I just want to put another disclaimer that this post has affiliate links. This is just a program that has really, really helped my family, our homeschool, and especially my mildly dyslexic son. It’s been so good that I want to share it with you, but while I rave, I’m adding affiliate links which may get me paid. If you have a problem with this I totally understand and you can skip the following. 🙂
Awhile ago, I got involved with an online community called the Read Aloud Revival. I found out about it because one of my favorite authors was interviewed on her free podcast, and I got hooked. It’s a whole community of kindred spirits, both homeschoolers and traditional schoolers, who see the value of reading out loud to children of all ages. I listened to every single podcast, and when she opened up her membership site, I eagerly signed up. Silje has really enjoyed the first author event.
One of the greatest take away from entering the world of read-aloud books is my introduction to Audible. We have checked out audio books from the library from time to time, and occasionally we would actually listen to them. I did notice that David responded to our audio CDs of Story of the World as our history textbook, rather than just reading it, or even me reading it to him. The CDs are in our minivan pretty much all the time, and they have been listened to countless times. We’ve also recently discovered Classical Kids which has become common when we are driving around. The kids absolutely love the stories.
So I tried out Audible, as recommended on the podcast, and immediately our family got hooked. After the free trial period, it’s $15/month. For that $15 we get 1 audio book a month (of any price range) and a discount on all audio books. So we usually use our monthly book credit for a big collection that is bundled, or an expensive book that would usually cost me much more than $15, like this one, or this one which are in line on my wish list.
Also, they have a sale in April and October (or maybe it’s November?) where if you purchase 4 audio books with a regular price of $15 or more, you can get a free $10 credit towards any other books. The fun loophole to that is you can save up your monthly credits, and just use your regular credits towards the 4 purchases in the month, or you can buy a book that is regularly $15 or more, but on sale for 1 or 2 dollars which happens quite often. Also some are just $1 like Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland.
Audio books have changed David’s attitude on doing his chores. A book is nearly always playing when he is doing chores, and it calms him down. His favorite is Hatchet and we are now collecting other Gary Paulson books one by one.
(Listening to The River while playing with Legos.)
We’ve been struggling through his science textbook in our homeschool too, and I got that audio book and now he has listened to it willingly 3 times all the way through, quoting passages of it all the time. It never occurred to me to get an audio version of his textbooks! He will often open the textbook we own and read along, but he is absorbing 100x more information than he was before. He loves to know the exact pronunciation of each scientific word, and this gives him that assurance.
There have been several keys to figuring out how David learns, from dietary supplements, to varying therapy techniques. This has been another key. He’s learning at breakneck speeds.
Silje loves audible too. She’s been working through Little Women, reading along in her book, as she prefers. Little Women has been slow for her, and listening to it has brought to story to life. She now asks for me to put that on all the time too.
As a family, we have been listening to The Little Prince, which is just delightful. All 5 of the kids love listening to it during our “tea times” (snack time) so I can actually eat with them instead of read to them.
I like that you can listen to a few minutes of the book to see if the reader has a voice that just grates at you. Some books have a variety of readers available, so this is nice.
Other favorite books we have found on this journey:
The Adventure Collection (yes, you can get that whole collection for 1 credit.)
And of course, I have been building a library of books for myself to listen to while knitting:
The Complete Collection of Sherlock Holmes
(Both audio books that would normally be much too expensive to buy but I used my “free” book credit that I get once a month. So it basically cost me $15 instead of $40 or more. (Though many books are just a few bucks, and I would rather just buy those and save my credits for the big purchases.)
I have 6 pages of wish list books now in my audible account. It’s getting a little out of hand. Oh my word. Classics. Modern. Textbooks. Biographies. Great Courses. It’s all there.
This service has transformed our homeschool. We now not only have one more “reader” in the house, I have multiple readers I can play for the kids. It is saving my voice, and my need for “throat coat tea” that is a constant during homeschool days. As a mom who is always longing for more hands and arms to make sure everyone’s needs are met, this is one more voice on my side. It’s one more tool.
I still read to the kids, of course. But this feeds this hungering need for them to hear stories all the time. It keeps the learning momentum going, when I am juggling several students.
The free trial to Audible comes with 2 free “credits” which can be applied to 2 audio books of any price. Whether or not you continue a membership, you keep the books forever. You can try it out here, but use cautiously. You will likely get sucked in like we did.
Elizabeth saysJune 11, 2015 at 8:12 pm
Audible is great! my husband uses it and it is one of the ways he still reads books now. The Narnia books are great btw on audible and the Princess academy (two books, HIGHLY recommend for teen and young teen girls, if you have not read them they are surprisingly wonderful; figuring out life, history and context all examined within these two stories. they are done with voice for each character so it feels like you are listening to a well done radio drama)… so glad you found another tool! 🙂
Gretchen saysJune 11, 2015 at 8:38 pm
Sigh. You’re adding stuff to my wish list Elizabeth!! Haha! Those look great. I’m trying to find a way for Knut to listen to this in the field. We’re trying to locate some old iPods so that his phone doesn’t run out of data or battery listening to these. He’s a huge bibliovore as well. 🙂
Astri saysJune 11, 2015 at 10:04 pm
Hi! I happened to look at your blog today, and – as a fellow audio-book fan (great for the studio and long commutes!) – thought I’d throw in my recommendation. Are your kids fans of Harry Potter yet? I listed to the whole series as audio books and they were so delightful! The man who reads them is absolutely amazing – he really performs the books. I loved them so much as an adult – – I think you have some family members who are probably more the target audience age. 😉 But I had spoken so highly of them that my parents started listening to them when they drove out to LA for a visit and loved them as well!
Gretchen saysJune 12, 2015 at 12:53 am
Silje has read the series and loves it. It has a great redemptive, sacrificial story to it! David has seen the first movie, and would love the audio book I’m sure, but I’m really trying to use it as a dangled carrot to entice him to actually read a thick book with longer chapters. He is so stuck on the chapter length as what persuades him not to read books. I would really be interested in getting the audio books, but I’m SO CLOSE to getting him to just push himself and read it. We’ll see whose will wins out…
Amber saysJune 12, 2015 at 2:49 pm
Oh gosh! We do love our Audible account. I’ve had a membership for a bit over a year and it is worth every penny! We love it!
Gretchen saysJune 16, 2015 at 5:07 am
Glad to hear!
Monica saysJune 13, 2015 at 12:42 am
We love audible too! I hope you will keep posting kid book recommendations. It’s so helpful to have that when there are so many books to choose from but limited credits.
Gretchen saysJune 16, 2015 at 5:06 am
I know! I have one credit now, but I’m holding onto it and shopping around more. I’m not sure exactly which book will make the cut of this month’s list.
Lisa saysJune 15, 2015 at 2:28 am
Our favorite Audible discoveries so far have been the Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins Audio Collections. The readers are Stockard Channing & Neil Patrick Harris, respectively, and have made the characters so memorable and quotable! 🙂
Gretchen saysJune 16, 2015 at 5:07 am
They would be great readers! I’ll have to go check those out.
Cynthia saysJuly 7, 2015 at 10:35 pm
I love audible. Have you tried listening to craftlit as well? The pod aster, Heather Ordover gets into the finer details of great books from the public domain. There are a lot of Victorian era novels. She also has some packets available to help homeschoolers teach the books. Her website is http://crafting-a-life.com/craftlit/, (I am not affiliated, just another homeschooling mom).