'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Librarian's Shelf: The Audio Experience

Instead of reading a story to your children at bedtime, have you ever thought about listening to one? Audio books can be expensive to buy, but your local public library has plenty!

Audio books bring benefits that are just as important as those of print books. Children will encounter new words and improve their listening skills, learning how tone can change meaning. They will expand their imagination and comprehension, and discover subjects that will initiate discussion of the world around them. Listening to a story, children are likely to hear things they won’t see when they read it. Books for all ages are available in audio book format, and their narrators are often actors who bring a new perspective to the story.

Some audio books come packaged with a print book, which makes it possible for children to follow along. Be aware though, that sometimes they will be abridged versions of the original story, so if the full version is something you’re particular about, be sure to check that before you begin.

There have of course been format changes to match the advance of technology. The years of cassette tape audio books have long gone, with libraries offering stories on CD, and more often these days, downloadable audio books are also available to library members – usually part of an eBook service.

Audio books are also great for travel. In the car the whole family can listen and enjoy the story, and while travelling by air, listening to stories can be entertainment as well as a routine and calming experience for young children.

So next time you’re looking for a different reading experience, why not visit the library and choose an audio experience?

Sarah Steed is our Consultant Librarian and reviewer. A former Children's and Young Adult Librarian, she has more than 18 years' experience working in public libraries. Sarah comes from a family of readers and has shelves full to bursting with books.