Children might never grow out of wanting to hear books read aloud to them. Even adults might like hearing a story; after all, audiobooks are popular for a reason. Parents don’t always have time to read to children, but reading books aloud is important to helping children learn new words. The read aloud experience also lets children enjoy harder books.
An app that reads books aloud might seem like a futuristic concept, but it’s real and allows children to hear their favorite stories anywhere. How can parents find an app that reads books aloud? Here’s what to know!
How Does an App Read Aloud?
Audiobooks have been in publication for years. In the past, though, audiobooks were known as books on tape and were enjoyed via a cassette. Those who wanted to listen to a book had to put the cassette into a cassette player in their car or at home.
Now audiobooks are digital. They can be enjoyed via a tablet, PC, Mac or even a smartphone. Since these books can go anywhere, it’s easy for ‘readers’ to hear a story in the car, on vacation, etc.
Audiobooks can be found via public library websites and apps, too. For example, the Books app via Apple can connect users to a library to find and purchase audiobooks. The app Audible also lets users listen to books or buy audiobooks. Audible requires a subscription, though.
Children also can listen to audiobooks. Audible offers children’s titles, and audiobooks also are available through various other book apps. Parents could even purchase audiobooks online.
Why is Listening to a Book Beneficial?
Some children learn best through hearing; they are known as auditory learners. Children might be able to improve their comprehension by listening to a book. In addition, some children with dyslexia could read with their ears through audiobooks.
While reading aloud helps children learn to read fluently and improve decoding skills, listening to stories also could be beneficial. Reading Rockets explains that children could enjoy books that are beyond their reading level and help grow their vocabulary, too.
Listening to books also is just fun. Audiobooks are narrated; the emotion and action is highlighted by the narrator. This narration could make the story more enjoyable, exciting and suspenseful, too.
Young children can benefit from hearing books read aloud. One study revealed that children whose parents read them five books a day started kindergarten knowing more than one million more words than other children whose parents never read them books. This shows that children are learning through listening—even when they are small. Reading to children sets a foundation for the reading journey and can prepare them to begin this journey on their own.
What to Consider When Using a Read Aloud App or Audiobook
While listening to stories lets children expand their books options, parents still might want to research the book titles. A parent might feel that a certain book is too mature for their child.
Parents might also choose audiobooks that can be enjoyed by everyone in the family. For example, during a long road trip, the family might listen to a book via an app instead of streaming music or letting children play on devices.
When choosing a book title via an audiobook app, parents might let everyone vote on the titles they want to hear during the journey. Books also could focus on the destination; maybe the family listens to a non-fiction book about a specific city or landmark.
Are Read Aloud Apps Expensive?
Some apps are free to download and enable parents to access a library filled with audiobooks. These apps might be free, but the books that parents choose to download can vary in price.
For apps like Audible, parents also might need to pay for a subscription. In addition, the app also lets subscribers buy audiobooks, too.
Libraries also offer audiobooks. Those who are members of their local library can access these books for free. Libraries also might even be able to order audiobooks for members.
Reading Programs Offer Read Aloud Features
Parents might research an online reading program or app to help a child who is struggling to read at grade-level expectations. These programs also could offer read aloud features. In fact, Readability offers subscribers a feature called Storytime that lets children listen to narrated books in their Readability library.
Storytime is free to access with a Readability subscription. This feature reads books to children as they follow along. Children can enjoy the read-aloud feature anywhere. They can listen to books in the car or at a sibling’s sports practice.
Readability is designed to be used by children in grades kindergarten through sixth grade who struggle to read at grade-level. The app features an AI tutor that learns each child’s voice. With Readability, children read books aloud. As the child reads, the tutor measures their reading fluency and identifies when a child needs help. The AI tutor also provides encouragement and feedback.
Children begin Readability at a reading level below their current level; this helps children feel more confident as they acclimate to the program. Each reading level includes a library of fiction of nonfiction books; children can read these and listen to them, too.
After children finish a book, they take a comprehension quiz to assess their understanding of what they read. Answering a question incorrectly will prompt the tutor to show the child a section from the book that offers insight about the answer; the tutor also reads this aloud, and the child is provided with another opportunity to answer the question.
Parents can track their child’s reading progress via a private portal. This portal shows the child’s reading fluency, current reading level and their comprehension mastery. In addition, parents can see how long their child used the app.
Why is the Storytime Feature Beneficial?
Readability included the Storytime feature to provide the read aloud experience to children. The app’s developers understood that not all parents have the time to read to their children. The Storytime feature takes the burden off parents and allows children to enjoy listening to stories even when their parents can’t read aloud to them.
Storytime lets children hear all their favorite Readability books. Children can follow along as they listen, too. While Storytime can increase engagement and help children enjoy reading, the feature also is beneficial in that it can help children hear the pronunciation of words and identify the emotion or action in a story.
Children who are auditory learners might increase their comprehension through using Storytime. For other children, the option to listen to the story could be its own reward.
Readability requires a subscription for children to use the reading program. A subscription to the app costs $19.99 per month. However, one account can be used by up to three children.
With a subscription, children have access to all the features including Storytime. Parents don’t need to pay extra for any feature.
Parents can sign up for a free trial period to explore Readability with their child. This trial period is active for seven days; during that time, children have access to all the features of the program including the AI tutor and the Storytime feature. Explore it all today with a free trial!