Are audiobooks as good as reading? See why, plus our top audio picks below.
While nothing beats the joys of getting swept up in the written word, the benefits of audiobooks for young learners are well documented. Traditional texts do give kids a chance to practice decoding words visually, but there are also plenty of good reasons to make audiobooks part of your kids’ daily reading routine.
Pre-readers can hone their listening comprehension skills and access titles they’re not ready to grasp through reading alone. Audible narration and fun sound effects also bring stories to life for older kids, and the spoken word (and the right books) can hold the same power to open up their imaginations as physical books.
Audiobooks are also great for kids who struggle with challenges like learning English as a second language, dyslexia and other possible roadblocks on their reading journey. Plus, let’s face it. A lot of kids are just more auditory learners, and that’s just fine!
So Are Audiobooks as Good as Reading?
We think so! Here are just a few of our favorites for kids of all ages.
By Audrey and Don Wood
Ages: 4 & under
A menagerie of animals are all dozing in this house—but will something put an end to their peaceful slumber? At the top of our list of best audiobooks for toddlers is “The Napping House.” This beloved and best-selling board book from Audrey and Don Wood has been sending little ones off to bed with laughter and sweet dreams for over 20 years. Great for bed or just quiet time, it’s filled with delightful repetition, rhyme and descriptive words that help develop the language skills they’ll need to start reading.
By Philip C. Stead
Every day Amus the zookeeper takes good care of his animal friends, until one day when he has to take a sick day. So the animals decide it’s their turn to take care of him! Endearing and warm, this audio version of the beloved children’s book will give your little ones warm and fuzzies while showing them the value of taking care of others in times of need.
By Mike Thaler
In this installment from the outrageously funny “Black Lagoon” series, main character Hubie must face yet another fear: the librarian! During his first trip to the school library, he meets fearsome librarian Mrs. Beamster, a.k.a. the “Laminator.” Rumor has it, if she catches you whispering, you’re laminated! Find out how Hubie wins the day.
By: Melissa Stewart
This Read-To-Me version of the fascinating nonfiction title from National Geographic Kids is packed with fascinating details about the infamous ill-fated journey of the Titanic, told in ways that make sense to kids. Filled with brilliant photographs and exclusive in-depth coverage, this book tells all about the powerful ship, the tragic sinking and the decades-later exploration of the wreckage.
By: Dav Pilkey
In the first book in this #1 New York Times bestselling series by “Dog Man” author and illustrator Dav Pilkey, hilarious grossness ensues when a pair of 4th-grade best friends invent the wedgie-powered superhero Captain Underpants.
The only thing that class clowns George and Harold love more than jokes and pranks is making comic books, and that’s when they invent the greatest superhero in the history of their elementary school: Captain Underpants.
Faster than a speeding waistband! More powerful than boxer shorts! He can leap tall buildings without getting a wedgie. In other words, he’s the perfect hero to serve up plenty of giggles for kids in this age group.
If your kid enjoys this first book, they’ll love other books in the series available on Epic, including “Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Killer Toilet” and “Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants.”
By: Lauren Tarshis
Many of us adults remember where we were when the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place. But for kids who are too young to have firsthand memories of this tragic day, this gripping addition to the I Survived series shows the chilling events through the eyes of a young boy.
It’s a beautiful day in late summer and instead of getting on the bus to go to school, Lucas takes a train to New York to visit his favorite person, Uncle Benny. But just as Lucas arrives at his uncle’s fire station, a plane crashes into one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, the twin towers, and Lucas must find his family amid the chaos.
Here are a few more recommendations off of our platform, all available as free audiobooks or picture books on Amazon Kindle.
A Wrinkle in Time
By: Madeleine L’Engle
Meg’s father, a gifted scientist, is being imprisoned by evil forces from another planet. This science fiction classic follows high-school kid Meg Murry, as she and her brother Charles and friend Calvin travel through time and space to rescue him. This is an ideal choice for fans of other time-traveling books like the Magic Treehouse series.
By Roald Dahl
Matilda is different from her family. In fact, she’s different from everybody. The magic surrounding this brilliant yet relatable character has captivated children for generations. The audio version narrated by Kate Winslet is sure to mesmerize listeners—whether they’re new to the story or already a fan. If your kid loves “Matilda,” check out other audio stories by Roald Dahl like James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Fifth-grade Auggie Pullman is an ordinary kid with an extraordinary face. So going from being homeschooled to a mainstream public school for the first time won’t be easy. He just wants to be treated like everyone else, but it’s hard for his classmates to get past his abnormal facial features. This critically acclaimed graphic novel will teach your kid the importance of empathy, compassion and appreciating one another’s differences.
Like these picks? For more of our picks for kids of all ages, check out our post: “Best Audiobooks for Kids.” You can also find lots of high-quality podcasts packed with fun kid-focused audio formats of popular books.