In our homeschooling life, not only have we enjoyed exploring traditional books together, but over the years, we have discovered the many amazing benefits of audiobooks in homeschooling as well.
One of my favorite parts of the homeschool day is reading books with my kids. I truly love this part of being a homeschool mom! I may struggle with getting down in the floor and playing with my kids as often as I feel like I should, but I sure do love reading with them – yes, even the older ones!
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Throughout different seasons of parenting, this scenario has been adjusted to accommodate the ages and stages of my kids, but reading great children’s books together has consistently been a steady and certain rhythm in our homeschool journey.
When it comes to the use of audiobooks, sometimes homeschool parents have mixed feelings about whether or not to incorporate them into their homeschooling routines or how to easily and effectively do so.
Whether it be for independent reading or whole family read-aloud time, many homeschooling families have stuck with typical hardcopy books. In more recent years, though, some families have branched out to embrace the idea of electronic books that they and/or their children can read on an device. Oftentimes these too can be easily borrowed from a local library.
Sometimes, however, audiobooks are left out of the equation, and there truly are great benefits to using them in your learning environment.
Maybe a parent wonders if audiobooks will really help their children learn. Or maybe a homeschooling family isn’t sure they have time to incorporate one more educational resource into their learning life.
The truth is that there are plenty of educational benefits that good audiobooks can bring to your homeschool, and it’s actually quite simple to incorporate them into your learning lifestyle.
I’m going to give you a glimpse into how we use resources like this in our home. Sure, many of the benefits may not be recognized right away, but as kids are listening to the audiobooks, they are learning many educational and valuable lessons.
Are audiobooks better than traditional books?
I’m definitely not saying that audiobooks are better than traditional books. For me personally, I prefer to hold an actual book in my hand. Turning the pages is a whole experience for me that I want my kids to know and love as well. I’m simply wanting to encourage you to consider how audiobooks have their own benefits and could be a great option for your homeschool family.
What are the benefits of using audiobooks in your homeschool?
Let’s first look at some ways audiobooks can help children learn valuable skills that will set them up for reading success!
Audiobooks help improve your child’s literacy skills.
As children are listening to the narrator and engaging with the story, they can pick up on foundational literacy skills such as vocabulary, pronunciation, and fluency.
As they listen to the story, your student will be introduced to a variety of new vocabulary words. They will also become more aware of how different words are pronounced. Kids learn a lot by hearing someone speak, and they can quickly pick up new words that way. This can be especially beneficial for struggling readers.
When it comes to vocabulary, even though they may not be actually seeing the words they hear, it might gets them thinking about what the word means and how it is spelled. They may ask you for the definition or think about the different syllables and ways to spell the word.
I love how audiobooks oftentimes allows kids to be introduced books that may be above their independent reading abilities. There have been times when my kids have followed along with the hard copy version of a book as they listen to the audio format of a story. I’ve seen this be an excellent option for some children.
Audiobooks help build critical listening skills.
When you listen to audiobooks, you are analyzing different scenarios and making judgments about things that are happening. What a fantastic opportunity for your kids to ask questions about important themes resulting in important family discussions. Critical listening skills are so important for young children to learn and will serve them well as they grow in wisdom and stature.
Audiobooks can help improve memory and focus.
To be able to remember something well, you need to be focused on what is being read to you. As kids are listening to the story and following the characters through various adventures, their brain is being stimulated and their memory skills are being strengthened. These things are happening without them even realizing it.
They will have to practice staying focused so that they can keep up with the story. As they practice the skill of focusing, this can make a huge difference when it comes to maintaining concentration as they get older.
They offer an option for children with visual impairments.
For children who have reading disorders like dyslexia or visual impairments, audiobooks can be a tremendous blessing. For students with reading disabilities, just the thought of reading a physical book can cause anxiety and frustration. Audiobooks remove that pressure and relieve anxiety so they can focus more! It allows them to be more tuned in to the events of the story, vocabulary/concepts, strengthening comprehension skills, etc. without the frustration.
A listening option like audiobooks are, in general, good news for those of us who are parents of children with special needs. Of course we always want to consider each individual child and how they learn best.
Audiobooks encourage kids to use their imagination.
As children listen to audiobooks, their mind creates a visual of the story. They’re able to imagine the setting of the story as well as how the events of the story are unfolding. Allowing their imagination to go to work will help them as they grow in their ability to think creatively.
You may even want to invite your children to draw as they’re listening to the story. They may choose to draw what they are imagining from the story – a great way to build comprehension. However, they may choose to draw unrelated objects. Did you know this free-draw option can also aid in their understanding of what they’re listening to while they draw?
Sometimes my kids play with play dough or Silly Putty while they’re listening. Try it! It’s amazing how the brain works!
Listening to audiobooks can help learners relax.
Listening to someone tell you a story is relaxing. Hearing a story read by a good narrator will help relax your homeschooler. Think of it as being like reading them bedtime stories at night when they were younger. It was the perfect way to wind down and relax after a busy day. Maybe you still do this with your children!
They can enjoy the story anywhere.
Thanks to technology, audiobooks can be enjoyed just about anywhere you can take a handheld device. This means you don’t have to travel with any extra gadgets. Kids can listen to a story no matter where they are.
These are just a few of the benefits of introducing audiobooks into your homeschool. Can you think of others?
Maybe you have voracious readers in your home and you know audiobooks played a role in their passion for reading! You already know what a great tool they can be, but you’re looking for some fresh ideas for an easier way to include them in your family’s homeschool life. No worries! I’ve got ya covered, friend.
How and When Can I Incorporate Audiobooks into Our Homeschool Day?
Listen during mealtimes.
That’s right, your kiddos could get warmed up for the day while listening to an audio drama over breakfast. Or maybe they would enjoy hearing the audio version of their favorite story read to them during snack time. How about while they’re eating lunch? Do you have a child who is especially restless while reading together? Maybe they’re a reluctant reader or you notice they simply have a hard time focusing? Capturing their attention during a meal time may be the perfect solution.
Listen during rest times.
Maybe you have younger children who take afternoon naps. Or perhaps you have older kids who spend an hour or so each day having a quiet time/free time. We have found calming music and audio dramas to be great listening options for this time of day. This down time is usually in the afternoon at our house. A perfect time for a good story!
Listen at bed time.
If your child is an early riser, they could listen first thing in the morning. While playing quietly in their room, they could press play on a great story. For our family, bedtime has probably been our favorite option. We have found this to be one of the best ways for our kids to wind down in the evenings.
Listen on road trips.
With both sides of our family living out of state, we find ourselves in the minivan quite often. Long road trips are simply a part of life for us! What a perfect opportunity to engage with great stories! Do you find yourself spending a lot of time on the road? Maybe you’re transporting older children to and from activities or, like us, visiting out-of-town family and friends. You can turn that travel time into school time, and your kids most likely won’t even notice! What an excellent way to embrace a true lifestyle of living and learning together.
Audiobook Ideas Your Family May Love
- The Chronicles of Narnia Radio Theater – I’ve highlighted this resource here. It is such a beautiful set, making it a really amazing gift idea.
- The Green Ember Series in Audio Format – I have included this book series in this list of our favorite chapter books. The audio format is available with Kindle Unlimited as well as with Audible.
- Stories that Bring your History Book to Life – For example, we love this history series from Adventures in Odyssey.
- Adventures in Odyssey Streaming Club – This provides our family with unlimited access to Adventures in Odyssey stories! I highly recommend this option, and my kids would wholeheartedly do the same.
- Jonathan Park – I include more about these here in a list of our family’s favorite faith-based resources to use in our homeschooling.
- Playaways – These are a great option for young kids! I share more about these here. I’m hoping your local public library offers these as well!