Q&A Patrons Ask: I want to read a book that is “too hard” for me…

Listening to a story is an enjoyable way to improve literacy skills for children of all ages and reading levels.

Hello Everyone,

Over the past week I have answered the same question many times, so it must be a trending topic in Oakland right now:

  • My second grader wants to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid but doesn’t read chapter books yet. Do you have any suggestions?

  • I borrowed The Sorcerer’s Apprentice DVD from the library and my kid loved it. Now she wants to read the book, but she isn’t a strong reader. Do you have any suggestions?

  • I want to read a book with my child but I am not the best reader, do you have any suggestions?

  • I want read with my child in English, but I need help with my pronunciation, what do you suggest?


Every one of these questions can be answered with the same answer:

Read along with an audio book!

An audiobook, otherwise known as a recorded book, is an audio recording of a talented thespian (that is a fancy word for actor) conducting a performance-style reading of the book for your entertainment. In addition to enjoying a wonderfully read story, your child can develop and/or strengthen their reading skills.

Following along with audiobooks will help children:

  • Recognize the letter patterns of words with many syllables. Words like "multiply", "indifferent", and "Constantinople" can be hard to break into pieces in your head. Hearing someone else say the word can help them break up the syllables and learn to read it independantly. 
  • Learn all of the different ways to say “OUGH” in English. “OUGH” is one of the most tricky letter combos in the English language because really are no rules or reasons for how it is supposed to be pronounced.  But listening to an audiobook may help a child (or anyone really) figure out the different sound patterns for "OUGH". If by chance listening to audiobooks doesn’t help you figure out all the different "OUGH" sounds, I’d recommend using this handy website as a cheat sheet.
  • Become familiar with words that they have never seen before. Younger readers need help with words like "spaghetti" and "croissant." And let’s be honest, unless you studied Latin or linguistics, Expelliarmus and Sectumsempra threw you for a loop the first time you saw them too. Reading along with an audiobook is wonderful for learning these newfangled (or old fangled in some cases) words. If by chance your child wants to know the English translation of Expecto Patronum...

                   Harry potter


If reading along with an audiobook interests you we have many  audiobook kits available for you to borrow. An audiobook kit is a picture book with a CD recording included for your convenience. Most popular chapter books are also recorded to CD for your listening pleasure, but you have to borrow two items and create a kit yourself.  Ask a librarian to help you find a chapter book and its accompanying audiobook. We would love to help you out. You are allowed to check out up to 10 audiobooks on your library card, which are included in your 40 item limit.

Here are some suggestions of great audiobooks:

                           Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

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