How to Select an Audio Book for a Child

September 28, 2010

How to Select an Audio Book for a Child

Selecting books for children isn’t always easy, and it can be just as difficult when you’re searching for audio books.  At least if they’re for your kids, you know what they have and you can select books that fit their age and interests, as well as your own standards for educational level and content.  But if you’re shopping for other kids, you may have a hard time making a selection as you wonder not only what will appeal to the child, but what will pass muster when it comes to the approval of the parents.  However, audio books are an excellent gift for children because they not only allows kids access to literature, they do so before they’re able to read for themselves, which can be a godsend for parents who have little extra time in their busy day to read the same story ten times in a row.  So if you’re thinking of gifting an audio book to a child but have a hard time selecting one that seems appropriate, here are a few things you may want to consider before making your purchase.

  1. See what they’re already reading.  Checking out a child’s stack of books or asking parents about favorites is a good way to determine which audio books might be a good fit for their collection.  For one thing, you might want to get an audio version of their favorite printed books to give mom and dad a break from reading.  Plus, kids can follow along and look at the pictures while they listen to the story being read.  Noting what they already have will also give you an idea of which authors are parent-approved so that you can buy other works that will likely be safe.
  2. Ask a librarian.  Go to your local library (or audio book retailer) and talk to an employee to find out what is current, popular, and widely acceptable in children’s literature (they likely have an audio book section they can direct you to).  They can probably also give you some advice, based on the age of the kids you’re shopping for, pertaining to reading/learning level.
  3. Look online.  If you have an idea what you’re looking for, or if you just want to see what’s out there, hop onto one of many websites that sells audio books to peruse their selection and see if anything catches your eye (or ear).  You’re bound to pay less and enjoy a larger selection this way.
  4. Opt for classics.  You really can’t go wrong with classic (or modern classic) children’s stories.  Goodnight Moon, The Real Mother Goose, and virtually anything by Dr. Seuss, Beatrix Potter, or Shel Silverstein is bound to go over pretty well with kids and parents alike.
  5. Ask the kid (and the parents).  Of course, the best way to determine what children like is to go straight to the source.  Most kids have preferences even at a young age.  Some like ponies and some like bears, but almost all kids like nature of some sort.  And most parents appreciate books with common lessons (like sharing and other acceptable social behaviors, or living in harmony with the Earth).  But asking is a good way to ensure that the audio book you select will be listened to and loved for years to come.

Sarah Danielson is a writer for Nursing School Scholarships where you can find jobs, scholarships, and nursing career descriptions.

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