Young people use streaming services for music and podcasts. Audio books are also very popular. Those who don’t feel like reading themselves or want to listen to stories on the go use them via apps and audio libraries. The offer for different age groups is constantly growing.
Unlike audio plays, audio books are read books. Speakers read the books aloud. The recordings can then be listened to via audiobook apps, streaming services, audio files or CD. Radio plays differ from audio books in that the stories are acted out as in a film or series – with distributed roles, music and sounds.
Children like stories – they are exciting, provide role models, and relieve boredom. The special thing about audio stories: They stimulate the imagination and encourage the creativity of young listeners. Entire worlds are created in the mind. Audiobooks are a nice opportunity to dive into stories and other worlds. In the same way, they can take up challenging topics and explain them to children, convey values, provide comfort, train listening skills and contribute to language development.
Many children are read books at a young age and associate these situations with positive feelings. Parents don’t always have time to read aloud. Then audio books and audio plays offer a good supplement. At some point, children feel too old to be read to. Some children and teens have a hard time reading whole books. Others can best “read books with their ears” because they are blind or visually impaired. Audiobooks can also be an incentive for children who don’t like to read to discover books and then pick up a book themselves. Another advantage of audio books and audio plays: Children can listen again and again to stories or scenes that move them in terms of content.
Make sure the audio content is appropriate for children and their age. There are audiobooks (and radio plays) that can emotionally overwhelm, frighten, or scare children. The choice is huge. Consider the following criteria when making your selection:
Use theme filters when choosing and pay attention to the description and age recommendation. Audio stories that have been awarded the Auditorix audiobook seal are especially recommended. An overview by age incl. You can get audio samples of the individual audiobooks in the Auditorix online database.
Most (public) libraries have a digital offering. Via the so-called Onleihe, which is available as an app, electronic audio files can be borrowed, among other things. All that is needed is a library card, which children and teens up to age 18 can usually get for free at their local library. Audio books are also lent out on site, e.g. on CDs or as Tonie figures for the audio box.
The audio libraries of the public broadcasters also have a large offer. The audio libraries are available as web version or app. In the ARD audio library and the Dlf Audiothek there is a lot of audio content for children.
On the Internet, you can download self-produced audio books and audio plays free of charge at vorlesen.net (also available as an app). Mostly classic stories like the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, stories of Karl May, etc. There is a separate section for children & teenagers. LibriVox makes a similar offer – but the site is in English. German audio content can also be displayed via filtering.
Well-known music streaming services – like Spotify and Amazon Music – also offer audio plays and audiobooks. Since the free accounts often only have basic features, they are not unrestricted for this. Spotify Kids can only be used with a premium account and offers access to child-friendly audio content without advertising.
In addition, there are apps and platforms just for audiobooks. The best known are probably Audible, Amazon‘s offering, and BookBeat.
If your child uses audiobook apps or streaming services independently, the child mode should be activated – if available. Listening to audiobooks is also media use that should be part of family media rules. Balance this out so that your child gets enough exercise and variety.