Sunday, December 14, 2008

Audiobooks for kids ages 7 - 12

Kids love to listen to stories aloud. After 1st grade, they're ready for longer, more complex stories. I love the fact that this means in our car rides, I get to listen to more interesting stories! This also gives kids a chance to listen to stories that are more complex than they can read. I firmly believe that listening to longer stories improves their independent reading because it helps kids develop a story in their mind, picturing the characters, linking the events together, feeling empathy with a character. As their reading fluency develops, they'll bring this love of stories to their independent reading.

Here are four fun audiobooks - the best part is that they're available FOR FREE! Look for them at - a free subscription online is available through your local library. Look on your local library's website, and follow the links for online resources. For more information, see my earlier post.

The Ballad of Lucy Whipple, by Karen Cushman, tells the story of a young girl who travels to California during the Gold Rush with her mother & siblings. Their home is now the rough town of Lucky Diggins. Her mother now runs the boarding house (it’s really just a large canvas tent) in the mining town. I loved how you heard Lucy’s voice through the audiotape, and really felt what it was like to live in this Gold Rush town.

Silverwing, by Kenneth Oppel – perfect animal adventure for lovers of the Warriors series. When a newborn bat called Shade gets separated from his colony during migration, he goes through many different adventures, fighting off different adversaries: city pigeons, a kingdom of rats, and two vampire bats.

The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin - is a Newberry Award-winning mystery much in the tradition of Agatha Christie and the game Clue. One day, sixteen people are called together to hear the reading of Samuel Westing's will. They are challenged to solve a mystery, find a murder, and inherit a fortune.

Anastasia Krupnik, by Lois Lowry, is a fun story about a spunky girl growing up. Anastasia, in 5th grade, just hears the news that her parents are expecting a new baby. She is definitely not thrilled at this news. Throughout the story, she keeps a list of "Things I Love" and "Things I Hate". It is definitely set in the 70's, so I found it fun to listen to with my daughter. It also has some very touching moments about Anastasia's relationship with her elderly grandmother, trying to understand someone who's slipping away.

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