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6 Reasons Audiobooks are an Awesome Teaching Tool For Struggling Readers

Do you have a struggling reader?

If you do, you know that when a child has difficulty reading, they tend to fall behind in other subjects as well.

That’s because instead of immersing themselves in the material, they’re spending all of their time and mental energy “decoding” the words — and, in that case, retention can’t happen.

When this happens continually, over a span of time, children often give up and stop trying in school.

They get so far behind that “catching up” feels like an impossible task.

When a child can read well, they can learn anything.

How can you help a child who struggles with reading?


Audiobooks are an underrated teaching tool that don’t always get the recognition they deserve.

Here are 6 reasons audiobooks are an incredible resource for struggling readers.

6 Reasons Audiobooks are an Awesome Teaching Tool For Struggling Readers

1. Audiobooks give background knowledge and broaden worldview.

A well-written audiobook has the ability to transport the listener to another time and place. This technology opens the door for kids to learn about other cultures — building empathy and understanding for those who have a lifestyle different from their own. Audiobooks can help give context to a subject being studied in school or simply bring new perspective to a child with a limited worldview.

2. Audiobooks increase word exposure, thereby expanding vocabulary and improving comprehension.

Reading, in any form, can help a person — child or adult — expand their vocabulary and improve their comprehension. But when a child struggles with reading, hearing books on audio offers a similar benefit. In fact, hearing words pronounced properly and used in their correct context is more effective than reading in print for some children — particularly, auditory learners.

3. Audiobooks remove working-memory deficit and reduce anxiety related to “decoding” printed words on a page.

Until a child is a proficient reader, they’re “learning to read” vs. “reading to learn”. When struggling to read, they aren’t retaining the material. Instead, they’re spending all of their mental energy “decoding” the words on the page. Audiobooks allow kids to relax and absorb the material without the anxiety of deciphering the printed words in a book. Combined with the points above, particularly the fact that audiobooks increase word exposure and improve comprehension, this teaching tool sets kids up to become successful readers.

4. Audiobooks develop grade-level appropriate content knowledge.

When a child has difficulty reading age-appropriate content, they often get “left behind” as they don’t have the same access to on-level study materials as their peers. Audiobooks give the child back hours of their time, as well as the ability to absorb the same information as their classmates — albeit via a different medium. Allowing an audiobook accommodation boosts a child’s self-esteem and increases their participation in class. No longer will they be left behind because of a struggle reading words in print.

5. Audiobooks allow for academic independence and give better access to educational materials.

As mentioned above, struggling readers often have difficulty accessing grade-level appropriate content without one-on-one help from a teacher or tutor. This one-on-one help isn’t always available and when it isn’t, students fall behind. Audiobooks allow kids to obtain the information they need, on their own terms, through a medium they can more easily digest. This gives kids educational independence and the ability to achieve academic success.

6. Audiobooks provide the opportunity to read purely for pleasure.

There’s nothing quite like curling up on the couch with a good book on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Kids who have difficulty reading may not find pleasure in this simple pastime because of the anxiety — see point #2 — that comes from struggling to decode words in print. Thanks to technology, audiobooks are readily available on any smart device with a few quick taps. Often narrated by a talented cast of voice actors, audiobooks bring back the sweet memories of being read to as a child. Listening to a book in audio form takes the pressure off of a struggling reader and allows the story to be enjoyed for enjoyment’s sake.

Recommended Audiobooks for Kids of All Ages

Here are a few recommendations, broken down by age, to get you started.

Ages 3-5

  1. Mr. Poggle & Scamp Riddle Soup
  2. The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog
  3. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat
  4. Duck on a Bike
  5. Clifford’s Pals
  6. Whistle for Willie
  7. Chicken Little
  8. Miss Nelson is Missing
  9. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type
  10. Hi! Fly Guy

Ages 6-8

  1. Through the Mickle Woods
  2. Books of Dragons
  3. Little Miss President
  4. Action Sports
  5. The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body
  6. Captain Underpants
  7. Ninjago
  8. Geronimo Stilton
  9. Bink & Gollie
  10. Word Girl

Ages 9-12

  1. My Life in Dioramas
  2. Gordon Korman Hypnotists
  3. Chronicles of the Red King
  4. Secrets of a Lab Rat
  5. I Survived
  6. Seriously, Norman!
  7. Upside Down Magic
  8. Allie Finkle
  9. The Battle of Darcy Lane
  10. Game Changers

We’re all ears!

What are your favorite audiobooks to enjoy with your kids? We’d love to hear from you! Find us on all our social platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest – or email us at

Amy Thetford

Amy Thetford

Amy is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom to her tribe of tiny humans. She's fueled by coffee and the desire to do ALL. THE. THINGS. She blogs about all things motherhood at