends CD

Lilly’s Big Day and Other Stories CD: 9 Stories

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

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3 Responses to “Do You Hear What I Hear? Listening to Audio Books with Preschoolers and Beginning Readers”

  1. Dawn Riccardi Morris Says:

    You timed this post perfectly! With a school vacation coming up for many children across the USA, families can really benefit from listening to audio books together during long car trips.

    You listed many wonderful benefits, and I love the key words “block out distractions” and “focus.” What a way to build attention span and relieve stress at the same time!

  2. Piña Madera Says:

    Thanks for this post. I’m wondering if skipping the visual help of books is recommended to help build their visualization skills? And could you speak to the benefits of singable books–that use songs as the text of the book?


    • Links to Literacy Says:

      I think if you have a child whose fluency is emerging or is fluent, then you can skip using the book every once in a while to help build their visualization skills. I would not do this for children who are still working on their fluency. As for books that use songs as the text, I would think that these types of books would be particularly helpful for your pre-readers. Just as singing songs helps build pre-literacy skills, following along with a book of songs would aid children in rhyming which is a precursor to phonetics.

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