Lately, when I’ve been the passenger during a long car ride, I’ve been listening to The Moth Radio Hour (www.themoth.org), where “true stories are told live.” I love hearing the excitement in a storyteller’s voice as I follow the arc of a story. I can’t help imagining the characters, picturing the scenes, and anticipating what will happen next.
Thinking about my own delight in hearing these audio stories led me to start thinking about classrooms where storytelling, story reading, and story listening skills are emphasized. I started investigating the availability of free audio books for kids—a wonderful resource to use to build so many important standards-based skills.
For example, audio books can help to
- develop fluency skills by hearing stories read aloud, and then reading along with the narrator
- discriminate sounds to build phonics skills by listening to the words as they appear in print
- visualize the text to foster comprehension
- stimulate imagination for writing
- share reactions to the story online
- have access to books and classics above a student’s reading level
- participate in reading activities even if struggling to understand the written text.
A Google search easily yields many websites that offer teachers, parents, and students free audio books. Below is a beginning list of curated sites for you to explore. You’ll see that across these sites, most of the audio books have accompanying text, offer an opportunity to comment, and provide links to additional instructional activities.
- MeeGenius www.meegenius.com
- Storynory www.storynory.com
- Online Talking Stories http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/interactive/onlinestory.htm
- Storyline Online http://www.storylineonline.net/
- Children's Storybooks http://www.magickeys.com/books/
- Books Should Be Free http://www.loyalbooks.com/
- Best Free Audio Books Online For Children
- Children's Free Audio Books | Audiobook Treasury www.audiobooktreasury.com/free-audiobooks/childrens/
- Kids Books with Audio. www.astorybeforebed.com/storytime
- Audio Books For Free http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/browse/Childrens
Check out PowerUp WHAT WORKS www.powerupwhatworks.org, particularly the ELA Instructional Strategy Guide titled, “Fluency,” http://powerupwhatworks.org/strategy-guide/fluency As you review the evidence-based strategies, Lesson in Action, short video, and resources, consider ways in which a free technology tool, audio books, can enhance teaching and learning.