With summer in full swing, many folks are taking family road trips and vacations, or looking for new ways to keep out-of-school children occupied and engaged at home. One great solution is to check out some awesome audiobooks from your local DPL branch!

This alternative format is a big hit for keeping kids occupied during long trips or on hot summer days, as well as helping kids who may not be completely comfortable with reading independently to enjoy the experience of books. While it may seem somewhat counterintuitive, audiobooks actually promote children’s  literacy. They do this by modeling correct pronunciation and fluent reading, expanding vocabulary, offering children with differing abilities and learning styles the opportunity to get engaged with books, and, most importantly, improving children’s listening skills.

The ability to listen and comprehend is a fundamental ability that has been found to be an important predictor of school success, and children are generally able to understand audiobooks that are about 2-3 grade-levels above what they can read independently. This is because their “listening vocabulary” is always more advanced than their knowledge of words in print, so audiobooks are a great way to expose children to books that they would never think to pick up on their own.

Try popping in one of these excellent audiobooks as an alternative to a DVD, TV show, or video game, and watch as your child becomes immersed in the wonderful world of children’s literature!

- For preschool listeners, check out audiobooks from classic children’s authors, like The Cat in the Hat and Other Dr. Seuss Favorites, Berenstain Bears' Stories, and Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook by Shel Silverstein.

- For early elementary school kids, try classics like The Bunnicula Collection by James Howe or Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, or modern favorites like The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osbourne, the Henry Huggins books by Beverly Cleary, and the Geronimo Stilton series (by none other than Geronimo Stilton himself).

- For upper elementary schoolers, some favorites are Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, Holes by Louis Sachar, the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan, and the Bartimaeus novels by Jonathan Stroud.

Written by Gigi on July 18, 2012


Jinnie on July 18, 2012


I listened to some very good audio books for kids this year. Among the top I can recommend are The City of Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau, A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray by Ann Martin, and Eva Ibbotson's One Dog and His Boy. Not only are all the stories compelling, but the readers on these audio books are outstanding.


Hi Jinnie, thanks very much for your comment and for your book suggestions. Thanks also for pointing out how important a good reader is in enhancing the quality of an audiobook. A wonderful book can be ruined by a poor reader, or vice versa. The quality of the reader(s) is something we definitely take into consideration when reviewing and recommending audiobooks to our customers. - Gigi

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