Benefits of audiobooks for kids

Listening to stories read aloud helps build an understanding of narrative structure as it fosters imagination and encourages visualization—skills linked to improved reading comprehension.


By Carolyn James, Ph.D.

LeapFrog Literacy Expert

As the literacy development expert on LeapFrog’s Learning Team, Carolyn ensures that the curricular design in LeapFrog products is grounded in the latest educational research. Before joining LeapFrog, Carolyn was a reading professor at Sacramento State University, a curriculum developer for the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, and a teacher in the San Francisco bay area. She earned her doctorate in educational psychology at Michigan State University.

The availability of audiobooks for children has skyrocketed in the last few years, and it’s exciting to note that time spent with audio-based children’s books can have important educational benefits. Although there is no denying the value of enjoying print on a page or touchscreen, children also benefit from listening to text read aloud. 

With audiobooks, children hear models of fluent reading. That is, they hear an accurate reading of the text set at an appropriate pace with plenty of expression. Exposure to models of fluent reading has been shown to have a positive impact on children’s oral reading fluency. Audiobooks also allow children access to text that may be above their individual reading level, exposing them to more sophisticated vocabulary and sentence structure. 

Audiobooks beneficial for struggling readers

This can be especially beneficial for struggling readers who may need an extra boost to stick with it as the books they are able to read on their own may contain more basic sentences and storylines. While it’s important for children to engage with books written at their independent reading level as they build phonics and word recognition skills, it’s equally important for them to experience the rich vocabulary and language in more complex texts. 

Listening to stories read aloud helps build an understanding of narrative structure as it fosters imagination and encourages visualization—skills linked to improved reading comprehension. And perhaps most importantly, children’s audiobooks have the potential to reinforce the notion that reading is a pleasurable lifelong activity. 

Even without a book in hand, children can use LeapReader™ to enjoy audiobooks that provide access to more challenging text to help build oral vocabulary, practice visualizing what they hear, and develop listening comprehension skills for overall reading comprehension. In addition, music and trivia challenges add to the listening and learning experience. 

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Learn more about LeapReader audiobooks. 

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