22 June 2021 (updated)

Audiobooks and Videos- Let the Learning Begin!

A book may be a pathway to learning, but audiobooks and videos offer an alternative. From teaching critical listening to inspiring improvement, these tools can be a great learning supplement.

Reading, writing, and interactive learning are effective for a child's brain development. Fortunately, whether your child has a learning disability or needs a reading break, there are other ways to learn, too.

Many parents may feel guilty for putting their children in front of the computer. However, audio and video learning can boost your child’s brain development and offer up a unique educational experience.

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The Pros & Cons of Audiobooks

A book is a fundamental learning building block, but an audiobook can be a different route to the same thing – knowledge! While audiobooks can’t be shared like paper books, it’s less likely that they’ll be lost or damaged. They’re also easily accessible and can be used on any available smartphones or tablets.

If your kids already get enough screen time, you can play the audiobook on your phone. Or play an audiobook during a long car trip, instead of letting your kids zone out watching a movie or playing on individual devices. A great audiobook can be comparable to listening to a story, in a way villagers would sit around the campfire listening to stories long before the invention of written language.

Audiobooks can be a good way to get your kids reading, and they serve as an important beginner’s tool.  Just make sure they are a supplement NOT a substitute for other learning, like reading or interacting with others.

Pros & Cons of Learning Videos

Putting kids in front of the television or computer to watch toddler learning videos has a bad rap. But videos can provide a break from listening to audiobooks while still inspiring a love for storytelling. Not only can videos provide a breather, but they can also assist with visual learning and developing a deeper understanding of the subject.

But don't forget to limit the time your children spend watching them. According to the UK Millennium Cohort Study, children who watched more than 3 hours of video a day experienced more conduct and relationship problems in early life. While toddler videos, kid songs, or funny videos for kids are great, moderation is key when they’re learning to read.

Where to Find Audiobooks

Audible is one of the best resources for audiobooks, but it's expensive. There are many other sites for free audible booksonline. Librivox has a catalog that includes books for kindergarteners learning to read through to Grade 12. The British website Storynory offers free, downloadable classics from authors like Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling. For the less book-inclined, Storyline Online spices things up by featuring actors like Betty White and James Earl Jones reading the stories.

Should children have a Smartphone

Scribd is another great option for audiobooks. It contains most of the same titles as Audible, but you pay a monthly subscription fee instead of buying the books. You can rent as many audiobooks as you need, similar to a library.

When it comes to videos, PBS Kids features quality online entertainment and learning programs and apps. If you’re purchasing them for your phone or tablet, Apple Music, iTunes, Disney+, and Amazon also offer a variety of learning resources.

YouTube Kids has many educational shows, but it's not curated, so parents need to be careful with this site. While it doesn't contain a lot of the objectionable material you might find on YouTube, it has a lot of videos that aren't promoting learning. If I gave my son unlimited access to YouTube Kids, he would definitely NOT seek out educational programming- but he would try to find the Suprise Egg videos. So be proactive when using YouTube Kids- it's not a babysitter!

Inspire Learning with Audio & Video

Interactive learning is an important part of every child’s development. Fortunately, audiobooks and videos can still assist when kids are learning to read. Audiobooks can teach children to listen critically, as well as introduce words that may be difficult to sound out. They can also be a means of establishing a love for storytelling in your child they will carry through their life!

Videos, on the other hand, can prove to be an accessory to other kinds of learning. In order to tap into learning, pose questions to your children, or limit the time they spend on video watching. By acting as a supplement, it’s useful for learning in an entirely different way.

Learning Technology

For many free audiobooks online and videos, an iPad or iPhone will provide you with access to materials. If you’re using any audiobooks available on Audible, your children will be able to access them using Amazon Fire or Amazon Echo. There are also numerous applications you can add to your devices that will enable you to download audiobooks and videos. For example, the K12 Read Aloud Classics application is available for iPad and Android devices. It offers stories, poems, and games for kids, whether they’re learning to read or simply want to enjoy the storytelling.

Reading is an important skill to master, but audiobooks and videos can be beneficial alternatives to the written word. In no time at all, your children may very well be queuing up their own playlist of favorites!

What are your favorite books? Share with us below, or talk it over with family and friends on FamilyApp.

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