Listening to audiobooks and podcasts offers many benefits for both kids and families. Benefits include a positive impact on language and literacy development as well as opportunities for parent-child bonding.
Here are 8 reasons for incorporating listening to audio into your child's daily routines:
1. Builds listening stamina
Listening to audiobooks and podcasts builds listening skills and stamina and helps kids build their capacity to listen and focus for longer periods of time as they grow. Start with 5-to-7 minute short stories & podcast episodes for the youngest listeners in your house or classroom and build over time to chapter books and novels.
2. Develops critical thinking
Whether your kids are reading a book or listening to audio stories & podcasts, a huge benefit of engaging with stories is that they help develop critical thinking and comprehension skills. Engage your kids in retelling and sharing what they are listening to, have them recap their favorite part of the story and ask them questions about the characters and plot to support their understanding of the story being told. Have conversations about what you are listening to together as a family or classroom.
3. Improves vocabulary
Exposure to new vocabulary comes with independent reading, reading aloud, and listening to audio stories. Podcasts and audiobooks can be a way of introducing stories and non-fiction content above your child's current reading level so that more complex stories and vocabulary can be introduced and enjoyed. Your child will benefit from the introduction to new and varied vocabulary without the frustration of not yet being able to read it himself.
4. Sparks the imagination
Listening to audio sparks children's imaginations, the same way that reading does. Kids use their imaginations to conjure the images of the story and its characters as the telling unfolds.
5. Models language fluency
Exposure to many different narrators and hosts gives kids a great understanding of how a story-teller can bring a story to life with voice inflections, humor, drama, and varied cadence. Every narrator brings something a little bit different to the telling of a story – and listening to a variety of narrators models for kids how to read with flair and confidence and how to create unique voices for characters and storylines when they read, or read aloud, on their own.
6. Makes books accessible
Podcasts and audiobooks help make stories and information accessible to kids of all different reading levels and stages of reading and learning. New and emergent readers, fluent readers, and struggling readers can enjoy stories and benefit from strengthening all of the skills in the list above by listening to audio.
7. Promotes quality time together
Listening together is a great way to bond as a family. When my boys were little, we listened to stories together both at home and on car trips. There were many times when we ran from the car to the house to tune back into a story that had us on the edge of our seats. Now they are teens and we still listen together (maybe not as often as when they were little) mostly to podcasts while we're cooking or driving in the car. Listening together provides great jumping-off points for new conversations.
8. Provides flexibility
Listening means heads are up and hands are free and it gives kids opportunities to tinker, build, draw, cook, or move while they listen - something screen time can't do. And, listening to stories and podcasts is a more mobile form of entertainment - whether at home, in the classroom, in the car or on the go - kids can listen wherever they are.
Podcasts and audiobooks to get you started
Check out our recent lists of curated content by themes, genres, and topics!
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- 15 Podcasts that Will Engage Your Kids When You Need Time for Yourself
You can find more tips, podcast and audiobook listening lists for every age, and printable activities that extend the listening experience beyond the podcast or audiobook and more ideas from Pinna here: https://pinna.fm/teachers/additional-resources
We’re all ears!