Whether you're planning a road trip or simply looking for a great way to keep your children occupied on a rainy day, there are plenty of free audio book downloads for kids available online. Use these resources to help encourage a love of reading.
Choosing Audio Books
When selecting audio books for your children, the process is much the same as what you'd use to evaluate other forms of children's literature.
- How long is the audio book? The younger your child, the shorter the story should be.
- What is the age group recommendation? It's true that these recommendations are only a general guide, but they are still a good starting point for choosing audio books that will hold your child's interest.
- Does the story relate to a topic of interest to your child? Just as when you're choosing regular books to read with your child, it's helpful to choose audio books that tap into your child's interests. Athletes love to hear sports stories, while animal lovers might enjoy books about children and their pets.
- Who is the narrator? When choosing audio books, you want a story read by someone who speaks as expressively as possible. Many well-known actors have actually recorded audio books for children, so keep this in mind as you're looking for stories.
If possible, consider making a trip to your local library to check out the printed versions of your child's favorite audio books. Have them follow along with the story to help build reading comprehension skills.
Finding Free Audio Book Downloads for Kids
To begin your search for free audio book downloads for kids, LoveToKnow Children's Books recommends visiting the following helpful Web sites:
- Kids Learn Out Loud is a portal for educational audio and video content for children and teenagers. Many of the items must be purchased, but there are a fair number of free samples available for interested visitors.
- Story Nory has a large assortment of audio stories for children, although the site's main emphasis appears to be fairy tales. If you subscribe to their iTunes feed, it's easy to download new stories to your child's iPod.
- Robert Munsch, popular children's author, provides audio versions of his books for the enjoyment of his young fans.
- Kiddie Records features children's stories from the 1940s and 1950s.
- Free Books has a section of its site devoted to free audio books for children.
- Light Up Your Brain has a small assortment of audio stories for children, ranging from five minutes to just under one hour in length.
- LibriVox offers free audio book downloads of stories that are in the public domain. This is a good resource for classic literature and Bible stories for your children.
Although it appears the files can't be saved to your computer, you may also want to check out Tumble Books. This resource from the New York Public Library features many great stories for children, including Winnie-the-Pooh and The Wizard of Oz. You can add "bookmarks" when listening to the audio online if you don't have time to complete the whole story in one sitting. A similar service, offered on a slightly smaller scale, can be found on the Highlights Kids Web site.
Check Your Local Library
When looking for free audio book downloads for kids, you're typically limited to materials that are either in the public domain or have been released for distribution by the author as part of a promotional effort. However, many public libraries are starting to offer services with free audio book downloads of newly published titles for patrons with valid library cards. You can essentially "rent" an audio file for a specified time, just as you would check out a library book. If your children love listening to audio books, ask your librarian if this option is available in your community.