Using Audio Books When You Can't Read Aloud

Although I love to read out loud, and, thankfully, my kids enjoy listening, I know it’s possible that you just don’t like to or don’t have the opportunity to read out loud. Maybe you are really busy. Maybe you don’t think that you read well. Whatever the reason, I understand that there are some people who don’t enjoy reading aloud or have difficulty doing so. In this post, I’m going to share some ideas for folks who don’t want to or can’t do the reading aloud for themselves. You don’t have to give up on the idea.

Audio books for reading aloud

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Why read aloud?

I’ve written many posts about reading aloud to your kids and the benefits of a regular read aloud time in your family.  I don’t need to write you a whole other post here, but, suffice it to say, the benefits are many. So even if you don’t enjoy read aloud time or can’t do it for some reason, your kids can still benefit from hearing great books read aloud.

So, how can you still share reading aloud with your kids?


Thankfully there are some great options for listening to really good, living books being read out loud.

Find audio books on CD or digital download from your library.

Many libraries still have books on CD that you can check out. If you have a librarian that’s helpful, you can request books you don’t see on CD and see if there is a way that the library can get them. I have used the inter-library loan to do this.

The easiest way to check out audio books from your library is the Libby app. You can get the Libby app for your android or iPhone or you can listen to books through your browser. You can stream books or download them to listen offline. There are many audio books for different ages and in different genres available to check out. You check out books for two weeks- just like a normal library book.

Use an audio book service/subscription.

Audible.com is my favorite option for digital audio books. With Audible you can get one free audio book per month and then 30% off of additional audio books. They have a great selection of really quality books. And there is a large Audible Plus library with books you can listen to for free with your membership.

There are other audio book apps you can try. I’ve tried a number of these and prefer Audible because of the Plus catalog as well as the option to return books and get my credit refunded if I don’t like the book.

Find free audio books online.

There are a few free site that allow you to listen free to streaming audio books. Some of these will also allow you to download the books to your device. These services have a surprisingly varied selection, and you can find some great classic children’s literature here.

LibriVox- allows you to listen online or download to your device. They also allow you to burn a CD with the audio book.

Open Culture– This site has lots of free classic audio books and ebooks. You can listen online or download. (Don’t be deterred if there still happens to be an add with people in swimsuits in the sidebar. The site is legit and has lots to offer.)

Loyal Books- has some excellent choices, and I really like the way that their browsing  and searching works. I also like that you can see book covers when you’re browsing. (I’m very visual!)

Christian Classics Ethereal Library- has, as it says, Christian classics, to listen to online. Most of these are pretty deep for kids, but your high school student may need some of these for high school literature.

Story Nory-This site has mostly just children’s story telling and some music. But there are eight classic children’s audio books as well. And the stories available are often cute and fun to catch. They also have a podcast with regular stories being delivered when you subscribe.

Audio books for read alouds

As you can see there are some great ways to include reading out loud in your family- even if you don’t or can’t be the one to read out loud.

Do you have a favorite way to listen to audio books?

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