When you have a child with a learning disability, you become rather resourceful at finding resources for them that help compensate for their challenges. As the mom to a dyslexic teen, I’ve had plenty of time over the years to gather information on some great audio book resources that provide him with an alternative method for digesting written material. There’s a common misconception that listening to audio books, or ear-reading, is “cheating” or in some way less than looking at and decoding the written word. In fact, even the International Dyslexia Association advocates for a balance between ear and eye reading for children with dyslexia.
So what options are available for audio books? Here are five sites that we have found to be the most helpful in our homeschooling and beyond.
5 Audio Book Resources for Dyslexia and Beyond
Although this is a popular, mainstream audio books platform associated with Amazon with a rather high yearly membership fee (or pay as you download option), for us it’s been the audio book resource that we use the most. My son likes that the books are read by one person and that the most popular titles are readily available. It’s also very easy to transfer the content to his iPod so that he can listen whenever he wants. I have also found Audible to be a great resource for downloading personal development books to listen to when I’m walking on the treadmill or peddling away on the recumbent bike. You can try a free membership here.
If your child has dyslexia, you have probably already heard of Learning Ally. This yearly subscription based service offers downloads of popular and classic books. Learning Ally also offers webinars for parents and students and is a strong advocate for students with disabilities. My son often had trouble downloading books and found the process very cumbersome, so he didn’t use it as often. However, it is a great audio book resource.
This $14.95/month subscription service allows you to read one audio book per month. If your child doesn’t want to read more than that, it’s probably a good deal. Unfortunately for us, we’re voracious eye and ear readers so one audio book is like asking us to eat just one potato chip. Not happening. You can always buy additional credits to listen to more books, but if you like to listen to a lot of them, it’s probably not the best option. That being said, they do have great mobile platform apps that make it easy to download and read on your iPod, iPad, and iPhone. You can also sign up for a free trial and get a free audio book here.
Most libraries now offer audio book rentals on OverDrive. You simply download the app and connect it to your library account to start listening to books. Think of it like an audio book library card. The books don’t stay in your account for long, so you do have to listen to them when you download them or they’ll expire and you’ll have to try and download them again. The best part is that the rentals are usually free! Of course, it all depends on your library, so check out their policies first.
Free public domain audio books that are read by volunteers is what LibriVox offers. While there are numerous books to choose from, keep in mind that they’re all older and won’t have the most recent fiction or self-help books available. It is a good source for more classical literature though. You can also volunteer to read and submit books to their catalog.
There are a ton of other free audio book resources out there, but the key is to find the ones that make the most sense for your family’s needs. Questions about the resources? Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll be happy to help you! Happy Ear Reading!