Many years ago on a road trip with my two kids I discovered something pretty amazing. I discovered the power of listening to a story. I know how hard it is for parents to keep the kiddos occupied on car trips – been there – still doing that. You know, those long hours in confined spaces with nothing much to do except ask, “Are we there yet?” or “How much farther?”
So, on this particular trip I decided to try getting a couple of Donald Davis storytelling CD’s from the local public library. I love Donald Davis so I figured at least I could be content on the trip. What I learned is that both kids and I were mesmerized by the telling of the stories. After that, anytime I knew we would be held captive in the car I sought out not just Donald Davis but other things like books on CD to keep our minds occupied to the point we did not much care if we were there yet or how much further we had to go.
There have been other times through the years that listening to stories has come to the rescue. I remember the push of making that reading goal with both my children, especially in middle school. I discovered that many titles that they were “allowed” to read were available on CD at the public library. That saved us many a drama when it came time to tally up points or the dreaded word count.
It did take a little research and planning ahead but I can say there have been many titles over the years that we have enjoyed listening to and it was a great way to spark some pretty in depth discussions with the kids.
As you can see I support listening to audio books and stories. I did a search on NC Live and came up with some other people who feel the same as me. For example, according to Technology & Learning, February 2016, it can support students who do not like to read perhaps because they feel overwhelmed by reading for whatever reason as well as “support critical thinking skills” or “re-ignite a passion for reading”. Then there is the idea that “children who are listeners become readers” and that “children can handle a harder book without struggling” which will support their vocabulary and comprehension development, (Philadelphia Inquirer, 2002).
The public library has many great offerings to support listening to books and stories. Of course, there are the tried and true books on CD. Some favorite titles for me include The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Ginger Pye. Fontana Regional Library branches have recently purchased some pretty cool audio books. They are called VOX Books. These books are neat because the audio is built into the book. It even has a port to plug in earphones. It makes it a very portable option for kids. Some of the titles we have include Don’t Push the Button! and My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I am Not).
There is another option I learned about recently that has really streamlined the way I get access to my audiobooks. This has proved to be a wonderful option as I am on the road commuting a lot throughout the region. If you have not checked out the eAudio options Fontana Regional Library offers, you should!
First, I downloaded the OverDrive app, which is free. For my eAudio options I chose to download the app to my phone but it can also be downloaded to other devices. Then I entered the information to make my account. They basically just want your library card number and an email address. Then I started browsing. Once I found a title I downloaded it to my phone (while I had access to Wi-Fi, of course) and when I am in the car I open the OverDrive app and click on the title I want to listen to and voila instant access to my stories without fumbling with changing CD’s while driving and there is nothing to physically return. The OverDrive app also gives you access to eBooks and as I mentioned before you can download the app on more than one device. Literally all I ever need is at my fingertips!
In this season of travel please consider using audio books and stories as a way to make those miles go by faster whether you are traveling far away or are traveling on your daily commute. The benefits are worth it!