MENU

Hit the Road with Great Listening

Hit the road with a supply of audio books to listen together as a family. It will be a fun way to spend your time as a “captive audience”.

The following content is brought to you, in part, by Greathall Productions:

Are you hitting the road this week? Before you head out of Dodge, I highly suggest picking up some audio books to listen to as a family.

I know, the kids have a DVD player or handheld games, but really? Listening to an audio story is tons of fun! It’s a shared experience that doubles as a great way to while away the miles on a long road trip.

Read Listen to a Story Together

This fall the kids and I have done a fair amount of driving during the week. With science classes, piano lessons, swim lessons, and hockey practices and games, I’ve given my car a workout. Since I didn’t want to waste time while on the road, we’ve begun a practice called “carschooling”.

We do school in the car. This might mean that we haul grammar and math books with us to work on during our stops. While I’m driving, we listen to great literature on audio. This has been a fabulous experience for all of us. Every age has been entertained and enlightened as we listen to The Adventures of Robin Hood or follow along with The Story of the World, a set we purchased for our history curriculum.

Many of these CDs we are listening to are narrated by master storyteller Jim Weiss. The kids and I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to  his soothing voice as we drive hither and yon this fall.

I loaded the files onto our ipods as well as stashed some CDs in the car. Jim’s is now a familiar voice to my children — and to me! I hear him telling tales in several bedrooms after lights out. The kids are falling to sleep to these great stories.

Even my twelve year old is fascinated by the tales, going so far as smuggling the CD out of the car and into his room to find out the ending of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Another favorite has been King Arthur and His Knights. Sir Percival just cracks us up.

My plan is to buy the kids a CD for each of their stockings this Christmas. These CDs are that well-loved at our house!

Introduce your kids to great literature.

As a former English teacher, I love it that even my youngest children are becoming familiar with classic tales. This means that when they encounter the literature at an older age, they will already know the story line and concepts of the plot. They’ll be better able to understand more subtle nuances of the piece because they’re not trying so hard to “get” the actual story.

Our family has always loved a good family read-aloud. Yet, sometimes the family reader isn’t able to read because he’s driving, cooking in the kitchen, or doing some other activity to prevent it.

We have often purchased some of our favorite novels, like The Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia on audio. It’s been a great way to share a story when no adult or advanced reader is able to read to us together. I wasn’t familiar with Jim Weiss and Greathall Productions until recently, but they have become fast favorites.

How to Make Audio Books Work at Your House

Here are some quick tips to make audio listening easier for your family:

Keep a few CDs in the car at all times.

If it’s a CD we own, we usually burn a copy so that the original doesn’t get trashed in the car. Ahem. But, often there isn’t time for that, so we take our chances.

Load files onto iPods, iPads and phones.

In the old days, hubby and I invested in Gen 2 iPods. We still have them, though our iPad and iPhone make them a little obsolete. Rather than ditch them, they are ideal to let the kids use. You can even buy these “outdated devices” for less than $40 on eBay.

We have docking stations, including a homemade version, in three rooms and a number of ear buds to enable easy listening.

Check out what your library has.

You’ll be amazed at the selection of audio CDs. We’ve experienced so much variety in listening thanks to our local library.

Play stories and music during breakfast, at naps, or at bedtime.

Audio books are great to play during quieter times of the day. Choosing good stories means you’re filling your kids minds with great vocabulary and good thoughts.

Talk about the stories during and after listening.

You’ll be amazed at how much your kids absorb from listening to stories and music. Discuss the plot and events with them. Talk about the things that they liked or disliked about the story.

Go get the real books and read them together.

Once your family is familiar with the story in audio form, go get the real book to read together. There are plenty of children’s versions of Shakespeare or other classics, so you don’t have to read the “real” one to your kindergartner. Find the picture books of the classics or abridged versions for older readers and explore the same literature in another format.

Clearly, I’m a fan of audio books. How about you?

Do YOU have a favorite “book on tape”?

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored partnership between myself and Greathall Productions. I have received sample products and have been compensated for my time spent writing but my opinions are my own. These are fabulous CDs.

Would you rather subscribe by RSS?
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post

Comments

  1. Do you listen to these stories more than once?

  2. Nothing. Nothing beats Hank the Cowdog. I may have been known to listen to Hank the Cowdog when I am alone in the car. Maybe. :)

  3. I absolutely LOVE audio books and they’re the primary way I read. I listen to them at work when I’m doing that sort of busy work where only your hands and about 5% of your brain are needed and I listen to them during my 30 min commute. I regularly read over 60 books/yr this way and I’m always trying to convert people. ;) One of my all time favorites is A Girl of the Limberlost. I also LOVE Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and anything by Maeve Binchy.

    My daughter has recently been having a hard time settling in for the night and I want to start introducing her to audio books to help this transition. Some you mention sound like a great start. I’m also hoping to find The Indian in the Cupboard and maybe some of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books for her.

  4. Here’s another great resource for audiobooks: http://www.booksshouldbefree.com. All of their books are public domain, and the recordings are free to download. I work as a teacher and have to split my time between 3 schools each day because of small numbers of students in my area of expertise. To make the driving pass more enjoyably, and to enrich myself, I often get hubby to load a book from Books Should Be Free onto the i-Pod which docks in the car. I’ve gotten to listen to some great classics that I’ve never read.

  5. We listened to auidio books that I borrowed from the library on our last long roadtrip (think: one leg was 29hrs!!) we enjoyed listening to Ivy and Bean :) Even Daddy didn’t mind that one! He was less of a fan of the Geronimo Stilton ones ;) We also love love loved Audrey Hepburn reading fairy tales. Listened to them at night – a teensy bit “scary” – her voice is so terrific! I honestly never thought of looking into who the “reader” was and picking a favourite. Hmmm…..
    Oh, and the actual CD’s we took did not fare particularly well – digital was WAY better on my worry level
    :)

  6. We really enjoy Focus on the Family Radio Theater. Our favorites are The Chronicles of Narnia.

  7. My favorite books on tape are the Mitford series by Jan Karon. The reader was awesome and the stories are amazing.

    When my daughter was little, she listened to books on tape ALL THE TIME. She’s an auditory learner so it worked perfect for her. Both of my kids listened to stories at nap time and bed time – usually Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey. They loved those!

    I’m not much of a listener – I’d rather read.

  8. I’ve only recently entered the world of audio books. My 5yr old is a Sparkie in the Awana program and his book came with a CD. I plopped it in thinking it would help with verse memorization, but it had the stories from the book too! We’ve faithfully listed to this every day and the kids never tire. Even my 3yr old wants to hear the “Sparks CD!”

  9. We love listening to audio books in the car and in the house. I have also enjoyed memorizing scripture CDs that are geared to children, and route memorization CD’s that put facts like state capitals to song. We too car school often.

  10. My kiddo and I love the CDs for the Jesus storybook bible.

  11. Cathy Lange says:

    We LOVE audio books. Some of our favorite are The Princess Frog Series, The Enola Holmes Mysteries, The Wedding Planners Daughter Series, The Green Glass Sea and It’s sequel “White Sands, Red Menace (my kids loved her books so much we wrote asking for a sequel and movie and she wrote us back), anything by Wendy Mass (we wrote to her too, and she wrote back)…..the list could go on. Right now we are listening the The Christmas Doll.

  12. Sorry, I am a total dweeb and love your picture. Wheeler Ridge! That view is one my favorites. :)

  13. We always like Focus on the Family Radio Theater. We got the new Oliver Twist to listen to this Thanksgiving drive. It is long so it is good for a long drive. We had three hours total, so didn’t get to finish it yet!

  14. My kids love books on tape. We did the whole Harry Potter series on tape. The kids never got bored. We would listen to a book and then watch the movie and discuss how and why they were different. We were struggling with what to listen to next. I have a 10 year old son and a 8.5 year old daughter. We are now listening to Peak by Roland Smith and everyone is enjoying that one. We get our books from the library.

  15. We love Adventures in Oddessey….out by Focus on the Family! It’s great, Bible-based stories that the entire family can enjoy!

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

Share Your Thoughts

*